Though I just received my invite to Storify, I am very impressed with the power that this content curation tool can provide for marketing and public relations. It’s simple and easy to use, a must for today’s busy professional. And a single story can have multiple contributors.
Still in beta with invites given out occasionally, Storify has great potential for marketing and public relations. Here are five ways Storify can help your efforts:
At the end of February, the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) announced a new certification program for digital event strategists (Disclosure: I do some consulting for VEI). While webinars and webcasts are an integral part of the marketing mix, digital events are fairly new for marketers and event practitioners. Besides those who experiment with the new medium, there are not many professionals experienced planning, building and implementing virtual events.
The timing of this new program is just another indicator of the momentum that virtual environments is gaining within organizations – both as a marketing tool and for event marketers. Until now, one of the main obstacles for organizations is to find and employ people with the appropriate expertise to manage virtual event programs. By training people on the ins and outs of digital events, this will further spur the growth within this industry. Here are a couple of responses to date:
Jessica L. Levin, Seven Degrees Communications, “I really like this idea. I think this is an area that is new, technical and requires a lot of education. I love that they use ‘Strategist’ in the designation. This tells me that the learning goes beyond mechanics and it a deeper, higher-level approach. All certifications should be taken with a grain of salt, but I appreciate the opportunity to get some formal education.”
Todd Hanson, ROI of Engagement, Catalyst Performance Group, “This is going to be an excellent thing for the industry! I applaud the efforts.”
What do you think? Leave your thoughts below.
With any new initiative, the ability to tie results to objectives is instrumental for receiving continued stakeholder support for the initiative. While many vendors tout their capabilities to provide detailed statistics, the question is how to go beyond raw data to actionable data. Furthermore, how easily can I take this data to develop the right reports and analysis for my stakeholders.
Here are two videos that I took while I was at the Virtual Edge Summit 2011. Again, while I provided PR/marketing/social media services to the summit, the below represents my personal opinions and not those of the Virtual Edge Summit.
NOTE: I am providing pr/marketing services to the Virtual Edge Summit. This post reflects my personal opinions and is not representative of the Virtual Edge Institute or Virtual Edge Summit.
I previously wrote about some of the efforts we undertook to promote the Virtual Edge Summit. I would like to highlight some of the buzz coming out of the Summit and what this means for marketers. Interestingly, I anticipated hearing some innovations from the key players in the US virtual events market – INXPO (Note: I was previously employed here), 6Connex, and Unisfair.
Rather, for me, I was intrigued by the number of mobile developments by other providers at the show, Altus, Digitell Inc. and Social27. While this was surprising, it fits into my overall predictions about the industry, that newcomers will help push the innovation for virtual and hybrid events. Here’s a quick summary of the announcements. I also had the opportunity to speak briefly with Altus and Social27. Here is a quick overview of the Altus and Social27 news, and I plan to post the videos once I get those completed.
Altus Brings Conferences to the Palm of Your Hand
Altus highlighted their announcement as an extension of physical to provide a “hybrid” experience. The mobile application allows conference organizers to put the conference agenda, sponsor information and even presentations on your mobile device.
Why you should take a look? Since attendees proactively download the app to their device (supports many operating systems), conference organizers can continue pushing updates to attendees long after the conference has ended. If you leverage this as an opportunity to continue a conversation, you can keep members engaged while driving interest for the following conference, as well as open up possible revenue opportunities via sponsorships.
Taking Social Interaction to the Next Level with Social27
Social27 originally started as a service to bring social collaboration to enterprises. Seeing an opportunity, Social27 is moving into events and conferences. The company has a philosophy of “Social, Mobile and Local”, which Ike Singh Kehal, CEO of Social27, explains in his video (coming soon). Like the main U.S. players in the market, Social27 provides an environment with 2D locations for networking, exhibitors and sessions. Since the company comes from the social collaboration space, Social27 provides a simple integration with the key social networks.
