3 Ways to Provide Value During Your Next Event

People pay a lot of money to come to your events, and that doesn’t even include travel expenses, lodging and time out of the office. It’s a huge investment for anyone to attend a conference, even if it’s a local chapter. Showing clear and evident value is so important these days.

One of the most effective ways of showing clear value and leaving a lasting impressio–so those who attend will come back next year and those who didn’t will see the value–is through your conference content. Providing educational material they can take back to the office and try right away is extremely important. Not only must they be able to learn from the material, but they must be able to access it easily.

So, as attendance continues to slip at conferences across the country, what can you do to make sure those who invest in your conference are getting a return on the investment?

Here Are 3 Ways to Provide Value During Your Next Event:

1) Pre- and Post-Show Access: Your conference material took a lot of time for your speakers and presenters to put together, and there is a lot of value in the lessons they are meant to purvey. So why would you only grant access during the show? Give attendees the opportunity to come prepared by giving access to the materials via a digital publishing platform.

Also, after the event is over, they’ll be able to access the content when they’re back in the office and need a refresher. The best part is, you can allow access to anyone you’d like, whether that be attendees and members only, or the general public.

2) Easy-to-Use Mobile App: Mobile event apps are an absolute must at your conferences these days, but the difference between a successful app and one that simply causes more headaches is ease of use. If your attendees can’t download and be using it within a few minutes, what good does it do? They must be able to share pictures, access and update their itinerary, search venue maps and more without having a doctorate in Mobile App Development. Some of the best apps also make it possible to access valuable conference and speaker materials.

3) High-Quality Printed Materials: Advanced and final programs, conference schedules and conference proceedings are all staples of any conference, but are yours truly high-quality? Those materials with your association or organization’s logo all over them is a direct representation of your company, whether you printed them yourself or not. Make sure your materials are printed on a sturdy stock to last the entire conference, as well as the trip back home.

What are some other unique ways that you offer value to your attendees? I’d love to hear any that have worked well for you and your organization!

5 Considerations for Managing Access to Your Online Content

Offering conference materials and other association content online may seem like too much of a gamble to some groups. The thought of valuable content getting out to non-members, free of charge, can be scary.

After all, there are plenty of free professional development resources available online. If your association publishes content online, doesn’t that undermine the value of the information that paid members enjoy?

Yes and no. Remember that online content can also be an important benefit to tech-savvy members. The convenience of online access, coupled with the increased exposure that speakers receive when their materials are search-engine accessible, means that many attendees may prefer a website over a printed program. And while it’s true that there’s a risk of unauthorized use, many options are available to protect content.

Keep these considerations in mind as you determine how—and whether—to go about offering online access to your association’s content.

  1. There is no single right answer. Every association will make its own decision, based on its financial goals, membership demographics, mission, and other factors. Moreover, the decision you make today doesn’t have to be final. As the demographics of your association shift, for example, digital publishing may become more important to your members.
  2. The decision doesn’t need to be either/or; it can be both/and. Consider tiering content instead: offer high-level teasers to whet the appetites of prospective members, with a deeper dive into the subject available only to members or with a paid subscription.
  3. Association content is more valuable than other resources that are available free with a simple Google search. The editorial review that content must pass in order to be sanctioned by an association carries considerable heft. With conference content, this is even more true, and especially if abstracts go through a review and approval process. Because the content has been thoroughly vetted and condoned by an authoritative source, it can rightly be considered a better resource than the average article that Google spits out.
  4. Search engine accessibility means that your association is easier to find online, whether or not non-members can get to the content. If your association’s content is available online, it can improve your search rank. That’s true of all content: watermarked documents, abstracts behind a pay wall, and publications that can only be seen with paid subscription. If you put your content online, it will benefit your association’s findability.
  5. Associations have many options to protect online content. No matter what you’ve determined is the best course of action for your association, you can choose how you safeguard your online content and which types of materials you protect. Possible solutions include watermarking, digital rights management (DRM), and subscription management.

Hat tip to Association Media & Publishing and its newsletter, Sidebar, which included an article that inspired this post.

Looking for more tips on approaching digital publishing of your association content? Download our white paper, Putting Your Content to Work.

Finding the Right Balance: Control & Online Conference Materials

Odds are, you have dealt with a control freak in your life. You know the type—not only do they insist on getting their way and micromanaging everything, but they try to change your mind to match their ideas, mostly to assuage the guilt they feel by steamrolling the issue at hand.

You’ve probably also had to learn to live or work with someone who wanted so little control, you have to wonder if they cared at all about the apartment you shared or the project you were working on together.

How would you describe your own control tendencies at work? Do you see some aspects of both, in different situations, or do you feel that you maintain an appropriate level of control and flexibility? It’s interesting to consider, and figuring it out can help you find the best tools to help you succeed.

