Running a call for papers, posters, or presentations is how you source the high-quality session content that attracts attendees, advances professions, and transforms industries. To be successful, you need to have a large enough pool of topics and content to choose from. It’s important to create a plan to promote your call for papers to as many qualified submitters as possible.
Here are 10 simple things you can do to promote your call for papers.
1. Use your website
Place images or promotional banners throughout your organization’s website that advertising your upcoming call for abstracts. The homepage and events pages are excellent locations to place these buttons. But don’t limit yourself just to these areas. Work with your marketing team to target the sections or pages of your website that get the most traffic. Be sure to include a link that takes visitors directly to your abstract submission website.
You can also advertise in any other member-facing online properties you may have, including your online community, resource library, and learning management system (LMS).
2. Send email campaigns
You already have a list of people to target to promote your event. Use this list to promote your call for papers, too. While it’s a good idea to send out at least one email entirely devoted to your call for abstracts, you should also mention it in other email communications. One great mailing list to target is contributors from previous years who did not make the cut.
3. Update your team’s email signatures
Ask your coworkers to include a brief description of the event and the submission site link in their employee email signatures. This information can also be shared within the email signature as a P.S. line, which typically grabs the reader’s attention.
4. Use multiple social media channels
Share information and a link to your call for papers submission page on the social media channels your industry members use most.
The most common social media platforms for professional organizations have typically been LinkedIn, Twitter, and in some cases Facebook. Be sure to post multiple times, varying the content and images with each post. And it never hurts to include short videos and animated gifs as part of your posts which have shown to increase engagement.
Give specific language and links to everyone within your organization and key members of your industry with the request to post to their networks as well. Each time you post, be direct and straightforward about asking your followers to share each post too.
Your social media plan should also include YouTube, as it’s now the #2 search engine behind Google. It’s also used heavily by young professionals.
And speaking of young professionals, if your organization isn’t doing much with Instagram or TikTok yet, your call for papers may be a great time to start testing these platforms. A recent report indicates that Gen Z prefers TikTok and Instagram for search over Google. And, TikTok and Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts often get additional exposure through cross-posting on other, more traditional social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn.
5. Write and promote a blog article
Write an article about your call for papers for your association’s blog and include a link to your paper submission site. Your article can include information about the event and its historical role in the industry, a short highlight reel video of previous events, noteworthy speakers and topics from past events, or a video interview with past presenters sharing their experiences with the event.
Make sure to work with your team to optimize the article for search engines to help increase its visibility. And of course promote the blog article on all your usual marketing channels (including social media).
6. Publish your call for papers on conference directory sites
Add information about your event and call for papers to multiple conference directory sites. These sites compile open calls for papers and make it easy for industry professionals to discover presentation opportunities.
Here are some popular conference directories:
- WikiCFP – a listing for calls for papers (and workshops and journals) that is completely free to use. This site is quite popular with the IT and Engineering specialties.
- PapersInvited – the world’s largest database of calls for papers
- Conference Alerts – another good place to add your event
7. Send direct mail
In recent years, even more of our daily activities have gone online. This has created substantial digital fatigue. Receiving a tangible piece of physical mail has once again become a novelty that cuts through the digital clutter.
Send personalized invitations to submit an abstract, paper, or presentation to a targeted list of recipients. Include a shortened URL or QR code to make it easier for the recipient to get to your submission site directly from the printed mailer.
8. Include information in your newsletter
Your newsletter subscribers are industry professionals. Tap into their expertise by including information about your call for papers and a direct link to the submission page. This doesn’t have to take up a lot of space—a sentence or two, or a small advertisement will suffice.
9. Advertise your next call for papers at your current event
Many organizations will plan to have the submission site for their following year’s conference available during or immediately after their current conference. During this time, you have a captive audience, and your event is currently top-of-mind.
While on-site, use handouts, signage, and announcements to generate interest. Advertise your upcoming call for papers in your current event materials, including the printed program book, online agenda, and within the mobile event app.
10. Reach out to your affiliate network
To get the most exposure for your open call, you’ll want to reach potential submitters from outside your own database. Ask your network of industry partners and affiliates to promote your call for papers on their communication channels, including emails, newsletters, online communities, and social media.
Pre-package the content to make it as easy as possible for them to share. Include the written description, images pre-sized for different channels, and the hyperlink.
Following just a few of these tips should increase awareness of your call for papers and create a pool of talented professionals for your selection committee. And, if you’re short on qualified reviewers, most of these tips can work for enticing them to assist you, as well!
Looking for more tips on managing a call for abstracts, papers, or presentations? We interviewed three abstract management specialists and documented their helpful insights in the article Abstract Management Pros Share Tips on Managing a Call for Papers
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