Increase The Educational Value Of Your Event With Digital Content

How you deliver conference content to your attendees is changing. Thanks to on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, the idea of omnipresent content—content that is available whenever, wherever, and in the format that is most convenient—is now the expectation. Associations typically offer some form of digital access to event materials, but the idea of providing a single digital format is no longer enough to provide attendees with the user experience they expect.

Feedback from attendees is prompting associations to look for ways to meet these new expectations. Rather than choosing one format, offer your attendees access to a variety of digital content to create a seamless, accessible experience that can heighten the educational value of your event.

Different digital format provide different benefits

It’s common for conference professionals to assume all digital conference products provide the same features, benefits and experiences. In reality, online conference proceedings, mobile apps and USB drives each bring their own unique set of benefits to your conference attendees.

Online Conference Proceedings

Online conference proceedings make conference materials accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Attendees can easily search by session, track and speaker to select the material that interests them prior to the conference.

With online conference proceedings, you can offer a preview of your event’s sessions. These previews can help people decide whether or not they want to attend your conference based on tangible examples of the information you provide. And, by hosting all of these items in one central location, you create a great online resource for attendees to return to after the conference has ended.

Conference App

A conference app is best for portability and on-site information. Your conference attendees can use your mobile app to navigate around the conference using GPS technology, maps and can build their own personal schedule that fits right into their pocket.

Apps also help drive engagement during your conference. Features like live polling, social timelines and direct messaging between attendees and speakers facilitate one of the main reasons your attendees come to your conference year after year: networking.

USB Drive

Relying on the venue’s WiFi is never a good idea, which is why USB drives are great for storing conference materials. The devices are small and easy to carry, especially when they are stored in unique shapes or useful objects like pens and keychains.

One of the biggest perks of USBs is that they make it convenient to access information. While web addresses might be easily forgotten, a physical keychain or item on your attendee’s desk at work will remind them of your association, conference and the information they learned from you.

Why you need a comprehensive approach

Since each digital format has its own set of unique benefits, using multiple options at your event will give attendees the most flexibility in how they engage with your materials. Don’t think of them as a replacement for each other, but rather think about how each option fills a different role in creating a seamless educational experience.

Here are a few examples to illustrate why your conference should offer a comprehensive mix of digital content formats.

Scenario 1

John is interested in attending your conference and goes online to find example conference materials to get a better idea of what your association offers. When he sees your conference proceeding sneak peeks, he registers and uses the online conference proceedings to figure out which sessions he wants to attend. When the day of the conference arrives, John wants to reference the conference materials, but cannot access the venue’s WiFi. Fortunately, he can still pull up materials using the USB keychain you provided at check-in.

Scenario 2

Mary likes to be able to reference conference materials during break-out sessions, but does not want to be weighed down by her laptop all day during your event. Instead, she accesses the conference materials available through your mobile app. During breaks, she also uses the app to post about her experiences on the social timeline and sends a question to a speaker she didn’t get the opportunity to speak with. After the conference is over, Mary deletes the app to free up space on her phone, but is able to log onto your online conference library to reinforce the information she learned at the event.

Scenario 3

Susan is traveling from out of state to your conference and is uneasy about being in a new city. Fortunately, she has downloaded your mobile app, which provides her with GPS directions to the event location and helps her navigate the city during lunch and breaks. However, she finds it difficult to find the exact conference paper she’s looking for on her small phone screen, so she pulls out her laptop and uses the USB your association provided to access and search the materials to find the paper she is looking for.

Give your attendees the format freedom they desire

Providing content in multiple formats can be a challenge if you don’t have a strategy for managing them. One common pitfall is keeping data updated and consistent in multiple places as your content changes. The best way to avoid a data gap is to create a single source of record that is always up to date.

Updating content in multiple places and coordinating with multiple vendors is another scenario that can make managing multiple formats difficult, so consider working with a single vendor that offers all the formats you need.

By offering digital content in a variety of formats you’ll give your attendees the freedom to access materials whenever and wherever they want. All of the digital formats work together to increase the educational value of your event and create a top-notch conference experience.

 

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.

These Are The Opportunities That Event Sponsors Love

 

Associations are always on the lookout for event sponsors that can help defer some of the expense that goes into the annual conference. And, as luck would have it, businesses in your industry are looking for a cost-effective way to communicate with the attendees at your event. Offering a variety of conference materials at your event is one of the best ways to create the in-demand sponsorship opportunities that these businesses are willing to pay for.

