Two More Reasons to Make Event Content Available Online: Branding & Integration

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your brand is critical to your success as an organization. And because it’s so important, it needs to be right, on everything you touch: printed materials (publications, proceedings, directories, and more), association website, event website, mobile app, and training materials. The best way to ensure consistent branding is to partner with one company to produce your association content.

Our clients appreciate that Omnipress event websites are brandable. We can incorporate your association colors and logo—and/or your event colors and logo—so your event website feels like “home” to your members. That consistency builds your brand and fosters positive experiences that your members and potential attendees have with your organization.

In addition to a branded event website that fits your association and its image, Omnipress brings you integration to make your life easier. When your event website works with, not against, your association and conference websites, the experience is easier for attendees and association staff alike. Few things are more frustrating than having to complete a task multiple times. When systems work well together, that means less work for you.

Branding and integration make for a powerful, easy-to-manage event website. The valuable content your association brings to professionals every year deserves a special place to “live,” before, during, and after your event. That can be printed proceedings, which have a certain gravitas all their own, but for many, content that lives online is easier to use and reference at a moment’s notice.

Add in consistent branding and true integration with other websites and your content will remain an important resource for members and attendees while setting your association apart and making content management easier for association staff.

For more information on event websites as part of a complete content delivery strategy, read our whitepaper Event Content Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide to Simplifying Your Life.

Online Event Content: A New Conference Must-Have

These days, when someone looks for information, they go online. When a well-meaning salesperson tries to hand off a brochure or other printed piece, we have seen more people asking to be sent a link. Some still take a brochure, and a few may even read it, but for many others, doing research online is more efficient.

When you work with Omnipress to make your event content available online, potential attendees get a glimpse of the content before the conference. Seeing a preview might entice them to come. Finding valuable information about your event—not just a schedule and venue information, but content from actual planned sessions—couldn’t hurt, either.

During and after the event, online access to content is a valuable addition to printed proceedings. We have heard from our clients that tablets have become ubiquitous at recent meetings; just about every attendee carries a tablet, laptop, or smartphone, or even all three. Given the change in the tide that these digital appendages represent, it’s important for your association to remain relevant by making your event content accessible online. Attendees bring the devices along to better experience your event, not to spend time on Facebook. (Well … in addition to spending time on Facebook.)

When attendees and other professionals find event content online, they will see your association as a valuable resource in the industry. Going beyond simply having a registration site will show professionals in the field that your association “gets it,” realizing that the present and the future of content delivery is multi-faceted, including print, digital, and mobile resources. (Thanks to responsive design, Omnipress’ event websites appear appropriately on mobile devices.)

Capitalize on this opportunity to show your association for the innovative force that it is. Make event content available online to better serve your attendees, market your association, and extend the life of your conference.

Early Bird Gets the Content (First)

When is the best time to share event content with your attendees? No later than the beginning of the conference, of course, but why not before?

According to Samantha Whitehorne’s article (“Should Attendees Have Access to Show Content Before a Meeting?”) for Associations Now, there are good reasons to consider sharing information prior to an event. By giving attendees “optional homework,” associations give them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the concepts to be covered, making it easier to participate in a session.

If all content is new when presented at an event, attendees are likely to suffer from information overload. Whitehorne recommends conducting a survey to better understand what content attendees would prefer to receive before an event. When a little prep work is done, attendees are poised to be more engaged in learning onsite.

Can associations overshare content? How much is too much? Whitehorne suggests limiting the available content, so as not to inundate the attendee and tip the balance from welcome surprise to looming assignment. Those are good points, but I think attendees are capable of setting their own boundaries. Make the content available and let the individual choose how much to engage with conference materials before the event.

Omnipress makes it easy to share event content—before, during, and after an event. Start the process with our online abstract management system to collect papers and presentations. We’ve heard feedback that the system is streamlined and intuitive for submitters, reviewers, and association staff.

Once we have the content, it’s up to you how to distribute it to attendees. For early access, we recommend an event website, where handouts and papers can easily be found, thanks to robust search tools.

During the event, tablets are ubiquitous. This plays into two possible Omnipress products: the event website (which will appear correctly on a smartphone or tablet, thanks to its responsive design) or the mobile event app. With the app, attendees have access to the same content, as well as other tools, like a personal itinerary, GPS-enabled maps, and speaker profiles.

