Three Benefits of Online Conference Proceedings

 

How often do you overhear conference attendees gush, “I never go anywhere without my giant, 10lb three-ring binder of annual conference proceedings”?

Technology has given your attendees easy, quick, 24/7 access to anything they want… And it fits in their pocket, purse and handbag without giving them back pain. The advancement of smartphones and tablets has exploded in the meetings industry. As an event planner, it’s important to make sure your annual conference is staying up to date with technological trends. It’s time to reap the benefits of online conference proceedings!

But it’s more than just staying on top of the trends. Taking your proceedings online brings a lot of benefits not only for you as a meeting planner, but also for attendees, sponsors and speakers alike:

Extend Engagement

Attendee engagement is an important part of a successful conference. Online conference proceedings provide an effective way to increase engagement before and after your annual meeting. Providing detailed session and speaker information online before your annual meeting will help attendees choose which sessions are right for them. And reviewing the materials beforehand will allow them to be more engaged during the actual session. Additionally, hosting presentations and papers online after the event will help continue the learning that began at the conference.

Control Access

The greatest source of value the annual conference provides is its educational content. So it makes sense that meeting planners, associations and speakers are interested in controlling how this information is accessed. Does someone with a certain membership level get unlimited access? Are attendees the only people who can view online content for the first 30 days after your annual meeting? That wouldn’t be possible with printed proceedings or conference flash drives, but with an online conference library, you are able to control access.

Enhance Search Capabilities

Typically, the conference proceedings for your annual meeting encompass a large amount of content, including session handouts, presentation outlines and technical papers. Instead of thumbing back and forth between the table of contents and specific documents, attendees can simply type the session number, name or speaker (depending on how your content is organized) into the search box and be taken straight to the technical paper they are looking for.

Does your association put conference proceedings online? What benefits do you enjoy the most?

Here’s Why Print Isn’t Dead 2.0: Seven Reasons Why Print is Here to Stay

In late July 2014, I wrote an article that was meant to serve as an appeal to those claiming that digital content had completely taken over, and that print is dead. Numbers had shown that Newsweek, who had been printing for 79 years went to digital only in 2012 because their subscription numbers dropped from 3,077,771 to 1,535,930. Obviously, that makes a lot of business sense. However, from what I was hearing, print was not only not dead, but in fact thriving. Here are four reasons I gave as to why this was happening:

1. Engaged Reading: Many studies have shown that those who read printed material are more engaged and retain the material much better versus online material. Therefore, even those growing up in the digital age, still prefer printed materials.

2. People Want Options: In today’s age of getting things however consumers want, this is a no-brainer. You must continue to offer readers options even when it comes to your material. Offering print or digital can really seclude certain segments of your market, and have your organization missing large opportunities in others.

3. Some Prefer Printed Materials: The truth is, some people simply prefer having materials in-hand when reading it (refer back to #2). Why do some people take their coffee black, while others prefer sugar cubes and creamer? Having a tangible form of content is a must to some of your target market.

4. Print Works Hand-in-Hand with Digital: It’s no secret that print and digital can work great together. They can promote each other and complement each other in a learning environment. With print, there is a sense of increased credibility, and with digital content, there’s the ease of access on any device we carry with us each day.

Read the complete original post!

These are all great examples of why print is absolutely not dead, and I’d still argue they are all true today. And as we move forward with this idea a year later, we’ve discovered even more evidence that our hypothesis was absolutely right. Here’s three more reasons why print isn’t dead:

Continue reading “Here’s Why Print Isn’t Dead 2.0: Seven Reasons Why Print is Here to Stay”

Conference Printing As a Team Sport

With fall conferences right around the corner, you may be thinking about your printed conference materials and wondering what—and who—goes into bringing your association’s program from PDFs to beautiful books, delivered to your conference site. Or you might be thinking about NFL and college football games in your future. Let’s tie them together and consider the Omnipress team as positions on the field.

The Omnipress team is committed to getting the job done right (the win, in other words), which involves many individuals and moving parts. As Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Account manager: The Omnipress sales team is responsible for introducing you to the services we provide and helping you get started. They will also walk you through the proposal so you feel comfortable with the plan and pricing before we get to work on your project. These are the front line players—tackles, guards, and center.

Project manager: Your dedicated project manager is your point of contact, or quarterback, throughout the process. Keeping everything on track is the name of their game, and they play it very well. You’ll feel better knowing there’s just one person to contact if I problem arises, or if you just need to check in.

