The ABCs of USBs: 26 Reasons To Include USBs At Your Next Event

 

Your conference attendees receive a lot of information during your annual event—so much so that it may be daunting to try to take notes or remember it all. But when you give your attendees a USB drive loaded with all of the content from your conference, you’re giving them an easy-to-use way to revisit what they learned and keep your association top of mind.

There are so many reasons why associations continue to hand out USBs at conferences, it’s as easy as A-B-C!

A – Access to Content: Attendees come to your conference to learn, but they might not be able to remember everything they’re presented with. USBs give them access to your conference content during and after the event so they can revisit it as often as they’d like.

B – Banner Ads: By creating an offline site on your conference USB drive, you can showcase banner ads to promote other events or continuing education programs your association members might be interested in.

C – Custom Options: Your USB drive can be customized for your needs. Choose specific colors, shapes and forms, such as a pen or business card USB.   

D – Diverse Documents: You aren’t restricted to only offering one type of file on your USB. Your drive can hold everything from abstracts to program content PDFs and media files.

E – Engagement: Because the USB holds all of your content, your attendees will be able to routinely engage with and revisit it again and again.

F – Full-Text Search: A full-text search option allows users to easily find the content that matters to them by searching through the entire document text.

G – Giveaway Item: Everyone likes getting freebies. USBs at conferences are a great functional giveaway item that your members can continue to use after your event.

H – Hierarchy: Your conference content can be grouped in many different ways to allow your attendees to find it more easily. Organize content by track, session or author.

I – Interactive: USBs are the perfect way to let attendees search your content and explore what is most interesting to them.    

J – Justification: If you’re still on the fence about USBs, remember that your attendees value your association for your content, and a USB is giving them continued access to it. You can also look for sponsors to help defray the costs.

K – Keywords: Keywords are an important way that attendees will search for content after the event, and full-text search helps them find the content most relevant to what they need.

L – Logos: The exterior of the USB drive can show your association or event’s logo to remind your attendees of your organization. And, banner ads and logos on the offline site can also be branded to match your association.

M – Memorable: A USB isn’t something attendees will just throw away after your event is over. They’ll hold onto it because of its functionality, then remember who gave it to them because of the branding.

N – Navigation: Setting your USB up like an offline website provides intuitive navigation that makes it easy for attendees to find what they’re looking for quickly.

O – Offline: Your attendees won’t need an internet connection to access your content, which comes in handy since event venue wifi is rarely reliable. They’ll be able to find what they need on-the-go, no matter what.

P – Power + USB: The newest addition to the Omnipress USB family is a combination USB and mobile device charger that can charge attendees’ phones and other devices. A combination that is perfect for those jam-packed conference sessions!  

Q – Quickly Find Content: An easy-to-use interface, hierarchical content and full-text search make finding your content quick and easy.

R – Reusable: Your attendees can use your USB giveaway after the event to store their personal or professional data, making it a long-lasting gift. And, your branding will be there to remind them of your association every time they use it.

S – Sponsorship Opportunity: Giving away USBs at conferences can provide you with an opportunity to generate revenue for your association through sponsorships. Put your sponsor’s’ name or logo on the USB device or a banner ad. They’ll love the ability to get exposure to a defined audience on a physical product.

T – Take Anywhere: You won’t find another giveaway item as functional, small and portable as USB drives are. Your attendees can easily take your USB drive with them wherever they go!

U – User-friendly: Navigating technology can sometimes be tough, but your attendees will appreciate the clean, easy-to-use interface and quick search options that help them find what they need.

V – Video: Your conference USB can even hold videos if you’d like to add recordings of past sessions, extra content or even a fun thank you video!

W – Web-like Experience: You can set your USB up to look similar to an online web page. Your attendees with appreciate the familiar web experience without needing an internet connection.

X – XL for All Your Content: If you have a lot of content to store, there’s no need to fret! USBs come in many sizes and offer as much storage as you need.

Y – Your Attendees Love Them: There’s a reason so many associations giveaway USBs at conferences: their attendees love them, and so will yours!

Z – Zilch: The number of reasons not to offer your content on USB!