Many associations choose to migrate event content, a few weeks or months after the meeting, to a digital publishing platform. Creating a digital archive of association content, complete with full-text and faceted search, plus eCommerce capabilities to serve as a source of revenue, can benefit both the organization and members.

So we say go ahead—share your content before an event for better learning and engagement. We’re glad to be able to help you get the job done easily, with a single vendor, from collection to archive creation. Learn more about our complete suite of services by reading our whitepaper.

New Whitepaper: Your Biggest Event Content Management Challenges

In a recent survey, we asked you to identify the biggest challenges you face as you put on a conference or event. Survey says: You’re dealing with a lot of stressors!

This we knew, and it wasn’t a revelation to you, either. What you may not realize, though, is how Omnipress can help. Let me give you a few examples.

Collecting Speaker Information/Materials is a problem for 61.5% of respondents. Omnipress has a comprehensive Abstract and Speaker Management System that addresses some of the major challenges of collection and makes it easier for you to turn that content into high-quality outputs.

Taking Content Online was chosen as a major challenge by 37.7% of respondents. Posting a few PDFs online doesn’t fully realize an online archive concept. Without the ability to search, members will be lost. You’ll also miss out on the opportunity to be found by search engines like Google and Bing; PDFs are not indexed for searching. An event website from Omnipress solves both problems and takes the project off your plate.

Need more convincing that Omnipress can be your saving grace?

Download your free copy of our new whitepaper: The Cure for What Ails You: The Biggest Challenges of Managing Your Conference.

What do you think? Are these the challenges you face, too? What did we miss? How can we help? Let us know!

Personalized Itinerary: Building the Need-to-Be-There Feeling

Even if your event is still a ways off, members and potential attendees will want as much information about the sessions you have planned as you can provide. In addition to sheer curiosity, members are interested in session titles and speakers to begin planning.

Take this one step further and you’ll see the reason why Omnipress’ mobile conference app offers a personalized itinerary planner. Potential attendees can go beyond just reading about a session and planning to attend (in an abstract sense) to committing to a session, even if only to themselves.

The power of this intention should not be underestimated. In order for members to cross the line from reading about your conference to making plans to be there, something must tip the balance. It might be networking. It might be that the timing of the conference works well with a vacation opportunity. But it might also be that the sessions are so compelling that the cost, both monetary and time, is well worth it, considering the professional development potential.

When members start to build their own itinerary and hone their vision of what the event could really look like, excitement builds. This event is really going to help me learn more about X, the member will think. I can’t wait to hear Dr. B explain her views on Y. I’d better ask for time off to attend this conference; I need to be there.

Inspire your members’ “need to be there” feeling! Make sure your event website or mobile app includes not only program listings, but a personalized itinerary builder. When potential attendees can visualize being at your event, registration is just a small step away.

Embrace the Opportunity in Happy Accidents

Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” If you are ready to take on happy accidents when they occur, you can take advantage of opportunities you may never have had otherwise.

The world is full of examples of happy accidents, from one of the most important medical discoveries in history (penicillin) to a quirky invention (Velcro). Countless real-world examples, like missing the subway but meeting your future husband on the next one, show that mistakes sometimes work out. Get lost on a road trip and discover the place where locals really eat. Miss changing your clocks for Daylight Saving Time and come an hour early for a meeting, only to have a fascinating conversation with a stranger who made the same mistake.

In Steve Drake’s article on happy accidents, “Good Miss Could be Association Success Strategy,” he adds an association story to the list. Viewing these “problems” as wins-in-the-making is a positive way to approach your association—and your life. The failure-as-opportunity message seems tired because we need to be reminded that it’s true.

Next time you have a “good miss,” try wrapping your mind around it a different way. Focus on one potential problem in your organization and be pleasantly surprised when solving it leads to an improvement in another area, too.

For example, you might add a mobile event app and see an unexpected, unintentional increase in traffic to your event website. Offer an online class and see a spike in face-to-face class registrations.

Seize the opportunities that come along accidentally and capitalize on them. Add new content to your event website. Offer blended learning at in-person continuing education training.

What happy accidents have you seen in your career? Can you think of other historical examples, like corn flakes and the pacemaker? Once you see how many good misses turn into real innovations, you’ll have an easier time spotting them in your own life.