Conference materials like printed program guides, USB flash drives, online conference materials and mobile apps provide opportunities for sponsors to connect with the attendees at your event. View the image below to learn which types of sponsorship opportunities each of these materials provide, along with the benefits they offer to your event sponsors.

 

Turn Conference Materials into Conference Revenue

 

From the Graphic

Title: Turn Conference Materials into Conference Revenue

Sponsorships can have a huge impact on your event’s bottom line. Make sure you know all your options when you talk with potential sponsors!

USBs

Location: Logo Directly on Device Case

Benefit to your sponsors: Provide branding opportunities that last long after the event ends

Print

Location: Inside cover of program guide

Benefit to your sponsors: Attention-grabbing image in a high visibility location

Location: Ads in on-site program guides

Benefit to your sponsors: Promote messages to targeted audience at the event

Mobile App

Location: Activity Feed

Benefit to your sponsors: Creates opportunity for interaction with brand

Location: Push Notification

Benefit to your sponsors: Enables ability to reach every attendee with the app

Location: Sponsor Listing Page

Benefit to your sponsors: Provides recognition for making your event a reality

Online Content Library

Location: Above the site banner

Benefit to your sponsors: Ad can be viewed year-round

Location: Next to content

Benefit to your sponsors: Provide direct link to sponsor’s website

For more ideas on how to turn your conference materials into conference revenue, talk with us today! justask@omnipress.com

3 Myth-Busting Facts to Challenge How you Think About USB Drives

 

Ah… trusty USB drives. A conference staple for oh-so-many years now. Having used them for so long, you may not think there is anything new to learn when it comes to what they have to offer. And you may be right… unless… what if everything you THOUGHT you knew about them was a myth?!

That’s right–there are some common misconceptions about USB drives and the value they provide. In an effort to set the record straight, here are three areas where common knowledge is not necessarily based in fact.

 

Myth #1: USBs are nothing more than PDF files on a flash drive

Fact: USB drives can be programmed to function like an offline website

USB drives are more than a convenient way to store files. Putting your conference content on a USB means that your attendees will have access to your valuable materials through a familiar, web-like interface.

And, just as your attendees would expect from a well-designed website, the materials included on USB drives are searchable by keyword. This allows quick access to all the handouts, papers and abstracts from your conference long after your final session.

Myth #2: USB drives do not make for interesting giveaways for conference attendees

Fact: USB drives come in a dizzying array of styles that can add a fun and memorable element to your welcome kit

The standard USB drive is no longer the only game in town. Including a USB drive in a slap bracelet, pen or business card are sure to not only get your drive noticed, but used. Heck, you can even find USB drives on the end of working flashlights now (a giveaway that’s sure to light up your attendees’ faces with a smile)!

Being a member of your association is a point of pride for members. So, branding the case of a USB drive with your logo makes it an instant value-added take-home piece for your attendees. It also serves as a physical reminder of the value they receive from your association and conference.

Myth #3: USBs are good for distributing files but provide little other value

Fact: The web-like interface on a USB creates additional opportunities to reinforce your conference branding and generate revenue through sponsorships

The branding potential of a USB does not stop on the outside of the device. Having a web-like interface means that the same branding opportunities that exist on your conference website extend to the USB interface, as well. A customized USB interface can act as an extension of your conference website and gives you another outlet to showcase the materials you created for the conference.

Similar to your conference website, the interface of a USB drive provides space for advertisements. Take advantage of this unique ability to communicate exclusively to your conference attendees! Leverage cross-promotional opportunities by using this area of the interface to advertise other events or materials that your association offers.

And, just like traditional banner ads, you can use these areas of the interface to serve as revenue generators. Sponsors will be interested in the opportunity to advertise their relevant offerings to a well-defined target audience. Offer specific pricing for ads that are included on the USB drive, or bundle them along with your other conference sponsorship opportunities. This creates an additional incentive for sponsors to support your conference.

Conclusion

Conference attendees have been receiving USB drives for years. What started as a way to allow access to conference materials without having to rely on spotty or expensive Wi-Fi at the conference location has turned into an integral part of the way conference content is delivered. The familiar web-like interface combined with robust search capabilities provides easy access to your valuable materials from anywhere a computer can be used.

