What is the first thing you do after an event is over?
A. Take a sigh of relief and start planning your next event.
B. Head back to your marketing team to work on other projects.
C. Analyze event success and try to extend the lifecycle of your event.
Most readers will select A or B, and that’s why most event organizers fail to achieve event success. Post event work is one of the biggest factors that contributes to the creation of a major event brand. Failing to build digital communities, repurpose content, or survey event attendees are some major mistakes that event organizers make each year.
This article will provide you with a checklist of must-do post event activities to avoid this event planning mistake. But not only that, readers will get actionable tips for using proven tools to extend the lifecycle of an event.
Let’s get started:
Create A Year-Long Community
The most effective events are the ones that are able to keep people together after the actual event has ended. Organizers today have many different tools at their disposal to empower virtual networking, or to coordinate smaller face-to-face events.
A standard among professionals, LinkedIn Groups provide event organizers with a good way to keep attendees of B2B events engaged. Setting up a Group is easy, more on doing that here, and keeping attendees engaged is helped with built-in tools like a summary function that shares recent Group activity with members via email.
While some professionals may spurn Facebook Groups because they seem “too personal” Facebook has strong privacy settings that can easily separate conversations that happen in the Group from personal activity on other parts of the platform.
Facebook is unique in that nearly 100% of event attendees will already be using the platform in some way, meaning that it should be fairly easy to spark adoption.
Above: The Eventovation Facebook Group private files.
Unlike other platforms, Facebook Groups provides organizers with a lot of flexibility. For example, Facebook makes uploading content and multimedia to a Group simple. This means that event organizers can upload exclusive content to a private Facebook Group that only approved members can see - it’s a great technique to encourage event attendees to get involved online.
For planners with larger teams, bigger budgets, or a dedicated community manager, building a custom forum is a good idea to create a robust online networking community. Examples of events that are built around online forums include: Inbound.org, Product Hunt, GrowthHackers and Salesforce Success Community.
Above: An example of Product Hunt’s rich online community.
In most cases a developer will be needed to build a fully customized community, but there are products out there like Vanilla Forums that offer an out of the box online forum platform that can be customized to suit specific needs.
Regular Video Hangouts
Video hangouts are a great way for people in your community to further engage with your event brand. Consider creating regular video hangouts that feature past or upcoming event speakers, and industry influencers.
Hangouts provide attendees with a great way to have specific industry questions answered, while also networking with one another. Some tool that can support video hangouts include Google Hangouts, Gotomeeting, and Zoom.
To learn more about building strong online communities, download the free Social Media Bundle, an eBook on social media strategies for event planners. Click the button below to get a copy!
Turn Sessions Into Video Content
The annual TED Talks conference has famously turned packaging main-stage content into widely available video, the organizers of the conference have done it so well that it’s become a cultural phenomenon.
Your speakers delivered great presentations and sessions. Why not make them available on your company website, YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites? Shorter and highly shareable recordings can be uploaded to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to raise awareness of what you’re doing, and to direct traffic to other properties.
Increasingly, conferences and events are using services such as Livestream, Facebook Live Video, or Periscope (the mobile video streaming app purchased last year by Twitter) to share in the moment or after-the-fact video recording with larger virtual audiences. Some, Hack Summit, for example gather their community exclusively through video content.
Gated Video Content
One way event organizers can reach event attendees who are unable to attend, while increasing event revenue is to provide gated videos of all of the sessions from an event.
These “virtual passes” provide attendees with the slides and accompanying videos from speaker presentations, and often cost considerably less than an actual ticket to a business event.
Social Media Marketing World offers a virtual event pass for their events, thereby reaching a new audience and increasing revenue concurrently. In most cases, a video production company will need to be used in order to create high-quality video content. Fortunately, the costs of video production can be deferred by charging for these virtual passes.
Amember provides a robust solution to help organizers manage access to gated web content, and it is the solution used by Social Media Marketing World to handle access to recorded sessions.
A great way to generate pre-event buzz, increase event reach, or recap an event is by using Facebook’s latest tool, Live. It allows anyone with a Facebook Page or an Events Page to broadcast live video to followers or attendees.
The industry consensus is that Facebook Live is going to become an increasingly significant social media asset for event organizers and marketers of all kinds. Best to become familiar with the tool now to stay up-to-date.
Above: the White House broadcasts a meeting on the economy held by President Obama.
Many social media experts have noticed that one sure way to increase reach of Facebook Pages is to post video content. Text and image based posts have less reach, and less engagement than video content on average - another reason why organizers should harness the power of Live.
Another new social media tool for event organizers and marketers to be aware of is Snapchat video. Originally, Snapchat was a social media network used to share disappearing images with friends. But since launching 2011, the platform has incorporated video into the platform.
