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?

How One Customer Uses Their Conference Content Website to Facilitate Note-Taking

Online conference materials are at their best when they complement—not duplicate—print. Online content is more prevalent and important than ever before, and that has impacted how associations provide content to their attendees. They expect online access to content, and associations understand that in order to meet the needs of their members, they must deliver online conference materials as well as printed ones.

As you think about how to approach a content website for your next annual meeting, take a cue from Angie Guy, Meeting and Events Manager with International Meeting Managers. She helps her clients in the medical field do more with their online conference materials.

Ms. Guy’s client works with Omnipress to take its conference materials online. She incorporates other tools into the website, like Survey Monkey, to make it easier for attendees to take post-session surveys so they can more easily collect and interpret the results. To make it simple to download multiple presentations without searching for a specific session, Ms. Guy had Omnipress connect a Download by Day button to a Dropbox account. When users click the button, all of the documents on the website from that day’s presentations—slide decks, handouts, and more—were automatically included in the download.

“It really helps to have the site available year-round,” she said. “Members like having more time to access the materials. For example, lots of attendees like to download or at least view the handouts before the conference.” The website also includes general information about the conference, like maps and registration information. “That cuts down on the number of calls and emails we get in the office,” Ms. Guy reported.

Taking notes online is another important benefit for attendees. “Even if I don’t have the handouts available to add to a session online, I add a placeholder so attendees can take notes,” Ms. Guy said. One year, one of her clients didn’t offer note-taking capabilities for their online materials, and there was considerable pushback from attendees. The association added note-taking back in the next year.

Online conference materials allow for last-minute additions. “If a change comes in so late that it can’t be included in the printed materials, it will definitely be included online.”

For more ideas on how online content can help your association do more, as it did for these associations, read our new white paper! Many thanks to International Meeting Managers’ Angie Guy for sharing her experience.

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