The sheer variety of USB styles that are available now means your conference has an affordable way to present conference attendees with a unique reminder of your conference, and the quality materials they receive as a result of attending. And with the opportunity to brand the drive inside and out, a USB drive remains a valuable way for your association to increase your brand recognition and stay top of mind all year long.

Learn How One Association Takes Its Online Content Beyond the Conference

The International Wire and Cable Symposium (IWCS) understands how important technology and innovation are to its members, which is why the association has embraced digital options in addition to the traditional print offerings to deliver conference content to its attendees.

IWCS also realized that each digital format is a separate entity, and attendees use each to accomplish different things. An app isn’t simply a digital version of a printed program; it’s a different animal altogether, with its own purposes and strengths. Considering these points, IWCS wanted to make their conference materials available in a wide variety of formats.

IWCS offers content from its annual meeting in print, on a conference content website, on a USB, and through a mobile app. The association also uses an online abstract management system for collection and review.

The conference content website is a cornerstone IWCS’ digital strategy. As a result of taking its conference content online, IWCS accomplished these worthy goals.

Strengthened academic relationships
Members of the academic community must “publish or perish,” and a digital publishing platform makes it easier for professionals to gain exposure. Space is much less limited online than it is in a printed book of proceedings. Since IWCS added online conference materials to its content offerings, academic participation has skyrocketed.

Extended the lifecycle of the conferenceOnline content can be accessed by search engines, which increased IWCS’ online visibility. Not only could attendees easily find the content they needed, but others in the industry could find conference materials as well. Prospective members and attendees could access IWCS’ high-quality, well-vetted content, which could give them just the push they need to join the association or register for the conference.

Learn more about how IWCS took its content digital—read the case study! For more tips on using your online conference materials to meet your association’s goal, download our whitepaper Tap Into The Full Potential of Your Online Conference Materials

7 Things to Consider When Choosing Conference Giveaways

Choosing useful, effective conference giveaways that provide value and fill a need for attendees is a tall order. There’s no limit to the options available; your inbox is likely full of marketing messages from companies selling promotional items. And let’s face it—95% of them are junk. Keep your association’s educational objectives in mind as you search for items to fill that goody bag.

Here are seven qualities to think about when choosing conference giveaways:

  1. Relevant: Does the item help creatively communicate the value your association or the sponsor brings to the attendee? Don’t give out a widget for a widget’s sake! Make sure it helps to support your key messages.
  2. Portable: This may be common sense, but it’s good to keep this consideration top-of-mind. Can attendees take the giveaway home without trouble, or will it take up valuable real estate in their carry-on?
  3. Branded: Increased awareness of your association’s brand is a major factor when choosing a conference giveaway. If the item can’t bear a legible logo, what’s the point?
  4. Sponsorship opportunity: Sponsors are always looking for useful ways to contribute to your event. Choose a giveaway that lets you promote your sponsors, too.
  5. Cost-effective: Some relevant, portable, memorable giveaways might be perfect for meeting those needs…but don’t pass muster for staying within your budget. If sponsorship can’t help out, you may have to make another choice.
  6. Intriguing: Take a risk and try something new and creative! The gold standard is a clever giveaway that provides value beyond the first week or two after the conference.
  7. Usable: Think about how attendees would use your giveaway. Will it live on their desk, often in sight and in mind? Or will it get a few uses for the fun of it and then live out its days in the bottom drawer? Novelty will only get you so far.

Your association stands for professional development and lifelong learning. Why not support your mission with a giveaway that checks all of the boxes and provides attendees with access to conference content?

USBs fit the bill. Conference content is relevant to attendees. A flash drive is portable, even if a novel style like a slap band is used. USBs provide ample space for branding and are attractive giveaways to sponsors. Custom options are memorable and intriguing, offering initial excitement and lasting value. And, compared to other trinkets that won’t make it home with attendees, the per-unit cost is affordable.

Curious how USBs could work as a giveaway at your association’s next meeting? Contact us to start the conversation and request a sample!

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!

USB Types: Custom, Clever, Cost-Effective

 

Over the past few months, we’ve shown you different custom options for USBs. We’ve heard from you that these ideas are, to put it plainly, super cool. You won’t hear any arguments from us!

Custom USBs are clever, creative giveaways that will make attendees chuckle. Later, when the device actually makes it home from the annual meeting and is inserted into an office computer (!), it will make them think, too. And that’s the real point of delivering content on a USB.