Now that you have 26 new reasons to give USB drives to the attendees at your next conference, why don’t you see what’s so great about them yourself? Request a sample Power + USB drive from Omnipress and be one of the first to test it out.

Promote Your Training Courses With Content Marketing

 

We’ve heard from organizations that increasing enrollment in their continuing education courses can be challenging, time-consuming and expensive. Organizations sit on a goldmine of useful educational materials and resources, but might not know how to use them to their benefit.

Since getting new members to enroll in your courses is so important to your organization, you need a way to expand your reach and keep learners interested in your training courses year-round.

That’s why we’ve created a guide to help you use the educational materials you already have and share them on social media.

Our new whitepaper, “Promote Your Training Courses With Content Marketing,” offers in-depth strategies for:

  • How to transform existing educational content into shareable information
  • Which visual tools you can use to create eye-catching promotional graphics
  • How Twitter can help you build a community of learners
  • How to promote your courses as events on Facebook
  • How LinkedIn can help you expand your reach to users outside of your existing network

Using free social media tools to share your content is a great way to start using your educational materials to their full potential. If you’d like to learn how social media can help your organization engage new and existing learners, download our free whitepaper!

Hit the Reset Button on Your Content Marketing Program

 

It’s September, which means the mad rush of a new school year has begun, filled with new beginnings, new learnings and new adventures. And not just for the kiddos. Did you know that Labor Day marks a time when many of us adults hit the mental reset button too? New York Magazine featured an article calling it “Second-Chance January”—a time to refocus on our previous personal and professional goals before the end of the year.

If this is true, then Labor Day is a tremendous gift for associations. As the leading source of knowledge, information and development opportunities for your industry, you provide the resources that your current and prospective members are “Googling” right about now. The question is… will they find you?

In a previous post, I observed that too many associations are wasting their most valuable resource—their content—simply because they don’t have a well-defined content marketing program to effectively share it with the world. The content exists in the form of conference educational sessions, continuing education courses, standards and other resources.  But it’s not necessarily repackaged in a way that directly answers some of the most common questions your constituents are asking.

The concept of content marketing is not new to associations by any means. But many of us still struggle to launch and sustain a measurable content marketing program that directly contributes to increased conference attendance, membership and retention.  It’s time to crack this nut once and for all because your competitors—any other free or for-profit resources—already have.

So, during this time of “resets,” and “fresh starts” I challenge you to take just one more step toward leveraging your association content to its fullest potential. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Try these ideas to improve your content marketing program:

  • Create a searchable and discoverable online “home” for all of your conference or other continuing education content, so that you have a destination for your content marketing efforts.
  • Develop a content calendar that re-purposes existing content into multiple topics and formats to lessen the burden on your marketing team.
  • “Gate” your most valuable content behind a simple sign up form to generate new member leads for your organization.
  • Test one or two new channels to expand your reach beyond your active “base” to new audiences.

Any one of these steps can help your association use content marketing to reach your organization’s goals. And with “Second-Chance January” creating a renewed interest in your members’ goals, now is the perfect time to take action!

 

5 Ways to Use Video to Promote Your Conference

 

Video is quickly becoming one of the most popular mediums online. More people are watching and expecting video than ever before; in 2017, online video is expected to account for 74% of all online traffic. Videos inform viewers and can keep their attention for longer than a text post can.

Videos posted on YouTube or social media are great places to showcase highlights from your conference, present speaker information and generate excitement about your next event.

Here are five ways your organization can use video to promote your next conference:

