By Anthony Gaenzle published December 19, 2014

5 Ways to Get More ROI From Your Next Conference

Content-Creation-Conference-Conference attendance yields the obvious benefits of learning, lead generation, and sales, but a lot of companies miss the excellent opportunities for content creation and amplification. Similar to breaking news, conferences are current, are mentioned in numerous articles and other types of online content, and tend to generate popular search trends.

Creating content centered on the time leading up to the event, the actual days of the event itself, and even the wind-down period can lead to increased recognition, sharing, and many other sought-after benefits.

Here are five ideas to help you turn the next event you attend into an engaging content marketing series.

1. Expose your YouTube channel to the world

Studies show the average lead costs $22 less and conversion rates are 1.7% higher for video users than non video-users. For your video marketing to be effective, you need more views and subscribers for your YouTube channel. Popular events like conferences and trade shows can help you boost your YouTube numbers because they allow you to easily target an audience with which you have something in common.

Create a series of videos that focus on your team’s conference trips. Right now, you are probably having a minor panic attack thinking about your limited marketing budget and the need to buy video equipment, hire professional videographers, and recruit top-level on-screen talent.

Stop worrying. YouTube viewers are more likely to engage with content that’s authentic and doesn’t look like polished marketing or PR material. The only camera you need is the one on your smartphone, and the only on-screen talent you need is you as the narrator and attendees as the extras. Here’s an example of something simple:

I know what you are thinking: I missed my calling. I’ll start writing my Oscar™ acceptance speech later this week. In the meantime, I won’t quit my day job in case no one else catches my clearly superior acting abilities. All joking aside, I think you get my point. You don’t have to have an experienced video production staff to create engaging video content. Just be yourself and start filming.

These videos:

  • Introduce conference attendees and others to your brand
  • Show that your team is actively engaged in your industry
  • Direct more users to your YouTube channel so they learn more about you and seek your more sales-oriented content
  • Help in recruiting talent by showcasing fun travel opportunities available at your company
  • Brand your team members by highlighting their personalities and experiences

So before your 2015 conference tour schedule begins, get your team together and develop a video strategy. Get creative. Think about your goals and objectives, and plan accordingly. And make sure you keep your non-YouTube social media channels in mind when creating your video strategy.

2. Piggyback on the conference’s social media frenzy

Recruit followers who attend the same conferences. To make this happen, you’ll need to learn to piggyback on the social media efforts that will likely be orchestrated by the conference organizers. Determine:

  • What are your goals and objectives?
  • Who will maintain your social media efforts focused on the conference?
  • Will the team members in attendance post or will they send content to someone at the office, or both?
  • Are your team members aware of the conference’s hashtags?
  • How are you monitoring conference mentions?
  • What is your plan for joining the conversation?

Make sure your team is aware of the speakers, location, topics, and more, so they are ready to engage in conversations and connect with potential followers, as well as conference organizers.

Find out who is influencing the conversation by listening to all the conference-related chatter. Follow their accounts. Encourage them to follow you by talking directly to them, sharing their content, or crediting them in your posts. As long as you don’t come across as desperate or ignorant, your following will likely grow.

Make sure you include the conference hashtag in your posts or you’ll miss a lot of views and potential engagement. In addition, use the hashtag to search for others’ posts.

3. Showcase your blogging skills

Make sure you leave room on your content calendar for conference-related blog posts (and add your posts to your social media calendar). Lots of people will search on topics related to the events, and you can gain a share of the impressions and clicks.

Schedule a few posts before, one or two during, and a short series after the conference. You will have full coverage and create targeted content with relevant keywords that attract visitors to your site during the period when conference hype is at its highest point.

Here are a few topic suggestions during each period of the conference conversation:

Before:

  • Highlight your company’s attendance.
  • Have a speaker from your company write an article that teases the content being presented.
  • Highlight a few speakers whom you are excited to see.

During:

  • Write a short recap of each day of the conference.
  • Interview conference attendees about their experience.
  • Showcase some things that stand out about the host city.

After:

  • Share takeaways from the conference as a whole and about specific presentations.
  • Make predictions for the next year based on what you learned at the conference.

Use these ideas as a starting point to develop your own ideas tailored to your goals and the conference’s purpose.