So we’ve established that custom USBs are great and attendees may actually use them to learn and further their careers. Excellent!

USBs are great sponsor opportunities, but sometimes, the association itself is put in the position of paying for flash drives themselves. That means that clever options, while the most fun, are not be the most affordable. This struggle is real; sometimes, you have to deliver the best you can, even if it’s not the best there is.

Never fear! We have other types of USBs that are useful and still somewhat clever, while remaining more budget-friendly.

  • Card-style: Easy for attendees to carry around in the pockets, purses, or wallets.
  • Pen-style: A crowd favorite! It’s a pen and a USB. So useful!
  • Keychain: Attendees can keep their car keys and conference content, all in one package.
  • Swivel: The gold standard for protecting content and saving space in your carry-on.
  • Capped: Prevent damage to the valuable files on the USB with a fitted, protective cap.

A quote to sum up: Shoot for the moon (custom USBs to match your association’s industry and/or conference theme)! Even if you miss (i.e. you don’t have the budget or sponsors to pay for the best option), you’ll land among the stars (a pretty cool type of USB).

Whew! Thanks for following along with that twisty metaphor. Point is, there are affordable options if you want to provide USBs to your attendees. Want to see one for yourself? Request a sample!

Got a Fall Conference? Count on Omnipress to Handle Your Last-Minute Needs!

Does your association hold a fall conference? We have found that October and November are among the busiest months for annual meetings, though many take place in September as well.

So, not to bring up a sore subject, but how is it going putting together conference content for the fall meeting? Do you have a printer set up? Are you planning to give away USBs, but haven’t chosen a vendor yet? Are you going to offer an app this year?

I’m sure you need no reminder that this is crunch time. What I’d like to offer is a solution to your conference content woes: a company of people who work as hard as you do.

Omnipress turns around projects so fast, you’ll wonder why you ever chose a different provider. We can’t make any promises until we hear the details of your situation, but if you need it yesterday, odds are that Omnipress can make it happen.

What do we do especially fast? So glad you asked!

  • Conference printing: Got print-ready PDFs of your conference materials? We can get them on press and out the door to your meeting site in days. Let us show you where quality and quickness intersect.
  • USBs & CDs: Our duplication software makes quick work of creating physical digital goods for your meeting’s goodie bag. Reach out to us today to get the ball rolling!
  • Conference apps: Our proposal cites a lead time of 4-6 weeks for apps, but we’ve been known to get them ready faster, if we expedite the approval process. If you are looking to add an app this year but fear it’s too late, give us a call. There may still be time to get it done for you, to your attendees’ delight.

Online conference materials and abstract management usually require longer lead times. You’re probably all set for them this year, if you used them.

But what about next year? If Omnipress customer service and responsiveness impressed you on a fall conference program, just imagine how easy the whole process could be if you worked with us from start to finish.

If your conference is right around the corner and you need help ASAP, consider Omnipress your saving grace. We have served other associations that were under tight deadlines and surpassed their expectations.

We would love to do the same for you.

 

7 Reasons USBs Should Make an Appearance at Your Next Conference

There are so many options available to associations for getting conference content in the hands of attendees, it’s hard to choose which one to use for your next conference. Optimally, you’d offer as many options as your budget allows and work with one vendor to provide all of them.

In the real world, you run into issues at every step and sometimes it’s just not possible to get it all done, whether you’re managing four vendors or just one. Budgets may not be quite as tight as they were in recent years, but your association could hardly be considered flush, either.

USBs might not be the first solution that comes to mind, but maybe they should be. In some ways, USBs represent the perfect middle ground for meeting planners. Besides which, they may even pay for themselves at your next conference!

