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10 Conference Hacks to Help You Crush Marketing Event Attendance

In my career as a marketer, I have attended more events and conferences than I can count. Events (especially those that span multiple days) are filled with so much information and it can quickly become overwhelming. By the second day you may feel that your brain is bulging with new information and you can’t possibly retain what you’ve learned.

Early on when I started working for TopRank Marketing, our CEO Lee Odden gave me a crash course on making the most of attending an event. His experience attending and speaking at events was an incredibly valuable resource for someone like me that wanted to take advantage of the awesome opportunity to attend events.

Below you’ll find some of my top tips for nailing event attendance whether you’re going with a team or flying solo. Hopefully the insights that I’ve been able to provide based on my own experience can help you get the most out of any marketing event you attend, large or small.

#1 – Make A Schedule

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone on the plane that is attending the same conference that I am. One of the questions I always ask is which sessions they’re most excited about attending.

More often than not, they haven’t even looked at the event schedule and have no idea which sessions they’ll spend their time in.

If you don’t plan your sessions out beforehand you may miss out on some stellar sessions. Also, you’ll often find that you may miss sessions you want to see if you haven’t mapped out your day and considered how long it will take you to get from one session to the next. Some events even encourage attendees to register for specific sentences prior to the event and if you don’t, the sessions may be full and you’ll miss out.

#2 – Pack The Essentials

Event days are long. To make sure that you get the most out of the experience, it’s important to pack the essentials for your trip.

Between your laptop, your phone and any other devices you bring, you’ll use a lot of battery life at an event. I mean, A LOT. Make sure that you have all of your charging cords and some spare batteries packed and ready to go. Also, take advantage of the stops in your hotel room to charge your tech. Not all event rooms have charging stations and the last thing you want to do is inhibit your ability to capture information because your computer or phone dies.

While many events offer apps for connecting with other attendees, be sure to pack extra business cards for those passing moments when it makes sense to swap information.

#3 – Use the Conference Hashtag

The vast majority of events will share a hashtag for attendees to use on Twitter. The hashtag can typically be found on the conference website.

Before the event, you can use the hashtag to let others know that you will be attending. Following and interacting on Twitter prior to the event is a great way to begin getting to know your fellow attendees. It’s also a great way to set up plans to meet people in-real-life that you’ve been connected to online for years.

While you’re at the event, follow and use the hashtag to gain insights into sessions you can’t attend and share your POV.

#4 – Attend Networking Events

In order to get the most out of an event, it’s important to find “your people”. Most events offer a variety of networking opportunities during the day and in the evening. So instead of eating your lunch in a corner or snacking on pretzels in your room for dinner, make the steps to put yourself out there and connect with other marketers.

One of the biggest benefits of attending a conference is making real-world connections with other people who have shared interests and struggles that you can learn from.

#5 – Create Killer Content

If our team members are attending an event, you can bet that we will be taking advantage of the many content opportunities that exist in that setting. When many marketers are struggling to create a quantity of quality content, events can give your content a great boost.

Live blogging sessions has become a staple of our event strategy and provides a multitude of benefits including sharing great insights with your online community that could not attend, coverage of sessions other attendees could not be present for and a chance to connect with the speakers whose sessions you covered.

Events are also prime for co-creating video content with influencers and experts. In fact, if you plan and network appropriately you could capture enough video interviews to extend over several months.  

#6 – Sit Front & Center

It can be tempting to grab the seat in the back of the room with extra space for all of your items. But DON’T! Instead, get there early and grab a seat in the front of the room.

Often the speaker will be there early engaging with people in the front of the room so you can take the opportunity to introduce yourself to them and the other people around you.Also, if you plan on taking any photos for content you’re creating, sitting in the back won’t do you any favors!

#7 – Participate in Session Q&A

One of my most terrifying moments at a conference was the first time I stood up, walked to the mic and asked the speaker a question during the q&a portion of a session. While it might not be in your comfort zone, asking questions is another great way to get real answers to your top questions and connect with other attendees.

#8 – Introduce Yourself to the Speaker

If you didn’t have a chance to meet the speaker before their session, stick around after and introduce yourself. If you didn’t feel comfortable asking a question in front of the whole group, now is your time.

Many speakers will also share their slides with you (if you ask nicely) which can be a fantastic resource for live blogging or taking information back to your team.

#9 – Browse The Exhibit Hall

If you are a fan of brand swag, visiting the exhibit hall is a no brainer. But, the hall also offers an opportunity to interact with potential partners, platforms and prospects.

At some events, the exhibit hall can be overwhelming, so you may want to visit a few times to make sure that you see everything and everyone that makes sense for your business. Just know that many of the people working at booths are business development employees so they will try their hardest to show you the benefits of their product or service and sign you up for contact after the event.

Be careful where you leave your business card because they will follow up post-event.

#10 – Share What You Learned

If you take good notes during an event, don’t keep it to yourself! Find an informal or formal way to share a download of what you experienced with your team once you return home.

Typically, our team will develop a presentation that pulls out the most important pieces of information for the rest of our teammates. Try to keep the focus on actionable insights that directly relate to your business.

Upcoming Events Where You Can Find TopRank Marketing

Lee Odden

While it may take a little extra effort at first, you’ll quickly find that following these hacks will make you more efficient and improve your event experience.

Lee Odden will be spending the next couple months traveling around the world to educate audiences on developing successful content and influencer marketing programs. If you’re events to attend, be sure to check out Lee’s sessions!