Having too little control is just as dangerous as having too much. It’s easy to feel out of the loop if you become so hands off that you don’t have a good grasp of what’s happening. If you need to be managing the process, this can be deeply unsettling.

Taking on full control is a path that’s also fraught with peril. Not so much because you are afraid of overstepping your bounds and bullying your way through the project; that’s not your style. The problem is more basic—if you’re in control of the whole process, you have to do it all. And that’s not really an acceptable outcome, either.

When you work with Omnipress to make your conference content available online, you can find that happy medium. Take enough control to know where the project stands, but not so much that you feel burdened by the work.

Administrative access to Omnipress’ online conference materials is easy for you and your team to use. No programming experience is needed, and help is just a phone call or an email away. Your project manager can walk you through any task that is giving you headaches. Life is too short to feel frustrated when friendly, knowledgeable help is so easily found.

The perfect balance of control, user-friendly administrative panel, and customer service that is truly helpful—that’s what you can expect when you partner with Omnipress to deliver your association’s conference content online.

Learn more about our online conference materials and how that fits into your conference content strategy—download our white paper, Best Practices in Conference Content!

Online and Under Control: Standards and Policy Books

It’s so nice to have everything in the right place, together and easy to find. That’s the idea behind policy books and standards. Rather than dig through past newsletters and emails to find the association’s take on this issue or that, just open the book and search.

As that book grows larger, though, and its contents cover more topics, this convenience becomes, well, inconvenient, especially if you need to leave the office with said tome. Is there an even better alternative to a printed standards or policy book?

Yes indeed. Keep the printed book on the office shelf. It will always be there when you need it, when you’re sitting at your desk. When you need an answer—right now!—or when you’re on the road or working from home, accessing the book online is a perfect alternative.

Besides the portability of an online policy book, it offers search tools that go beyond the table of contents and index you get in the printed version. With full-text and faceted search, Omnipress goes deeper.

Narrow your focus with faceted search: look under 2013 legislation, in May, regarding the production of widgets, in North Carolina. Found it!

Full-text search incorporates not just keywords, but all the text in a document. You don’t have to read anyone’s mind to find what you’re looking for. Refreshing, isn’t it?

Another advantage to publishing your standards or policy book online is search engine accessibility. You already know that the more content you have online, the more Google smiles upon you. Think again about how thick that printed book is. All that content, on your site, could do wonders for your SEO (search engine optimization). That’s a lot of potential you’re not (currently) taking full advantage of. It’s worth consideration.

There’s no need to worry that taking standards or policy books online means giving up revenue potential. Omnipress can do eCommerce. On the other hand, if your association is generous with its resources, we can handle that, too. It’s all up to you.

Having information exactly where you need it makes your day a little smoother, and it’s the same for your members. They want to know the association’s position on the issues and the standard procedures of the craft. The easier the resource is to use, the more they’ll refer to it.

Cover your bases by offering all of your content in print and online. After all, Omnipress does both! We can also provide content delivery for your events, in print, online, and through a mobile event app. A one-stop shop for association content distribution. Does it get any easier than that?

How to Convince Your Boss You Need to Take Your Educational Content Online

A few days ago, I accomplished the impossible. I was finally successful at something I’ve tried to do for years. The feeling of elation was unbelievable. I had finally convinced my dad to get a smartphone!

Now this may not seem like a landmark occasion for most people, but to me it should have been a national holiday. If you know my dad, he’s a man’s man. You know, the outdoorsy type that would spend every waking second hunting or fishing if he could. The type that rides his Harley every chance he gets to nowhere in particular, just to be on his bike. So to him, smartphones were unnecessary and an unneeded distraction from the simpler things in life.

Taking Your Educational Content Online

To me, he’d constantly ask, “Hey, look this up for me,” or “What’s the weather going to be like?” So I’d tread on, time and time again doing his dirty work and spending (what seemed like) hours doing research for him when it could have taken him 30 seconds to do on his own. The frustration was unbearable so I begged and pleaded with him. I even made him a deal that if I caught a bigger fish than him one weekend that he’d have to get a smartphone to catch up with the times and reap the benefits of new technology. (By the way, I don’t think I’ve EVER caught a bigger fish than my Dad; ever.)

Then I finally broke him down. He was through with the days of not having the technology to look up the weather or look for parts for his Harley on his own. My life was easier, and my time spent with him was spent asking how to be a better outdoorsmen rather than being stuck to my phone looking things up for him.

So what does this have to do with your association? It’s simple. This story is about the majority of the associations out there. The kids (employees and content managers) beg and plead with dad (association executives) to get a new smartphone (digital publishing platform) to make life easier on everyone and distribute their valuable content.

