Motivate and make it stick!
As you know by now, the 7 AMPLIFY elements aren’t actually chronological. Rather, they can be grouped topically for discussion and context. This is the third and final grouping we’ll address — Motivate and Year-round— two facets of educating presenters about their role in creating sticky, evergreen content that’s ready to be repurposed.
Motivate: Get your presenters involved in the solution. Invite them to write related guest blog posts before and after your event. They can be the best promotional voice you have and elevate strategic topics in the minds of your members.
How to begin: “Inform” was nerdy-fun, but “Motivate” is PR-fun! Begin by setting the stage early with your presenters that you expect them to be promoters and contributors in addition to speakers. Include specific public language in your Call for Proposals, association newsletters, Facebook pages, etc. that draws attention to your intention to involve presenters in communicating with their peers and audiences about their content. Be so bold as to require them to write guest blog posts for your association newsletter or blog site. Get creative! You will be playing to the speakers’ ego a bit, but that never hurts. Your goal is to get your presenters excited and engaged in dialoging with your audience in advance of the event. Your attendees will in turn arrive at the session more engaged, and it’s very possible that the comments and dialogue that occurs in advance will shape the session itself. This interactivity makes the session more relevant to the audience and thus more authentic with a greater chance for real learning to take place.
Tools to use: Dig deep into your organization’s social media bag of tricks and start promoting. Get your program committee on board with providing coaching tips, online resources, tips and tricks handouts, and more. Create contests among your presenters, and facilitate pre-session webinars if the content warrants it. If it sounds like too much to manage or if your conference/event is really large, consider starting small and cherry-picking just a few of your key, spotlighted sessions for special feature.
Plan ahead with your MarCom group to carve out content blocks in the publications and campaigns they are running. If it’s awesome to have strategically aligned content for them to promote (see Post #1), it’s doubly awesome to have strategically aligned content that comes with an accompanying teaser written by the actual practitioner/presenter!
Result: In his Good to Great series, Jim Collins talks about the desirability of creating an organizational “flywheel” whereby “the additive effect of many small initiatives” creates unmistakable momentum. Motivating your speakers and presenters to become advocates for their ideas and achievements creates an opportunity for your organization to build credibility, authenticity, and status. It also generates content that extends over time and space, deepening relevance, reflecting feedback and criticism, and establishing a more lasting and traceable digital footprint.
Think YEAR-ROUND: Educate presenters about how to make their presentation content relevant and evergreen. Also give them tips and/or training about how presenting for the long-haul is different from presenting “just live.”
How to begin: Like “be Proactive,” “think Year-round” is an attitude and culture that you and your team can adopt. By asking the question, “how can we use this later,” you are actively focusing your intentions on doing so. Add “longevity” to your program committee’s list of criteria for determining which sessions to select. Ask yourselves whether there is a reportable action or conclusion that can come out of the session to which your organization can build on or link products/services.
Also, don’t forget to prepare your recorded speakers to present “beyond the room.” In addition to technical basics like preparing your meeting room to be recorded (with lighting, microphones, etc.), your presenters need to know that they will be recorded and that what they are presenting will be used in myriad ways later. Some presenters will object to this, by the way, so be prepared to forgo your recording if necessary. Or, build “willingness to be recorded” into your selection criteria. Those who will be recorded should adhere to the best practice of information chunking so that your post-production editors can create cleaner snippets and take-aways. Coach them to pause a beat or two after particularly meaningful or key concepts. This also creates a cleaner cut for future use. While you never want to distract from the natural flow of a session with gimmicks, you also never want to forget that good teaching often embodies good theater as well.
Finally, also ask presenters to help your technical teams capture key moments and points — have them provide the camera/production table with slide printouts, and star or highlight points they need to be sure to capture. As you can imagine, even the most professional crews space out from time to time or get up to go to the bathroom. Make sure that they get the good stuff!
Result: When you engage multiple minds in the process of thinking “evergreen,” the content you produce has a much greater chance of benefiting your organization. You will achieve an economy of effort that spins your flywheel faster and with greater, more lasting impact.
For many organizations, live events are their biggest opportunity to gather timely and relevant, expert-generated content. By thinking strategically from the outset about the life-cycle of this content, you will be able to provide your organization with resources that reach far beyond the meeting room walls.
What do you think? What’s your experience been with developing sticky content with evergreen potential? How difficult (or easy!) has it been for your organization to engage your presenters in your quest for relevant, aligned, “repurposeable” content? Were you successful or did you hit roadblocks? Please feel free to comment below!