Archive for September, 2009

Using new media to make the most of your event

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

I’m looking forward to be presenting this Webinar again: How to use new media tools to make the most of your event. This online seminar is designed to answer many of your questions about conference podcasting, event promotion/marketing and so on. It’s designed for people who organize not only big conferences, but all-employee meetings, sales meetings and customer events too.

In this 45-minute Webinar on Thursday, October 29, 2009, at 2 p.m. Eastern time, we’ll talk about:

  • How to attract more attendees
  • How to maximize the value of presentations, speeches and interviews at your meeting
  • How to create audio and video content at your event so as to market your next event
  • Using social networks to build a community around your event
  • Gaining maximum communications value with minimal hassle

If you’re interested in this free Webinar, please send an email to Donna AT Trafcom DOT com or phone 1-888-877-4954 and we will forward the registration instructions. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection and a comfy chair.

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Help! Our IT department won’t support us

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

iStock_woman-says-stop-000008040982XSmallOver the past few years, I’ve heard this lament many times: “We really want to produce podcasts for our upcoming conference, but our IT Department says they won’t support us. What should we do?”

In a former life, I was a systems analyst, so I’m familiar with some of the workings behind the sometimes-mysterious doors of the IT world. There may be good reasons for not supporting your organization’s multimedia efforts, but I haven’t heard a valid one yet. As my friend Shel Holtz has noted (and I’m paraphrasing): “Has anyone ever said that we don’t have enough paper to print the company newsletter?” Of course not.

Let’s suppose that your IT Department won’t offer technical support for podcasting. Well, that’s OK, because your IT people probably aren’t podcasting experts in the first place. You can hire help or learn to do it yourself.

What if the IT gurus tell you that there isn’t one megabyte of storage space available to you. Here are some suggestions:

  • Host your audio or video files externally.
  • Build a microsite on WordPress for all the information and multimedia content about your conference. Link to this microsite from your organization’s main site.

Problems solved.

Have you run into roadblocks from the IT people? Please share your experiences in the comments section.

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Why take the time to edit your multimedia content? Think of your audience.

Monday, September 14th, 2009


It’s very tempting to record a slew of audio and video before or during your conference and just slap it up onto your Web site. Why is it so appealing? Because it’s so dead easy. Easy for you. But you’re putting  a burden on your audience by doing so.

Let’s put yourself in the shoes of the potential attendee, OK? He’ s thinking of registering for your All About Widgets conference, which is just 90 days away. So he sits down with a cup of coffee to listen to your pre-conference audio. And what does he hear?

  • Lots of introductory babble that adds zero value.
  • One speaker is very loud and the other speaker is barely audible.
  • An interview guest who is obviously very smart, but who starts every sentence with a big “Uuuuummmmm.”

How long do you think he’s going to sit there and listen?
Instead, what if you took the time to:

  • Edit out the Ums and Ahs.
  • Trimmed the useless introductory fluff.
  • Evened out the volume so that the sound levels are consistent.
  • And maybe added a high-energy call to action at the end, to encourage the listener to register, maybe with the added enticement of a promotion code?

Think about it. If you want your organization to appear professional, and to be aware of the needs of your audience, you’ll take the time to edit, edit, edit. My example is about audio, but the same rules apply to video. In fact, with video, you have even more to think about. We’ll cover video editing in a future post.

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How and why to podcast your conference

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


Over the last four years, I’ve produced conference podcasts for associations and corporations for both internal and external purposes. If you’re curious about whether podcasting your conference can be an effective way to communicate with your audience, please read on for some tips and insights. IN this blog I’ll be covering this topic extensively, but let’s begin with an overview.

What is a podcast anyway?
A podcast is a multimedia file that can be shared with others. A podcast can be audio or video.

How is a podcast different from any old downloadable audio?

The ability to subscribe is what makes a podcast special. After you create your podcast, you can publish it on your blog and/or Web site. You can also make it available on iTunes, YouTube and other locations, and your listeners can subscribe to your podcast for free.