Project technician: If you need someone to take care of page layout, formatting, or design, these are the people who can help you get it done. Consider them the “special teams” layers on your Omnipress roster. . Let us know what you want the program book or proceedings to look like and we’ll get right to it. This works particularly well if you also count on Omnipress for your abstract management. That makes for a seamless hand0ff. Great play!

Production team: If getting your files print-ready was the last step, we’d stop there, but for conference printing, you’ll actually want your materials, well, printed. That’s where the production team—your running backs, say, and wide receivers—comes in. They take care of the actual printing and all that entails (color, binding, etc.), expertly packing your books for transport, and shipping your materials to your conference site.

Members of the Omnipress team come together to make your conference printing project happen. It’s one of the unsung benefits of working with us: every single one of us works for the best outcome for you. When your printed conference materials succeed, we’re happy to have played a part in the process.

You can experience the same level of we’re-in-this-together commitment and dedication on other content outputs for your annual meeting—online conference materials, USBs, and conference apps. We can also help you collect and manage your content with our abstract management system. Any game you play, we’re in it to win it.

I encourage you to get to know the Omnipress team. Read the short bios on the Meet Our Team section of our website, call in to 800-828-0305 to get a conversation started with an account manager, or check us out on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). We look forward to serving you and helping your team bring home a W.

Conference Content: The Engine That Drives Your Association’s Annual Meeting

When it comes to your association’s conference, it can be helpful to think of content as the engine of your annual meeting.

It’s true that all other aspects of your conference are also important—ordering tasty and healthy food and beverage, brokering agreements with sponsors, working with exhibitors, booking hotel blocks, handling speaker requests, and so much more.

But without content? Your annual meeting just doesn’t run without it. Much like the engine of car, your association’s conference content is the critical component that brings it all together and, simply put, makes it go.

Your content engine is far too important to leave untended, therefore, and it needs a good tune-up every so often. When was the last time you gave more thought (much less budget!) to your conference content than you did to food and beverage?

Yet the quality of the content—and the method(s) of delivery you used to get it in the hands of your attendees—is what will really determine whether members will attend next year.

When professionals return to the office after a conference, what do their colleagues ask? What did you learn? Did you catch Dr. Smith’s session? How was it? Can I take a look at your notes? Do you think our boss will let me go next year? The conversation is centered on content. Eventually networking events, venue, and that great breakfast spread will come up, but first and foremost is content.

How are you planning to deliver content for your next annual meeting? Printed programs and/or proceedings? Online? Through a conference app? On a USB or CD? A combination of the above, or all of these methods? How will your session speakers be selected? Have you chosen an abstract management system to keep that process streamlined and under control?

If your answer to any of those questions is I haven’t figured that out yet, but you can describe the opening reception hors d’oeuvres in detail, you may want to think about getting your content engine in for a check-up, ASAP.

Stop by booth 515 at ASAE Annual to consult the Omnipress “pit crew” on your content engine. We’d love to help you look into ways you can get your conference content in good shape and keep it that way for years to come. See you in Motor City!

Why Choose a Printer That Works With Associations?

Many associations choose to work with a trusted local printer that handles all sorts of jobs for other members of the community in addition to the association’s conference materials. With no disrespect intended towards ma or pa, this may not be the most prudent course of action for your association.

Choosing a printer that specifically works with associations has many advantages, as listed below, which may outweigh your honorable intention to keep your business in the community. Association have needs that differ from other organizations, and those unique circumstances may necessitate the use of a specialist.

