The most pivotal moment of a conference takes place long before the first speaker takes the podium. A successful event starts with a successful call for papers.
The Best Conferences Start With the Best Submissions
Running a call for papers, posters, or presentations is how meeting planners 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 not enough to just hold a call for abstracts, you need to actively promote it within you industry.
Here are 10 things that you can do to create a larger pool of potential contributors for your next event.
Place eye-catching buttons, images or banners in multiple places on your website that explain the opportunities you have for presenters at your upcoming event. The homepage, previous and/or current event pages and upcoming event page are excellent locations to place these buttons. Be sure to include a link that takes visitors directly to the abstract submission website.
Send emails to your mailing lists announcing your call for papers and include a link to the submission website. While it’s a good idea to send out at least one email entirely devoted to your call for papers, you should also mention it and include a link to the submission page in other email communications. One great mailing list to target is contributors from previous years who did not make the cut.
Ask your coworkers to include a brief description of the event and the submission URL in their employee email signatures. This information can also be shared in a P.S. line, which typically grabs the reader’s attention.
Share information and a link to your call for papers submission page on Twitter, Facebook, and your association’s LinkedIn Profile and Events pages. Vary your posts and use different images to avoid being too repetitive and annoying your followers.
Share this information with specific LinkedIn industry groups.
It’s also a good idea to ask your followers to share or retweet your messages to get the word out. Encourage your team and industry advocates to participate by using their personal social media accounts to pass the info along.
Write an article about your call for papers for your association’s blog and include a link to your paper submission site. Creating a quick, 60-second YouTube video encouraging authors to participate can also help promote your call for papers.
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
Due to the amount of clutter online, direct mail pieces are a great way to get the attention of potential presenters. Send out postcards with the event information and invite the recipient to participate in your call for papers.
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.
At Your Event
If your submission site for next year’s event is ready during your current conference, advertise your future event information and direct your audience to the new submission website. While on-site, use handouts, signage, and announcements to generate interest among a captive audience.
In Your Program or Proceedings Booklet and Other Conference Materials
Include information for your next call for papers in your print or digital program or proceedings booklet, within the mobile event app, and on your virtual event platform (or wherever you will direct attendees to access on-demand session content after the event).
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!
Additional Content on This Topic
Now that you’ve created interest in your call for papers and presenters, follow these tips to make sure those submissions are as complete and high-quality as possible. Download the Best Practices Guide for High-Quality Content.