According to Samantha Whitehorne’s article (“Should Attendees Have Access to Show Content Before a Meeting?”) for Associations Now, there are good reasons to consider sharing information prior to an event. By giving attendees “optional homework,” associations give them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the concepts to be covered, making it easier to participate in a session.
If all content is new when presented at an event, attendees are likely to suffer from information overload. Whitehorne recommends conducting a survey to better understand what content attendees would prefer to receive before an event. When a little prep work is done, attendees are poised to be more engaged in learning onsite.
Can associations overshare content? How much is too much? Whitehorne suggests limiting the available content, so as not to inundate the attendee and tip the balance from welcome surprise to looming assignment. Those are good points, but I think attendees are capable of setting their own boundaries. Make the content available and let the individual choose how much to engage with conference materials before the event.
Omnipress makes it easy to share event content—before, during, and after an event. Start the process with our online abstract management system to collect papers and presentations. We’ve heard feedback that the system is streamlined and intuitive for submitters, reviewers, and association staff.
Once we have the content, it’s up to you how to distribute it to attendees. For early access, we recommend an event website, where handouts and papers can easily be found, thanks to robust search tools.
During the event, tablets are ubiquitous. This plays into two possible Omnipress products: the event website (which will appear correctly on a smartphone or tablet, thanks to its responsive design) or the mobile event app. With the app, attendees have access to the same content, as well as other tools, like a personal itinerary, GPS-enabled maps, and speaker profiles.
Many associations choose to migrate event content, a few weeks or months after the meeting, to a digital publishing platform. Creating a digital archive of association content, complete with full-text and faceted search, plus eCommerce capabilities to serve as a source of revenue, can benefit both the organization and members.
So we say go ahead—share your content before an event for better learning and engagement. We’re glad to be able to help you get the job done easily, with a single vendor, from collection to archive creation. Learn more about our complete suite of services by reading our whitepaper.