A printer that works with associations …

  1. Understands that your deadlines are tight. Conference programs need only be late once for you to realize the full impact that printers who understand how to meet deadlines—and associations always run up against the deadline. Know that your materials will be there, come what may.
  2. Recognizes that last-minute changes are common, necessary, and largely out of your control. Oh, those presenters! Whether you set the date for final collection a month or a week before your conference, you’ll still get entirely too many late papers. Omnipress gets it. While there does need to be a drop-dead-line, as my high school English teacher called it, when materials must be received in order to be included in printed conference materials, we can push that date later than most providers can.
  3. Knows the basics of how conference materials are laid out. If your program’s pages come to us print-ready, that’s great! Many associations need help getting it there, though, and our team of designers can provide formatting services to make it happen. Just send us a sample of last year’s program and we’ll do our best to match it. We work with hundreds of associations each year, so we have a good idea of how books normally look.
  4. Has seen many variations on the standard conference program. If you’re looking for something a little different, odds are, Omnipress has seen it before. If you bring something to the table that’s brand-new, we’ll have a good idea of how to handle it. Over the years, our project managers and production team have built up an impressive set of skills.
  5. Knows you have many plates spinning, and that conference content isn’t always top priority. But that’s okay, because it is ours. We can help you manage the process with little input from you. We won’t make any major decisions without your approval, of course, but we can get a lot done while you’re taking care of other tasks.
  6. Realizes that some people who work with you to get materials ready for print are volunteers or work part-time. Coordinating schedules can be tough, even when everyone is in the office at the same time. When volunteers and part-timers are in the mix, it can be even tougher to stay on the same page (sometimes literally!). We understand if the ad pages are being produced on a different timeline than the abstracts, which are trickling in on schedule all their own. We can revise the program as more pieces are added. Once again, there will be a cut-off date and time, but we can work on bits and pieces until everything is ready.
  7. Understands that content is the most valuable asset any association has. When it comes right down to it, your association’s content is what keeps them coming back every year—to membership and to your annual meeting. Your association’s reputation is on the line when those conference programs or proceedings land in the hands of attendees. It has to be all right, or it’s all wrong.

Does every printer truly understand this? According to our clients, who trust us because we know associations, the answer is no. Only printers like Omnipress can empathize with busy meeting planners, executive directors, and other association professionals.

To learn more about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of conference printing, download our white paper, Printing Your Event Content.

This is Your Brain on Print: Flex Your Deep-Reading Muscle Daily

Your brain is a complicated machine. The more neuroscientists discover about the way we learn and approach the world, courtesy of this endlessly fascinating “gray matter,” the more likely we are to view cognition in terms of how it may truly impact our daily lives.

In a recent article from PRI (Public Radio International), Your Paper Brain and Your Kindle Brain Aren’t the Same Thing, digital content editor T.J. Raphael reports that digital reading has permeated our lives to the extent that it has actually changed the way we read print. You may find yourself feeling distracted, with your eyes darting around the page and your mind unable to concentrate, even if you have been able to do so in the past.

According to neuroscientists, you use different parts of your brain when you read a screen than you do when reading paper. Like so many other functions of the brain, like vocabulary and language (I can’t be the only one who has lost almost all of high school German), reading on paper is a use-it-or-lose-it skill. In fact, the more you read on a screen, the more you start to read other materials as if you were reading a screen.

It would be alarmist to suggest that the deep reading many of us still do on paper—immersing yourself in a novel, for example, or even complicated documents like a mortgage agreement—is in danger of extinction. Manoush Zomorodi, host of WYNC’s New Tech City, doesn’t suggest, as some might, that we are becoming stupider or poorer readers overall. It’s closer to the truth to say that excess stimulation is disrupting our ability to deep-read.

What is to be done? How can we stem the loss of this critical skill, important for everything from professional development and career advancement to reading for pleasure and fully understanding your taxes?

According to the article, the best advice is to do some deep reading every day. Flex that muscle in your brain to keep it in shape, for all the times in life when you need to completely understand new information and can’t be distracted by the ads in the sidebar and the ping! of your inbox.

For your association members, this deep reading of print might as well be content from your annual meeting. It would be a good choice, after all; this is important information, worthy of the more careful, deliberate attention most people give to printed materials. Add this to the growing list of reasons to continue to print your program or proceedings.

In the future, we may see that this bi-literate brain, which uses one method and area for reading on a screen and a different method and area for reading print, as an asset. Its ability to differentiate between the skimmable, fact-seeking online tidbit from the deep-dive-worthy printed piece could be valuable. It will take some conscious practice on our part, though, which can begin with your association content.

Sources:
http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-09-18/your-paper-brain-and-your-kindle-brain-arent-same-thing
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/newtechcity/

What’s Happening? Check the Proceedings

No one likes to be out of the loop. Your members want to know what happened at this year’s conference, but they still haven’t figured out a way to be in three places at once. That’s why you publish proceedings: Everyone wants to know what’s happening, but no one can attend every session. News your members need, available in a beautiful, high-quality print edition to peruse at their leisure or refer to as needed.

Resources

Your members remember your sessions as best they can, but no one’s memory lasts forever. That’s where your program comes in handy. Knowing exactly which papers were presented which year, by whom, is important information to have at hand. While this information may be easier to ascertain with an online version, some members prefer using print. Some just like to have it, because it’s a great resource. Because their bookshelves are looking a little bare these days, and an additional volume would look nice. Because … well, just because, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Tangible, Historical Archive

Is it important for your members to have physical copies of content? Is having an actual, tangible library of association content a matter of pride and honor? Yes and yes!