Event: Social Media Marketing World, San Diego
Date: 3/24/17
Room: 28ABCDE
Session Topic: Future of Influencer Marketing: Strategies & Trends

Event: Content Marketing Conference, Boston
Date: 4/12/17
Session Topic: Keynote: The Influence Imperative

Event: Clever Content, Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: 4/25/17
Session Topic: Keynote: Search Marketing in 2017: Be the Best Answer

Event: Epic Content Marketing, Oslo, Norway
Date: 4/26/17
Session Topic: Keynote: Influencer Marketing: How to Create Quality Content & Relationships that Scale

Event: Future of Business, Oslo, Norway
Date: 4/27/17
Session Topic: Keynote: Optimize: Attract & Engage Customers with Integrated SEO, Social and Content

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. |
10 Conference Hacks to Help You Crush Marketing Event Attendance | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 10 Conference Hacks to Help You Crush Marketing Event Attendance appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Marketers are still asking, what is B2B influencer marketing? Here’s a definition I’ve been using over the past 5 years or so:

B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable business goals.

As the groundswell around influencer marketing rises and becomes a normal part of the B2B marketing mix, the volume of information and misinformation on the topic also increases.

One of the most popular questions people also ask about B2B influencer marketing focuses on what makes a good business influencer? By now we all know that popularity alone does not make someone influential. It’s certainly important, it's just not the only thing.

As B2B marketers mature in their understanding of the role influence plays and how the dynamic of brand content co-created with industry experts plays out with customers, they begin to realize that other factors matter. Topical relevance matters of course as well as resonance of the topic amongst an influencer’s community.

B2B Marketing Influencers

The intersection of individual expertise, how well that expertise resonates with followers and the size of network creates a baseline of characteristics when evaluating whether a certain influencer might be a match.

But there’s more than that. Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.

Some people reading this might think that influencer marketing isn’t the magic pill some are playing it up to be. There’s a reason for that, because it’s not magic. It’s more like alchemy.

The reality is, there’s no one formula for the perfect B2B influencer, but there are some common characteristics that B2B brands should look for in varying proportions according to what’s important to a program or activation. I call those characteristics:

The 5 Ps of B2B Influence

Proficiency - In B2B marketing, the vast majority of those considered influential possess deep expertise in the field they work in. This is a significant difference from many B2C influencers who are often self proclaimed as influential with clever media creation skills.

As B2C influencer content and engagement tactics evolve, some are crossing over into B2B with a trickle of opportunists successfully creating influence amongst B2B audiences not solely for their expertise, but for a combination of adept social media content creation skills and some expertise. B2B marketers who do their due diligence will be able to filter accordingly.

Popularity - While network size is not the only thing, nor is it the most important thing, it is definitely a metric to consider. Some marketers swing in the direction of ignoring audience size altogether because of lower engagement rates with popular influencers. This is simply foolish. All things being the same, I’ll take 2% engagement of an influencer with a million followers over 2% from someone that has 1,000 followers.

What matters is how network size factors in with the type of influencer you need. For example, popular influencers aka “brandividuals” are often best for top of funnel content. Niche domain expert influencers are better for middle and end of funnel content. Engaging a brandividual and expecting conversions is just naive.

Personality - If you’ve worked in B2C influencer marketing and been exposed to all the characters there, B2B is going to seem a bit dry. Now there are some colorful characters in the B2B influencer community, no doubt. But personality is often a trait that needs to be uncovered when you’re working with some types of business influencers.

The good news is that savvy influencer marketing practitioners know how to plant the seeds that can grow and blossom within an otherwise introverted influencer. You don’t need them to be a colorful character, ripe with personality per se, but you do want them to connect with the passion they have with their craft and how their expertise can help others be successful.

Publishing - Content is the media that conveys the ideas of influence and while B2B influencers are not expected to produce the same types and quantity of content as in B2C, it is ideal when there’s a platform where the influencer publishes. At a minimum, that would be social networks but to be a B2B influencer, it’s most likely that also includes articles contributed to publications if not research, books and presentations.

Promotion - The value a B2B influencer brings beyond adding expertise and credibility to brand content is the ability to share what they helped create with their network. Trust of brand content is at a low, especially with advertising. Customers yearn for authentic content and the right kind of influencer collaboration can give them that, delivered via the influencer’s own distribution channels. That means social networks for course but also potentially blogs, email newsletters, podcast, LinkedIn Live, contributed articles or columns in industry publications.

I know some people reading this are thinking there could be even more P’s like being Prolific, Persuasive or Passion. Yes, there could be so many more but we have to draw the line somewhere! It's important to be able to manage the data and insights necessary to factor these characteristics into selection, qualification and engagement.

Some of these traits will not fully reveal themselves until you work with an influencer on a few content activations. Others will fluctuate over time and that is normal. It's important to understand that influence is a temporal thing. It is not fixed or permanent. It’s important marketers realize that before they disengage an influencer in the short term due to lower performance. The same goes for high expectations after great performance.

Organic influencer engagement is a little dynamic and what you don’t spend on paid influencers like an ad buy you will (in part) need to invest in relationship management, education and even tips that will help the influencers be more effective.

B2B brands with high influencer churn or low performance often apply “ad buy” perspectives to a what is actually a relationship driven effort. Mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, so think about the 5Ps as you evaluate and nurture your influencer community. Consider where of each your ideal influencers need to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you have in mind.

When there’s 5P alignment, there's happiness: for customers, influencers and your B2B brand.

The post 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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