How does a podcast subscription work?
You can subscribe to a podcast in a few different ways:

  • By email, if this is offered by the podcast producer. You simply enter your email address on the page, and the publisher notifies you whenever a new show is available.
  • Via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) using a feed reader such as Bloglines or Google Reader. Every time a new podcast is published, you automatically receive it.
  • Using the iTunes application (which works on Macs and PCs), you automatically receive new shows. You can also synchronize your iPod or other compatible MP3 player to load the new shows.

NOTE: You can certainly produce audio and video content from your conference that is NOT a podcast. As long as you know where you’re going to publish and position this content on your Web site, it doesn’t have to be a podcast.

How will I benefit from podcasting my conference?
Have you ever produced tapes or CDs of your conference proceedings? Do you remember what a headache it was to create and distribute them? With podcasts, you can easily make your content available on the Internet, saving time and money. Beyond saving, you’ll also be creating meaningful information products that can generate buzz before your event and add value afterward. Here are the main benefits of podcasting your conference:

  • By offering audio or video content from your most current conference, you can attract people to your next one.
  • You will educate prospects about your company, your products and your expertise.
  • You can reach a broad audience at a low cost.
  • You can make selected content available to your clients, prospects and employees who are not able to attend your conference but who still want your message.
  • By creating a Web site or blog to accompany your podcasts, you create a presence that is searchable by Google keywords, therefore expanding your reach on the Web.

Examples of conference podcasts
Pre-conference podcasts can increase interest and may stimulate registration numbers. By adding audio or video content to your Web site and linking to it in your emails and other marketing materials, you can entice potential attendees to check out what your conference has to offer. You can also take advantage of the power of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to link to your multimedia content and boost your pre-conference buzz even further.

Podcasts produced during the conference itself can capture some of the sessions and grab opinions from attendees too. You may decide to not offer all of your sessions as podcasts. In this case, you can produce “script and clip” podcasts, where you edit your original files down into bite-sized pieces, and add professional narration to tie it together. Think mini-documentary.

A roving reporter on your conference floor can capture all sorts of valuable multimedia content from speakers and attendees.

Of course all this wonderful content can be used to promote your next conference and to educate your employees who are unable to be at the conference.

Tips for successful conference podcasts

  • Start planning well in advance. You don’t want to rush this.
  • Decide on your goals: increase registration, create a lasting legacy of your event, build multimedia content for your intranet or Internet? Then define success for each goal.
  • Get a team together. Who’s going to conduct the interviews? Record? Edit? Publish?
  • Assemble your gear. At the very least, you’ll need portable digital recorders, microphones and computers loaded with editing software. For video, you’ll add cameras, tripods, lights.
  • Draw up a schedule of who’s doing what, when. Keep track of what’s been accomplished. Revise your schedule as needed.
  • Go with the flow. If the opening night reception is generating lots of cool discussion, try to grab some interviews right then and there, even if it’s not on your schedule.
  • Record as much in advance as possible. Script and record your introductory sections and closing sections in advance to save time.

Is this a do-it-yourself project?
You can certainly create your own podcasts if you have the skill and the equipment. Compare it to desktop publishing: Not everyone with a copy of InDesign can craft a beautiful newsletter. Ditto: Not everyone who owns Adobe Audition or Final Cut Pro can create a nice podcast with solid content.

Will podcasting my conference be expensive?
In a word, no. Add up all the dollars you’ve spent on organizing your event, printing up literature, marketing and advertising, and so on. The cost of podcasting your conference is the equivalent of a small fraction of your overall cost.

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Welcome to the blog!

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Welcome! What’s this blog all about? You may already know me from my Trafcom News Blog and Trafcom News Podcast, where I discuss communications tactics. In both of these vehicles, I’ve talked about conference podcasting, building buzz around events, and the use of audio, video and social media. Well, this new blog is a forum to explore these ideas more deeply. I hope you’ll be a part of the conversation. Please read, listen and watch, and let me know what you think. Add your ideas. Ask questions. Tell me when I’m wrong. Or right!

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