History, be it personal or professional, industry-wide or company-specific, has a place in your members’ memories, and it deserves a place on their office bookshelves, too. Offer proceedings in print to keep the history alive and thriving.

How to Deliver Association Content Elements

One of my favorite things about content marketing is it has absolutely nothing to do with Chemistry.

At least that’s what I thought until I read Andy Crestodina’s article entitled, “Content Chemistry: The Periodic Table of Content.”

Apparently, content and chemistry have a lot more in common than I thought.

The Periodic Table of Content

Andy Crestodina tells us, “Content is made up of pieces. And pieces can be broken down into smaller pieces or combined into larger pieces, just like the elements on the Periodic Table.”

As an association, you naturally have many of these content elements such as Pp (Presentations), Pdf (PDFs), Bk (Books) and maybe even Eb (eBooks).

But your valuable association content doesn’t belong in a metaphoric Periodic Table. So where do you store all of the elements that make up your association?

Delivering Your Association’s Content Elements

Digital publishing platforms house all your association’s content elements, and it gives your members ONE place to find everything they’re looking for.

What does an online library look like?

Check out the Transportation Research Board’s Knowledge Center. It has everything from indexed content, to advanced search. The very best part is every page is search engine optimized, making the association find-able and discoverable on the web.

online publishing platform

Association Update: Now 1 in 5 American Adults Own a Tablet

Whether you like it or not, your association’s publications are trickier to convert into an eBook format than John Grisham’s latest novel. Complex tables, graphics and mathematical formulas can often be a bit of a challenge in the conversion process.

But, that is no excuse for your association to avoid this “whole eBook trend.”

… eBooks are here to stay!

3 Reasons eBooks are Here to Stay

  1. eBooks are being offered in libraries .
    In a recent article on NorthJersey.com, it was stated, “With the rise in popularity of e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad and Nook from Barnes & Noble, local libraries are seeing a major increase in the demand for e-books, but there’s not enough of a supply of them.” With demand increasing, local libraries are now putting more focus on their digital collections. But, the pressure for eBooks will not just be on local libraries, if you’re association isn’t feeling the heat yet, it will soon.
  2. Tablet owners nearly doubled over the 2012 holiday season.
    In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the number of tablet owners nearly doubled after the 2012 holiday season. Now 1 in 5 (19%) of American Adults own a tablet. As tablet sales increase, so will the number of requests for your association’s educational publications and conference proceedings to be offered in eBook format.
  3. eReader technology is only getting better.
    In the same study by The Pew Research Center, while they didn’t mention the most popular tablet, they did attribute the surge in tablet sales on the release of the new Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook tablet. According to a recent article on CNET, Amazon has been reluctant to give away sales figures, but analysts have estimated Amazon shipped nearly 4 million Kindle Fires during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Association Content Delivery is Critical

Your association’s educational content is what drives growth and keeps you relevant to your members. Providing that valuable content in the format your members want is just as critical as the content itself.

If you aren’t providing your eReading members your educational publications and other association content in an eBook format, someone else will.

Where do eBooks fit in your content strategy for 2012?

 

BTW – We’ve created “The Omnipress Guide to Association eBooks” to help our customers understand the conversion and distribution processes. You can check it out in the Customer Tools section of our website.

 

Archiving Educational Content with a Digital Publishing Platform to Spark Association Growth

The speakers have spoken. The attendees have gone home. And as a meeting planner, you are left alone with the conference proceedings you worked so hard to collect, organize and create. While the knowledge that lies within these materials could stimulate association growth, often times after a conference has ended, these materials get lost in file cabinets
and book shelves.

Unleash the Value of your Educational Content

Many associations are failing to recognize that this same content can be archived, repurposed, and monetized to bring ongoing value to your association. Now more than ever, technology has made it simple and cost effective to take conference content and repurpose it to enhance membership value and attract new members. Think of the value in having multiple years of content in a single location that is searchable by members and discoverable by nonmembers. Having an digital publishing platform with archived conference content can extend the life of your conference and leverage the value of your association’s knowledge.

Once your educational content is organized in a single location, it opens up an array of opportunities to market and monetize your educational content. A knowledge center allows you to sell subscription access to content, share content on social media sites such as Facebook and Digg, enrich content using metadata and makes content more discoverable by exposing it to search engines. This all greatly enhances the value of your content for both members and potential members.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to extend the life of your conference and your conference content, do you?