  • Recap Video: There’s a lot going on at your events, which means there’s a lot to document! Recap videos help new or non-members understand what goes on at your events and can show that you provide a can’t-miss event. Record parts of the excitement during your conference, then compile clips into a visually interesting and informative recap video. Share the video shortly after the conference and then again as part of promotion for next year’s event to remind members of how much fun they had.
  • Announce Speakers: Announcing the speakers at your conference is a major selling point for your event and can help members make the decision to attend. Rather than writing bios for this year’s speakers, create short videos announcing each speaker and giving a preview of what their sessions will include.
  • Interview Speakers: Your conference speakers are industry experts, and attendees are interested in hearing what they have to say. To promote your upcoming event, record interviews with prominent speakers. Remember to have the speakers give an idea of what they will talk about at the conference, but don’t have them give their whole presentation.
  • Attendee Testimonials: Testimonials let you show the value your association offers members from members themselves! Record short interviews with attendees during the event asking their opinion on the conference and the organization. Combine a few of these together, and you’ve got a powerful testimonial video to use to promote the next event.
  • Session Recordings: Make arrangements to record sessions during the event so you can repurpose them online through your organization. But they also have another purpose—short segments can be used online to provide a glimpse into the conference as promotion for next year’s event. Potential attendees will love the ability to see what a session might be like before committing to attending. And, if they’re really interested in the topic, they might purchase the full proceedings, meaning more revenue for your organization!

Creating and sharing videos is easier than ever with the amount of quality equipment and software available today. Using videos to promote your conference can give members the information they need to help them decide whether to attend. Plus, they can easily share videos with friends on social media, meaning your promotion might reach new audiences. Using video to promote your conference is a great way to engage members and showcase some of the best parts of your event.

Does your association use video to promote events? What kind of video content do you create?

Now is the Time to Start Using Your Educational Content for Marketing

 

Regular readers of this blog know we believe content marketing is a great fit for associations. The reason is simple: We’ve seen how well it can work to engage members and generate interest in an association’s events. So it was surprising to see that only about half (55%) of the respondents in our 2017 State of the Conference Industry survey said they are re-using their content. That means many associations are missing out on a great way to connect with their membership.

If your association is still not using your educational content for marketing, now is the time to start!

As with any organizational undertaking, it’s best to start your planning with a clear goal in mind. Content marketing is no different. Here are three questions to keep in mind as you assemble a team to begin this project. These questions will help you focus your efforts and provide a framework to measure the success of your work:

Question #1: What outcome does my association want to achieve?

Developing your content plan with your end goal in mind is a great way to begin your planning. Content strategy outcomes typically involve generating interest, awareness or revenue. Some common objectives that are well suited for content marketing include:

  • Promoting you conference
  • Building awareness for your association
  • Keeping members or attendees engaged throughout the year
  • Generating non-dues revenue for your association

Question #2: Which materials are of most interest to my attendees/members?

Another important question to answer early in your planning process is to determine which topics interest your audience. Talk with some of your members to find out their preferences. Doing this before you begin will save you a tremendous amount of time and effort later. Every industry is different, so there is no single type of content that works best. Some popular types of content to consider include:

  • Promoting innovative research
  • Becoming a resource for industry best practices
  • Offering commentary on industry trends or other types of thought leadership

Bonus: Having a conversation with your members about their interests on a regular basis can help you offer in-demand conference sessions!

Question #3: How will we use our educational content for marketing?

With a goal in mind and an understanding of what interests your members, the next step is to think about putting your content to work. One common pitfall to content marketing is trying to do too many things. Answering this question will help your team stay focused. Again, let your goals drive the answer to this question.

For example, if your goal is to raise the awareness of your conference, you may choose to promote your online conference materials on social media to gain a wide audience. If your goal is to generate revenue for your association, however, a subscription-based site would make more sense.

A third option would let a visitor access your materials only after they provide their email address. You could then use this information to keep them up-to-date year round on important association news.

Conclusion

If your association is one of the 45% only using your educational materials at the conference, make this the year you do more with that content! The good news is you can start small and see how it works for your association. Every industry is different and what works for one group may not work for yours. Experimenting is key. So determine your goal, find out what material interests your members and put your content to work!

Why USBs Are a Happy Medium

Say a certain portion of your association’s membership is a little behind, in terms of adopting new technology, while others eagerly embrace—and even demand—it. The first group is reluctant to change; printed conference proceedings suit them just fine. They find it distracting to read abstracts online. In their minds, screens just don’t lend themselves to the deep reading that professional content deserves, whereas the second group expects to find your conference materials online or in a mobile app.

