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Matching, curating, and filtering content for relevance and longevity
The 7 AMPLIFY elements aren’t actually chronological. Rather, they can be grouped topically for discussion and context. The first grouping we’ll address — Align, Leverage, and Focus — are all about matching, curating, and filtering content.
ALIGN: Tie one or more session tracks to your org’s strategic plan and enlist your marketing and communication teams in promoting the aligned content before AND after the event.
How to begin:
Become a student of the desired outcomes and supporting motivations behind your organization’s strategic plan. Think about how your organization’s mission statement relates to the strategic plan and convene a lunch meeting or other gathering to learn more about the conversations and discussions that resulted in the final elements of the plan. Your goal is to gain perspective on the role that the capture of conference/event content and resources can play in advancing these strategic outcomes.
Conversations to have:
Education Team: what are they doing now and/or in the future that could be (or should be) tracks at your conference/event? Not all education divisions have representation on conference program committees, even though that is usually logical and desirable! If not, the meetings professional can play a role in convening the related parties and starting the conversation.
Marketing Team: This is a terrific opportunity to talk with MarCom about what you are trying to accomplish. You can bet that they will be very excited to hear that you are taking time to help them do their jobs proactively. A primary complaint among association MarCom folks is that they are always trying to react to things coming their way, rather than being a part of crafting offerings from the beginning. Scoring points with MarCom is always great! Tell them you’re working with the education group to create program alignment, and that you want to ensure that the content generated at the conference lines up. Finally, ask them loads of questions about their planned campaigns for conference promotion and promotion of your org’s education offerings and other products. Their answers will inform, among other things, the formats in which you collect content. Compare their promotional timelines with your conference timelines and see where you can tweak things to create efficiencies.
Timeline: This part is hard, and you might even need to give yourself 2+ cycles to really gain alignment. What you want is to be able to sell your education team on the idea that at least one of the session tracks of your conference should align with the strategic plan. This might mean beginning as much as 18–24 months out from your conference, depending on when you issue your Call for Proposals. You also want to be sure that MarCom has time to develop campaigns that align the conference track offerings with their promotion of the organization and other offerings. Don’t freak out if this doesn’t happen overnight. Keep your eye on the prize and carry on!
Result: If you are successful, you’ve developed a content curation strategy in concert with your education group that ensures that at least some of the content you have potential to collect at your event is strategically aligned with your org’s strategic plan and mission. This gives it weight, correlation, and best of all…authenticity. It is now more likely to be “connectable” to future products and services. It’s also more valuable to your members and attendees. And, you’ve given your MarCom group the ability to actively and effectively promote that alignment in a way that brings greater authenticity to your organization overall.
Prepare to LEVERAGE: Ensure that you collect raw digital files as well as the post-production composite. This will allow your org to repurpose content and manipulate files for use in future promotions. (Psst…Not doing this is one of the primary reasons that digital content stagnates!)
How to begin: Review evaluations and needs assessment data to learn more about what your members want and need. Find out as many details as possible about their technology use patterns, devices used, bandwidth availability, preferred social media channels, etc.. Learn more about their traditional media use as well — do they still read your org’s journal and other publications? How old are your current member/participants and how actively is your org recruiting younger members? Discover everything you can about who you are going to reach with your awesome content — this will tell you a lot about the formats you need to have in place to serve them.
Conversations to have:
MarCom: Straightaway, MarCom is your closest ally in the content repurposing business. They are the ones who will be responsible for pushing teasers out into your marketplace and drawing attention to your content. There is endlessly great content out in the world, but most of it goes unknown because of lack of exposure. Help the MarCom team expose the world to your content by teaming up with them and gathering your goods in formats they are ready to push. They also have their arms around products and services coming out of other divisions within your organization and should be able to draw parallels between offerings.
Your Technical/AV/IT team: The form of this team can vary a lot from org to org. It’s common to have one group responsible for managing in-house IT and resources, and more than one group onsite responsible for capturing, processing, and archiving active content. While you don’t have to always talk to all parties at the same time, you will definitely want to talk to all parties at some point — usually more than once! What you are looking for from the in-house IT group are details about storage capacity, server options, bandwidth, in-house processing capabilities for repurposing, general project load, and priorities (alignment with the strategic plan and executive support can really help here!). The onsite team will moderate your expectations and should ask you lots of questions about how you want to use your content in the future. They will help you know whether there are technical limitations to your collection plan and will also help you communicate parameters to your presenters and MarCom.
Both technical teams need to have the info you’ve collected from the MarCom team and their social media/outreach strategy. You might even convene a small group of representatives from all teams.
Result: Excellent ways to repurpose and leverage your conference content are to bundle it with other offerings from your organization. If you have an online journal and one of your presenters has published an article related to their session topic, include a link in the article to the session archive. Have a member of your publications and/or MarCom team attend sessions strategically to document and record findings and attendee input/responses. In the moment, they can tweet key points and use them as a basis for executive interviews and/or press conferences. Later, they can write articles that tie back to the session AND give it longer life and greater relevance. Video and audio clips from your sessions can be extracted and used for promotional videos, to emphasize research points and build credibility, and to develop brand loyalty and tribal energy among your members. There are even tools now that let you embed them with annotations, comprehension quizzes, and more — thus making them great additions to your organization’s digital education portfolio. All of a sudden, your session archives become sources of industry commentary and year-round CONTENT. Cool!
FOCUS: Target collection efforts to sessions that are closely related to existing educational products and offerings. When sessions can be bundled with related journal articles, certifications, badges, webinars, books, and more, they are more likely to be valued by your members. Down the road, this paves the way for our favorite word…”monetization”!
How to begin: Focusing is another sequential step in your alignment and curation efforts. This is when you take a preliminary look at your final conference program and compare it with your organization’s product/service portfolio. This can be really valuable especially when you are just starting out with the alignment process and despite best efforts, you’re just not really very aligned yet. You have to start somewhere, and in the absence of much input from outside your event bubble, this is a functional jumping off point. Look at the strategic plan also, and see what you can learn about current projects and new things in the near field. In the end, only record/capture stuff that has a tie to products and services that exist or that are about to exist in the near future.
Conversations to have: Talk with MarCom, Education, and Membership groups about topical trends and desired campaigns. If your Membership group, for example, knows that a top concern for your members is an upcoming federal budgetary restriction AND you have one or more session addressing strategies for understanding and dealing with this restriction, you have slam-dunk relevance. If you also have a pending book, webinar, or journal article dealing with the same topic, you have a slam-dunk content bundle on your hands. MarCom can’t wait to join all these resources together in a single email or special offer.
Result: By focusing your attention and budget on only capturing assets that are immediately relevant to your audience and are aligned with your org’s existing and pending offerings, you are maximizing the value and life of your collected content.
What do you think? What’s your experience been with recording and capturing content in your association? Were you successful or did you hit roadblocks? Did you go to the next level and repurpose it in a meaningful way? Please feel free to comment below!