There seems to be a good number of associations that seem to be stuck in the past and are missing out on leveraging their valuable content and offering it online, because a “higher-up” is stuck in their ways and doesn’t see value in offering their content online. So how do you convince dad to get that new smartphone? Here are 4 ways to convince your association leaders to take your content online:

  1. Show Them What Your Competitors are Up To
    It may sound odd, but one of the most effective ways of convincing your boss to invest in something, is to show them that your competitors are already doing it. Nothing makes any executive back a new tool faster than seeing their competitors are beating you to it.
  2. Inform Them of All of the Features and Benefits
    Sometimes, it’s just the pure lack of information that warrants the disregard of the advancement of your assocation’s content. Give them all the information they need on how it will grow your association’s membership, and probably more important to them, how it will provide another source of revenue. Start here for the Information You’ll Need
  3. Train Them on How Easy It Is to Use
    Actually taking them into the Digital Publishing Platform and allowing them to see how easy it is to use will immediately take away the fears of paying for something they don’t understand. It’s important that they feel comfortable with a system that they are going to invest money into. If you’re in the market, invite them to join you for a demo of the system. Even if they don’t say a word, it’ll make a world of difference for them to see it in action.
  4. Put the Numbers in Front of Them
    One of the most common deterrents association executives cite is the cost. Get the numbers square, directly in front of them. And this doesn’t only include the cost of the platform. Make sure to include projections of the revenue that a Digital Publishing Platform can create. You can charge for any of your content, or charge membership fees. Show them they’re investing in a system that is creating a new revenue stream.If you have any additional challenges, please don’t hesitate to contact Omnipress to discuss other ways you can show the value of a Digital Publishing Platform to your executives, and get them to take your content online.

    *As I finished writing this blog, I received a picture from my dad of a nice largemouth bass he caught. It’s funny how sometimes things you see as successes can come back to bite you!

Tablets Surpassing Traditional PCs: Another Reason to Move to Responsive Design

Recently, we’ve been talking a lot about the advantages of responsive design on your Digital Publishing Platform. Responsive design, in a nutshell, is being able to have one website that appears correctly on tablets, mobile phones and traditional PCs (Watch John Eisele’s video explaining responsive design). You don’t need to pay big money to have a mobile site, tablet site and regular website anymore. With responsive design, you’re able to save on cost while giving your visitors the best viewing experience possible on any device.

Now, Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, has released a report stating:

“Traditional PC market (is) predicted to decline 7.6 percent as change in consumers’ behavior drives transition to tablets and ultramobiles.”

That’s right, we have been ahead of the curve this whole time, and now we are seeing the true shift from traditional PC to tablets and mobile devices happen right before our eyes.

The report goes on to say that worldwide tablet shipments are forecast to total 197 million units in 2013. That’s a 69.8% increase from the total shipment amount from last year. The extreme growth can be accredited to prices dropping rather quickly in the emerging market.

See the full report here


What This Means for Your Association

This means your members are continuing the shift of using devices with smaller screen sizes than traditional PCs. You should be making sure that your Digital Publishing Platform is able to adapt to any screen size that your members are trying to access your content with. That means having a system that has Responsive Design capability that can automatically optimize the viewing and navigation experience for visitors.

We have done our best to stay ahead of the curve and already offer a Digital Publishing Platform that has responsive design in order to keep you and your association ahead of the curve, and in front of your members.

If you don’t have a platform with responsive design, how many members do you think are leaving your site wanting more?


3 Requirements for Delivering Quality Association Content to Members

It is the end of 2012, and just as every year, there are thousands of “Top 10” posts: “Top 10 Trends of 2012,” “Top 10 Events of 2012,” “Top 10 Top 10 Lists;” it’s exhausting. I call them “Top 10” posts, but as we all know, they range from a list of five to sometimes hundreds (who would ever spend that much time going through a list that big is beyond me) of usually meaningless bits of information.

However, this year I came across a Top 10 list that really got me thinking. It was titled “Top 10 Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Posts of 2012,” and it highlighted a list of the website’s most viewed posts of the year. What was brought to my attention is something I try to tell our employees and clients as much as possible; if you want to write content that gets a lot of views, you must do three things (Yes, I’m sorry, another list.)

3 Ways to Increase Association Content Views

  1. Be Concise. There is in fact a reason why writers, bloggers and blabbers use lists so often. It’s because they are concise and get to the point. People are interested in their chosen topic, and they want the information in a tidy, little package. Do the same for your members and attendees; wrap that present of information up nice and neat for them. Some call this spoon feeding them information, but no matter what you call it, just make it easy to take in.
  2. Be Interesting. When you are writing a story, a lesson, even a tidbit of cool information, the thing that gets it noticed the most is making it interesting. Be unique, and write about a topic no one has heard before, or maybe choose an old topic and take a different approach than the norm.
  3. Be Relevant. As unique and interesting as you can be, the topic and information still has to be relevant to your members and attendees. Writing about the “Top 10 Things Your Dog Did in 2012” may be interesting to some, but it isn’t relevant to your organization’s goals or to what members or attendees would like to learn.

What else do you do to make sure you are delivering quality association content to your members?

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