Does this describe your association? As demographics shift, so do content needs. It’s a good thing that your association serves a wide variety of industry professionals, but it does present a challenge: How do you satisfy the content needs of all attendees?

USBs are a perfect in-between, serving as a bridge between printed and digital conference materials. Content appears similar to print, but on a screen, which is a low bar for print devotees to clear.

The USB content is searchable, which technology natives will appreciate. The online companion site, which is essentially a connected version of the USB, allows for digital content like videos and podcasts, as well as opportunities to share content on social media.

It’s important to understand that the USB is not merely a file dump. With search capabilities and intuitive navigation (see the image above), a USB behaves more like a website than some “conference content sites” that include nothing more than a list of PDFs of meeting presentations.

What’s more, attendees of all stripes like receiving these free, useful giveaways that double as a valuable sponsor branding opportunity for your association. USBs have played an important role at conferences for quite some time, and continue to appeal to technophobes and early adopters alike.

Visit our website to learn more about your USB options. Like what you see? Contact us to request a sample!

5 Ways to Use Online Conference Materials to Increase Attendance

Are your online conference materials working for you? In other words, is the content your association’s speakers create for the annual meeting used to draw attendees to the conference? If not, you’re missing out on one of the benefits of providing online access to your conference content: marketing your annual meeting.

Online conference materials help your members realize that attendance at your annual meeting will benefit their careers. Here are a few examples of how online access to content can reap rewards for your association:

  1. Improve your SEO: The more information and metadata that lives online and refers to your association, the better your search results. That means your association is easier for potential members to find when they look for professional development.
  2. Give potential attendees a sample: To whet their appetites, offer a few papers from last year’s conference to show members the quality content they can expect this year. Put your best foot forward: Choose a sample that was well-regarded by attendees.
  3. Entice members with the promise of access: Include 12 months of access to all conference materials with paid registration. Some will consider this great benefit alone worth the price of admission!
  4. Offer a preview: Looking to garner more early registrations? Send an exclusive video of the keynote speaker to those who register by a certain date.
  5. Allow registrants to peek behind the curtain: After a member has decided to attend and has paid the registration fee, use content to build excitement. You could, for example, make handouts for a few popular speakers available before other conference materials are ready to go live.

Online access to conference materials can give your association an attendance boost if you use the tool strategically. Employ teasers to build excitement. You’ll create a FOMO (fear of missing out) vibe for your conference, which helps members understand how valuable attendance truly is—and gets it on their calendars.

Do you use online conference materials to promote your event? How? Share your experiences in the comments!

7 Ways a Conference App Enhances Your Attendees’ Experience

When was the last time you stopped and thought about how amazing mobile technology is? It’s easy to take this for granted. Didn’t we always have smartphones, ready to pull out at a moment’s notice to check the weather, the score, or the best route to your destination?

No! We didn’t.

But now we do, and it’s pretty incredible. Mobile technology can make your association’s annual meeting even more rewarding for attendees, on both the social/networking and the professional development side of the coin.

How? I have spilled ink on the subject before, but here’s a refresher on conference apps and the tools that enhance your attendees’ experience.

  1. Complete program information: Gone are the days when attendees would have to carry half of their body weight in printed proceedings just to look up where the next session is taking place. It’s all in the palms of their hands!
  2. Full access to conference content: Attendees can preview the handouts for an upcoming session, read through the abstract covered in yesterday’s keynote, or skim a presentation they missed to see if it’s worth following up on at home. Any content your association chooses to make available can be accessed through the app.
  3. Simple communication between attendees: Attendees can post to the app’s timeline or send a person-to-person message to a new acquaintance, without sharing contact information. All while staying in the conference app!
  4. Easy-to-use connectivity between speakers and sessions: If Ken loved hearing industry thought leader Dr. Jones contribute in a panel discussion, he can look her up in the Speaker section of the app and make plans to attend her session the next day.
  5. Timely push notifications: Keep attendees in the loop with push notifications. Announce a room change, let them know there’s a car in the parking lot with lights on, or promote your association’s next conference.
  6. Engaging live polls: Everyone likes to make their voice heard! Give attendees the opportunity with live polling. Ask for feedback on a keynote address, the networking events, or where to hold the next annual meeting.
  7. GPS-enabled maps: Getting around a new city can be a challenge, even though the map looks so easy to navigate. GPS-enabled maps can help attendees understand their location in relation to points of interest, like the convention center, area hotels, the airport, and recommended restaurants. They can just point the blue dot (themselves!) in the direction of their destination.

