Meetings

Extra, Extra! Get Attendees to Read (or Watch) All About Your Conference

By / Jul 10, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Is a conference newspaper, blog, or news show the best way to cover your association’s convention? See how other associations are handling it.

We’re about four weeks out from the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, so to say our office is abuzz is an understatement. As for me, I’ve been busy putting together lineups, assigning articles, and coordinating delivery logistics for Daily Now, which is our meeting’s official conference newspaper that we deliver onsite three times. (If interested, you can peruse last year’s issues.)

Keeping your conference news to an electronic format like a blog can save your association money on printing and delivery costs.

This is my eighth time managing the project (Yikes, that makes me sound old!), so I like to think that I have the process pretty much down, but like anything else you work on, each year brings its own unique challenges.

But, since I am currently living in “conference newspaper land,” I started getting curious to see how other associations handle coverage of their meetings. While conference dailies are considered the traditional route—but one that attendees enjoy—I came across some other examples worth pointing out.

The camera’s on. Associations are always looking for new opportunities to take advantage of video. So capturing the energy of your conference via video and then pushing that out to attendees in lieu of—or in addition to—a conference daily is one route several associations are taking. For example, there’s the National School Boards Association, which captured daily video highlights of its 2015 Annual Conference. In addition, the National Association of Broadcasters posts its NAB Show Live! daily live stream throughout the course of the multiday conference.

Some associations even broadcast their video programming in attendees’ hotel rooms. For instance, during the American Urological Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting, AUA TV was broadcast daily throughout the convention center and on shuttle buses, as well as on 15 official hotel channels. Of course, some industries and meetings will make for more compelling video—think jewelry, sports, technology—but creativity can take any association far.

It’s all about that blog. I’ve asked the question before, “Does your conference need its own blog?” And, according to Google, the answer is “yes” for a fair number of associations. A blog gives attendees a behind-the-scenes perspective as your organization gears up for the meeting. You can get your members and attendees involved as guest bloggers, taking some of the burden off of your staff.

Speaking of enlisting members, the Newspaper Association of America recruits a seven-member student news team to handle live coverage of its mediaXchange conference—a great way to get the next generation of industry leaders involved.

Plus, keeping your conference news to an electronic format like a blog can save your association money on printing and delivery costs—something associations that are looking to trim back their budgets will appreciate.

Wrap it up. While associations may choose to deliver content in real time, others may wait until the end of the event and then send attendees a wrap-up of what happened. Or they may combine the latter effort with live coverage. Whatever way they go, a conference wrap-up email or article is a good way to remind attendees of the fun they had, share the success your association achieved during the meeting, and even recruit attendees for next year. Check out examples from the Urgent Care Association of America, Printing Industries of America, and Consumer Cooperative Management Association if you’re considering something similar. Or, you can take a cue from the American Libraries Association and do a wrap-up video. It produced a special one-hour episode of  American Libraries Live that streamed a few days after the conference.

How does your association deliver news to your conference attendees? Or, how do you prefer receiving conference news when you’re attending a meeting? Please share in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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