  1. USBs can be used offline. Even with the recent FCC ruling that blocking WiFi isn’t allowed, signals can be unreliable and/or expensive on site. The option of plugging in a USB, which work with many tablets in addition to laptops (though adapters may be needed), and getting to work is attractive to many attendees.
  2. USBs are portable and convenient. As readers of the blog are well aware, I’m fond of reading print. But everything has its time and place, and carry-on bags are only so big. USBs are tiny, compared to the average conference program.
  3. USBs open up content possibilities. In addition to giving attendees access to abstracts, handouts, and presentations, USBs are conducive to other types of content, including videos, audio files, and websites. Include all relevant content on your USB and it becomes that much more valuable.
  4. USBs play nice with online materials. When you work with Omnipress to offer your attendees USBs, you’ll also get a companion website that users can access when connectivity isn’t an issue. The USB and website are built to work together, so users won’t feel lost or confused moving between the two.
  5. USBs are easily searchable. Content is well-organized. If your attendees can’t find what they need by navigating, the search capabilities can help them locate the right file.
  6. USBs are brandable. Got a logo for your association? Of course you do! For your conference? Probably. Get it printed on your USBs to expand your brand!
  7. USBs are attractive to sponsors. You couldn’t put on your conference without help from sponsors. Many of them want to provide more than money. Ask an organization to sponsor USBs, a tangible, educational giveaway that can carry their logo. You’ll see some sponsors raise their hands!

For these reasons and more, USBs continue to be a viable option for conference content delivery. Custom designs make them fun and memorable, too! Reach out to us to learn more about how USBs can make a difference at your next conference.

On Second Thought: Reconsidering USBs & CDs

You know the basics of giving your attendees a USB or CD filled with conference content. Providing a useful giveaway that spurs learning and deeper engagement with the content shows that your association is committed to member education. Attendees appreciate the ability to access digital content, even when WiFi is spotty or expensive, as it so often is at convention centers and hotels.

You know how important it is that a USB or CD be well-organized and easy to navigate. Robust search capabilities make it easy for attendees to find the files they need.

You may even know that several options are available for USBs, including a pen-style version and several custom options, like an ear of corn, a tube of lipstick, and even a slap-band bracelet. Many packing options are available, like inserts to a 3-ring binder to deliver CDs and a plastic case to protect a USB.

A CD or USB filled with conference content also extends your brand. The logo of your association and/or the annual meeting can be printed on the CD or USB, reminding attendees of your association and its educational benefits every time they use it.

Besides all of these advantages to using physical digital media for your conference, many of which you may already know, there’s one more great reason to add a CD or USB to your conference content planning—a companion website comes with it!

The same search capabilities your attendees enjoyed offline can be used online when internet access is reliable. The format and structure of the companion site looks and feels like the navigation of the USB or CD, which helps attendees bridge the gap between the two.

You know a lot about offering USBs and CDs to your conference attendees, but when was the last time you considered doing it? Maybe it’s time to rethink physical digital media as a viable and valuable choice for your association’s conference content.

No WiFi? No Problem—Your Attendees Are Covered

How reliable do you expect the WiFi will be at the venue for your association’s next annual meeting? No matter what the event coordinator tells you, the likelihood of you not getting any complaints from attendees is close to zero.

Attendees will want to read abstracts and papers while they’re onsite, though, and unreliable WiFi at the venue shouldn’t stop them from doing that. Printed programs are a good alternative. But some attendees are starting to insist on digital resources. What’s a conference planner to do?

Physical digital mediaCDs, DVDs and USBs—provide electronic access to conference content and don’t rely on internet connectivity. If an attendee wants to read a paper in advance of tomorrow morning’s keynote but doesn’t want to spring for (frightfully expensive) in-room internet access in their hotel room, a USB drive is the perfect digital alternative to providing online access to conference content.

Conference apps are perfect for many attendee needs—easy access to a personalized itinerary, GPS-enabled maps to help them get around and connections with other attendees, exhibitors and association staff. But reading technical papers on a small screen, while doable in a pinch, isn’t exactly an optimal experience. In fact, any of the other options—USBs, CDs, online conference materials or print—would work better than an app for reading abstracts.

When you think through the attendee’s typical conference experience, the need for physical digital media becomes abundantly clear. CDs, DVDs and USBs offer useful features, like advanced search capabilities, that make them enviable giveaways. Add to that the valuable branding opportunity and you’ve got a winning combination of swag and content delivery that resonates with attendees.

To keep your message consistent across platforms, you can add a companion site to your CD, DVD or USB. When attendees return from your annual meeting, they can access your conference content online from their office desktop and review abstracts and papers to their hearts’ content.

Consider all aspects of your attendees’ conference experience when you think about how to deliver your conference content. Give them as many avenues to the content as you can, keeping in mind that internet access may be spotty at best. Remember the joy of getting a freebie that you’d actually use again, like CDs and USBs. Any method of getting your association’s conference content to attendees is a worthy investment.