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Keeping up the post-event momentum

Congratulations! You’ve hosted a great event. Now the real work begins

Mar 19, 2013

by Robin Schroffel

Well, you’ve done it.

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Illustration Luc Melanson

You’ve wrapped up a corporate conference, meeting or event and everything went off without a hitch – or as close to it as you had any right to expect. But how do you keep the engagement you’ve sparked during the event going once everyone has gone home?

You don’t do that by just sending people home with logo-emblazoned swag.

Unfortunately, there’s no pen or USB key invented yet that can accomplish that, nor is there any single strategy or approach that will suit your attendees’ varying attention spans, different styles of learning and access to different technologies. Choose a number of different approaches to reach as wide of an audience as possible. Here are a few of the most effective strategies.

Take it to the web

A website is one of the most versatile and effective means of keeping your guests coming back. By providing engaging content, you provide attendees a reason to keep up with your events and give those who couldn’t make it an incentive to show up next year.

How to do it

Many events companies include website creation in their packages, but you can also do it yourself by signing up for services like Event Alpha or Pathable that allow you to easily create custom websites for your conferences. And rather than simply sticking to information about the event, more companies are building permanent knowledge bases filled with educational content that adds value to users’ lives. Blogs, published reports and other information added regularly
will help keep users coming back.

Return on investment

Having a hub which people can return to again and again for updated information on topics related to your conference positions your event – and your business – as the place to go. That’s good for both your brand and your event’s attendance.

Instant replay

Video footage of speakers or other sessions that can be viewed online or through an intranet after the event reaches users in a way that long written documents or dry PowerPoint presentations simply can’t.

How to do it

Video creation can come as part of a conference package, or from a specialist hired for the
purpose. Add graphs, charts, sound clips and other audiovisual elements to your videos to engage all the senses and keep people’s attention even if they’ve seen the speaker before.

Return on investment

Making video footage of speakers available after an event frees up attendees to actually listen and absorb rather than take notes during the presentation. As well, it offers the chance for anyone who couldn’t attend to still hear the speaker’s message.

To the polls

Keypad polling makes conference presentations and discussions an interactive experience. Using hand-held electronic devices, audience members are able to participate in discussions in real time. The results are tallied immediately, but the data collected can also be useful for engaging people post-event.

How to do it

Keypad polling or audience response systems can be rented from many event organizers. Multiple-choice questions can be integrated into presentations, giving the audience a chance to have their say. The data collected can later be presented through email, on a website or at a meeting.

Return on investment

Getting direct feedback from those who are attending the conference or event is not only engaging for the attendees but can also be helpful for organizations and provide them with essential information for the event or conference that they host.

You can take it home

Paper take-home materials are dying out in favour of electronic documents, but it can still be beneficial to make some materials available in hard copy for those who want them. In particular, copies of books written by a speaker can help keep that speaker’s message at the forefront of attendees’ minds long after they’ve gone home.

How to do it

Large quantities of books can usually be bought at a wholesale price, or, if appropriate, paid for by a sponsor. The trick is to keep these items optional: make them available at a table rather than giving one out to every attendee indiscriminately. This will both save you money and reduce waste.

Return on investment

Offering a book written by a speaker allows those interested in the speaker’s ideas to explore them in more depth than is possible during a short presentation and as such provides additional value for conference attendees.

In the mail

It may seem straightforward, but sometimes all it takes is a simple email to put your meeting or conference back into someone’s mind.

How to do it

Send out emails on a regular basis but make sure you always have something to say. Be sure to keep it concise, clever and well-written, and stay away from “reply-all” chains that can clog up inboxes and cause people to unsubscribe.

Return on investment

Sending out regular emails keeps both the event and its content on people’s radar, drives traffic to the website and helps provoke thought and start conversations.

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