Video is also used to provide fans of media outlets like Condé Nast with behind the scenes content from glamours events hosted by the likes of Teen Vogue.
Turn Presentations Into Post-Event Content
The days following an event are the perfect time to populate blogs with added value content that answers attendees’ questions or further utilizes your speaker roster to contribute their thoughts.
It’s also a great time to get attendees to contribute their impressions and images in guest posts to your blog or to other websites like Medium or LinkedIn Pulse. These posts can serve to delight those who were there and entice those who were not to put your event registration software to good use.
Share Information On An Event Blog
Blogging is a fantastic way for event organizers to increase organic reach, while updating followers about what happened during an event. One great way to do this is to ask event speakers to respond to attendee’s questions via Q&A blog posts.
This is a great resource for bringing those who were unable to attend to get up-to-speed, while also provide attendees who missed a specific session with valuable content.
Alternatively, organizers can consider enlisting the help of live-event bloggers who attend different sessions and then turn each presentation into an in-depth post ready to be published to your blog.
This is a great way to to really increase search engine reach for industry related keywords that future potential attendees might be investigating.
Above: An example of how Bizzabo repurposed event content for a blog post.
Lastly, organizers can enlist the help of event attendees to write content like “What I Learned By Attending” style posts, like this one the Bizzabo team wrote about Social Media Marketing World.
Transform Slides Into Slideshares With Registration Calls To Action
A great way to increase event reach, while driving event registrations for future events is to repurpose speaker’s presentations by turning slides into Slideshares.
Many event speakers end up sharing their slides with Slideshare followers anyway, and their followers love seeing new content from industry influencers. Your event attendees will love it too, especially if slides from all of the presentations can be easily consumed in one place.
Above: CMX Summit uploaded all speaker presentations to Slideshare for followers to view.
To drive registrations, make use of Slideshare’s tool that allows users to create an in-presentation CTA (call to action) button that when clicked will bring people to your event website. More on Slideshare lead generation tools here.
Syndicate Content On Third Party Websites
It’s possible to create a thriving blog while also increasing reach by posting content on third party sites like Medium and LinkedIn Pulse. In fact, syndicating content is a simple way to gain new readers.
Consider posting repurposed event content that first appeared on an event blog to other outlets after a week of being live on the blog. Posting in this way will encourage people to visit the blog first, while attracting new readers in the process.
Hubspot, a software company, does this by sharing older content along with new curated articles on a Medium publication called ReadThink. This helps Hubspot to reach readers they might never have reached otherwise.
LinkedIn Pulse also offers an easy to use blogging platform that is another good tool for those hoping to reach a wider audience online.
Conduct A Post-Event Debrief
Don’t be tempted to turn your back on a finished event before you’ve gleaned valuable information. Consider asking event attendees to take a net promoter score (NPS) survey to gauge the relative success of the event, and uncover ideas for improving the experience for future delegates.
Now is also the time to evaluate systems such as event management software: how effectively did your software support organizational or registration activity? If you’re dissatisfied, now is also the time to consider a change.
Issue an NPS Survey
We’ve already written about the need for organizers to use NPS surveys, but to reiterate, doing so is a great way to measure attendee satisfaction in a reliable way.
Above: An example of the NPS Survey sent to Eventovation attendees.
During Bizzabo’s last Eventovation event, we issues an NPS Survey that helped us collect valuable feedback we’ll use to make our next event even better. Organizers should simply send these surveys to event attendees via email - attendees who score the event 9 or 10 out of 10 should be contacted to see if they would be willing to evangelize next year’s event.
Interview Key Stakeholders
In addition to sending an NPS survey to all event attendees, it’s a good idea to interview key event stakeholders to see if the event lived up to expectations.
Doing so can also make stakeholders feel like they are valued and listened to, something that is important in and of itself.
Typically, interviewing stakeholders by asking a series of standard open-ended questions is best. Rather than sending stakeholders an email or form to fill out, better to conduct the interview over the phone or in person.
Evaluate Event Software
In many cases, events are successful in spite of event software, rather than because of it. After an event is over is a great time to evaluate if the event planning platform being used is serving your event goals, or if it is simply more trouble than it’s worth.
To find out how to evaluate event software, grab a free eBook by clicking the button below.
Post-event strategy is an incredibly important but often overlooked aspect of planning. Once attendees have left, organizers tend to move on to the next event, or go back to normal marketing operations (depending on the type of event planner in question). But post-event marketing is a great way to extend an event’s lifecycle, and to create excitement about next year’s event.
Building online forums, harnessing the power of video, repurposing content for blog posts and slideshare, and surveying attendees are four things that organizers must start doing to achieve event success.