4. Summarize keynote presentations visually

This one requires excellent note-taking skills combined with a talented graphic designer. After the note-taker returns and meets with the graphic designer, the two can break down the main points of a presentation into visually friendly chunks to create an infographic or slide show with minimal text.

GAENZLE - Graphic Keynote

Once the visual content is ready to go, share it on your social media channels, and don’t forget to mention the conference to encourage sharing. In addition, upload it to SlideShare.

5. Create a webinar interview series

Review the list of speakers and sessions on the conference’s website. Choose three or four topics that stand out and track down the presenters connected with those topics. If you can’t locate an email address for them, LinkedIn is a great way to connect. Just make sure you clearly state your intentions so that they don’t ignore your request to connect.

Although it may not be feasible for you to get a response from a keynote presenter like Kevin Spacey, many speakers are willing to take advantage of more opportunities to share their voice.

Set the dates for your pre-conference web series. Schedule one webinar per week, and try to schedule each session on the same day of the week to stay consistent.

Notify the conference organizers. Since you are actively promoting the speakers at their event, they likely will help promote your series.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t just rely on the conference organizers to promote the series. Send emails to your database and include in your newsletters.
  • Require an email address to register. Follow up with everyone afterward. Add the contact information to your CRM to maximize the value of the series by keeping in touch and turning some attendees into leads.
  • Create a hashtag for the series. Since it will happen over a few weeks, a dedicated hashtag could have time to gain popularity and become a trend, allowing your series to be found by more people.
  • Give viewers something to show your appreciation for their attendance. Offer a related white-paper download or another valuable piece of content.

Bang for your buck

Conferences typically come with a hefty price tag, so it’s important that you look beyond the surface value ROI. Content creation is the way to dig deep for more, long-term value from the conference and to enhance your existing content marketing strategy.

If you focus only on lead generation and learning, you’ll miss out on a lot. It’s hard enough to get approval for high-cost marketing expenditures like these, so why not add a few more ROI points?

Have you tried any of these content creation ideas, or have you tried others that worked? I’d love to read your opinions and ideas in the comments section.

Readying your conference content creation plan for 2015? Don’t forget to register for Content Marketing World here.

Cover image by tpsdave via pixabay

Author: Anthony Gaenzle

As founder and lead strategist at AG Integrated Marketing Strategists, Anthony Gaenzle works with businesses by helping them develop and implement effective marketing strategies that help bridge the gap between their digital and traditional marketing. He works across a variety of industries and has a wide range of expertise, including content marketing, SEO, graphic design, social media, and strategy creation. Anthony has an MS in Marketing from the University of South Florida and is currently pursuing an MBA from Clemson University. Follow Anthony on Twitter.

Other posts by Anthony Gaenzle

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  • Emmett Hughes

    Anthony,

    Thanks for the awesome tips. We do maybe 3 out of 5 of these currently – I feel as though the youtube channel is the toughest one for us. What are your thoughts on using Instagram as a vehicle for short videos?

    Thanks in advance for you response!

    Emmett

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Emmett, YouTube can definitely be tricky, but the return can be really great if you invest time in creating videos that viewers want to check out and share. I think Instagram is a valuable platform as well, but you’ve got to make sure your audience is there. Instagram and Vine tend to capture the attention of a different audience than YouTube, at least to some extent.

  • TinaEWestgate
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  • John Meyer

    Great article. It is also important to leverage the lists you get at conferences and invite to future events in their area as wellas webinars as you point out.

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Definitely true, although you would typically need to be a sponsor or exhibitor to obtain a list. Attendees usually won’t receive them. If, however, you are able to obtain a list, it’s definitely important to have a follow up strategy. Webinars are great, and something as simple as adding the contacts to your newsletter can be effective as well. It’s also critical that you collaborate with your business development team to ensure that they are following up. Great point, John. Thanks!

  • CustomNEWS, Inc.

    We’re in the business of conference newspapers – your post is spot on! I’m constantly trying to start the discussion of how generating editorial, video and photos from a conference is a ROI — and can drive content strategy for the next 12 months! It also helps show those not in attendance what they missed!

    • http://www.enveritasgroup.com anthonygaenzle

      Too often, companies look at conference ROI as strictly being lead related. Glad to see that you work for a forward thinking organization that understands all the other potential that exists within these types of efforts.