We’ve come a long way since the days when a printed proceedings book was the only option for attendees. There are other ways to access content, including online conference materials and USBs, to make it easier for professionals to learn on the go. Conference apps help attendees manage their engagement during the annual meeting, as well beforehand and afterward.

Remember how helpful mobile tools can be in your own life and recognize their potential to make your attendees’ conference experience richer.

Life is better with the right app. So is your conference! Make sure you include a conference app from Omnipress in your content strategy and budget.

5 Signs That Your Conference Content’s Check-Engine Light Is On

Last week on the blog, you learned how to tell if your content engine needs a tune-up. In other words, it would be a good idea to take a look under the hood. It’s not urgent, though. You should do it, but your content engine will still run if you don’t get around to it right away.

When your check engine light is on, however, you’ve reached critical mass. Action must be taken. There are several reasons why those lights on your dash illuminated, from the innocuous to more problematic causes. It could be something simple, like a loose gas cap, or something more serious, such as a catalytic converter that needs to be replaced. Regardless of what the ultimate cause is, you shouldn’t ignore it.

When it comes to your conference, there are a few surefire signs that your content engine needs immediate attention.

  1. You overhear conversations about content outputs at your conference. Two colleagues lament the loss of the printed program, for instance, or voice complaints about the new app. Like it or not, people are more honest in conversation with each other than they are in surveys with you.
  2. You find yourself trying to convince the board (again) to budget for additional formats to deliver conference content. Does your association’s board need to be reminded that content is the engine of the annual meeting? A shift in priorities may be in order. That shock of recognition you’re feeling? That’s the light on your dashboard.
  3. You have noticed that your attendee demographics are shifting. Do you cater to more millennials and fewer baby boomers than you did in the past? According to a survey we conducted, millennials prefer to learn from printed materials. Have you welcomed more international attendees in recent years? They may find printed materials cumbersome; their capacity for additional carry-on space may be limited. Perhaps online conference materials are the best choice for them.
  4. You have learned that attendees have a strong preference for one type of output (say, online conference materials) … except for those who show an equally strong preference for a different one (say, print). As the famous quote goes, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” (John Lyndgate) Trying to win with everyone is a losing proposition, so just do the best you can to offer multiple outputs to your attendees—printed materials, online conference materials, USBs/CDs, and a conference app.
  5. You know fellow association professionals (say, the ones you’ll meet up with next week at ASAE) who have had success with offering multiple outputs. We have found that in the association world, it helps to know how other groups like yours are handling their content. Hearing success stories from colleagues (or reading case studies) may have you wondering if you should make a change.

When signs like these point towards potential danger, it’s best to take care of things right away. Conference content is too important to take for granted, or continue on autopilot because it’s easier than making a change. Attendee satisfaction does depend, in part, on whether content comes in the format they prefer—and everyone is different. The best solution is to invest in your conference by providing as many different ways to consume the content as you can.

The Omnipress team will embody the automotive theme we’ve been using in recent blog posts at ASAE Annual 2015 in Detroit. Stop by booth 515 to learn more and pick up a USB that includes our newest white paper, Your 19-Point Conference Content Inspection. We hope to see you soon!

The Sum of your Conference Content, Starting with Abstract Management, is Greater than the Parts

Conference planners like you handle countless tasks on a day-to-day basis. Each time you check off an item on your long to-do list, you come a little bit closer to a meaningful, successful conference for your association’s members.

It’s easy to think of these tasks as a single, independent line item to be accomplished and forgotten. In terms of conference content, though, it’s helpful to consider everything you do to be part of a larger, ongoing process.

The conference content process begins with abstract management and paper collection. With Omnipress’ system, you can create custom fields to make sure you collect all of the information you need from submitters up front. Go beyond the abstract to make life easier for yourself, and your submitters as well. When you ask for everything you will need once a speaker is selected, you don’t have to worry about following up with the submitter for additional information.

Besides avoiding the run-around, asking for all required information up front solves another problem: creating your outputs. Omnipress can help you set up your abstract management system to collect information, like metadata (title, keywords, and description), that set your association up for an easier process in creating outputs, like a conference content website.

Omnipress offers both abstract management and a wide variety of conference outputs, including conference printing, online conference materials, conference apps, and USBs. Partner with us for all of your conference content needs to make every step of the process easier. Internal communication among Omnipress team members keeps things moving; you won’t have to explain your association’s needs all over again every time you reach out to someone to talk about conference content. Start with abstract management and follow through to all the outputs your association offers—print, mobile, online, and/or physical digital media (USBs, CDs, and DVDs).

Today’s takeaway: Change your mindset about conference content. Once you start to consider the tasks that fall under that umbrella as parts of a whole, handled from abstract management to final outputs with a single vendor, you’ll see how simple it can be to bring your association’s important content to attendees.

Strengthen Your Brand with USBs

When it comes to branding, consistency and frequency are keys to success. Your brand is featured prominently on all of your event content, including your printed program, your mobile event app and your website. At your annual conference, your brand isn’t hard to find. Attendees see it on everything from room signs to goody bags.

Another way you can extend your brand is to include a giveaway in that goody bag that contains the conference’s content. Something small and portable, but valuable enough not to lose track of in the shuffle. A branded USB fits the bill nicely.

Besides fulfilling an attendee’s frenzied need for free stuff, a USB pre-loaded with your conference’s content is a valuable resource that attendees will appreciate and return to again and again.

Why? Because a USB is the perfect compromise between print and digital distribution of content.

  • More portable than print … but not dependent on internet connectivity.
  • Searchable like a website … but less vulnerable to sharing and copying.
  • Easy to access without an internet connection … but complete with an online companion site.

Some associations are thinking outside the box with clever, custom USBs that make a great impression. Sure, they’re a little kitschy and they do cost more, but novelty can work in your favor. If your association is in the medical field and you offer attendees a USB that looks like a syringe or a capsule, you’re bound to illicit a reaction. Many other options are also available, including:

  • Veterinary: Dog bone
  • Education: Apple
  • Music: Cello
  • Legal: Gavel
  • Financial: Gold bar

How you offer your conference content to attendees depends on your goals, your budget and your members’ preferences. If you want to strengthen your brand and offer a valuable takeaway that will keep your association top of mind, USBs could be the right choice.

ICYMI: New Year, New Perspective – Millennials & Print

In case you missed it (ICYMI): Millennials prefer print when they read educational materials.

According to whom, you ask? Young professionals themselves! We worked with a third party to administer a survey to 548 men and women, age 22-33. Here’s a sample of the questions we asked. Want the answers, too? Download the white paper!

  • When you read something you need to learn, which do you prefer: print or digital?
  • Is it easier to learn from print or digital?
  • How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: Printed materials are better for reference.
  • How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program book.

At the risk of belaboring the point, I want to reiterate that the respondents were not in any way connected to Omnipress—or even the association industry at large. Their feedback is real and the results are solid.

Several survey-takers shared quotes, including this one, on the subject of note-taking:

I prefer printed materials because I am able to highlight, mark up, and jot my own notes down next to things that are important. Print materials, I think, are also less strenuous on the eyes. [I] definitely prefer to physically hold something (sounds odd, but I do the same with music—buy the CD then copy to PC so I have both formats). I don’t think you’re able to get the same effect with something in a digital format.

As you head forward into 2015, we invite you to reframe your thinking about event content. Young professionals—the very future of your association—have come out in support of printed educational materials. Get the full story: read the white paper. Comment below with your feedback, or reach out to us and let you know what you think.

We look forward to working with you in 2015! All the best to you, your loved ones, and your association colleagues this year.

 

Take Our2022 Training
Trends Survey

Each year, Omnipress collects data from training professionals to benchmark educational content trends. The results will be published in our annual Training Trends Report in early April.

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