Why you should take a look? Social27 does the social collaboration and networking well. I would venture to say that it provides the simplest and most intuitive interface to date. Furthermore, the company leverages the wealth of your social graph to provide “matches” to assist with networking. Currently available on Windows mobile phones, expect Social27 to expand the services to additional mobile OS. By adding the geographic aspect as well, Social27 provides marketers with the ability to search, seek and network with prospects – virtually or in the real world.
The Virtual Edge Summit provided great insight into how marketers can leverage virtual and hybrid events as part of the marketing mix. And an integral part of the experience is extending the event to mobile devices. Do you agree or disagree?
From January 12-13, 2011, hundreds of people will gather in Las Vegas and online to attend the Virtual Edge Summit 2011. I have had the pleasure of assisting the Summit in their public relations and marketing efforts. While I have done PR and marketing activities as a vendor exhibiting or speaking at an event, this was an interesting opportunity to help drive awareness, conversation and ultimately registrations for a conference of this sidze (not including corporate webinars and virtual events).
With the conference a week away, we will not have a full sense of the results until after it has concluded. With that said, I wanted to highlight three strategies and tactics we used (are using). While this doesn’t encompass everything we did/are doing for the Summit, it does provide a look under the covers:
1. Drive Brand Awareness: This year, the Virtual Edge Summit expanded its program beyond virtual events, meetings and conferences to incorporate virtual learning and training. This opened up the Summit a potential new pool of attendees within the elearning and training spaces. Our goal was to continue driving awareness within the meeting and events industry, while introducing the Summit to this new space.
2. Increase Engagement: We wanted to build on the 2010 efforts to further involve our audience – both virtual and physical – with the Summit. This would help generate word of mouth amongst our key audiences and hopefully reach new target audiences.
3. Grow Registrations for In-Person and Virtual Attendance: And of course, part of the success would be measured by the number of registration for the in-person and virtual versions of the event.
1. Focus on Public Relations: My foundation is in public relations, so this was a natural area to focus our efforts. In addition to the general press releases about keynote speakers, new sponsors and the program, we looked at how we can generate discussion in the industry, while promoting the Summit. For example, we decided to develop an infographic that summarized the key virtual events industrystats from 2010. The purpose was to provide the industry with a visual way to synthesize the progress that virtual had made over the past 12 months. In addition to posting to the Summit blog, we contacted key reporters, industry bloggers, and sponsors. The resulting blog posts and discussion around the infographic keeps the Summit and Virtual Edge Institute front and center.
2. Start and Seed a Summit Blog: Our speakers are the innovators within the virtual events and learning industries. We started a blog and invited our speakers to submit 300-400 word blog postings related to their presentation or industry. With a dozen speakers taking up the offer, this provided credibility to the blog, allowed us to generate relevant content quickly, and distribute this to a wider audience through speaker promotion. At this writing, our hope is to continue the blog to drive the conversation until the next Summit.
3. Social Media: While Twitter was leveraged last year, we drafted a more formal strategy for our social media program this year.
a. The cornerstone will continue to be Twitter, assigning each room with a unique hashtag to receive questions from the audience. We also created Twitter lists of attendees, speakers and sponsors to recognize all the different audiences supporting the Summit. Finally, we reached out to speakers and sponsors to promote their participation at the conference, which generated many tweets leading up to the conference over the past few days.
b. We researched groups in learning, training, events, conferences and meetings on LinkedIn. Following group guidelines, we posted information about the Summit, participated in appropriate discussions, and/or started discussions.
c. With regard to Facebook, this is being leveraged as an alternative way to connect with our audiences. We cross post all blog posts and post questions to solicit engagement. While this part is nascent, we’re contemplating using Facebook as the main photo archive for the Summit and inviting virtual attendees to post photos of where they are attending the Summit to the page.
Wish Us Good Luck
While this doesn’t cover everything we’ve been doing, I’m pretty happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish so far. If you’re interested in checking out the summit, you can register at http://www.virtualedgesummit.com/registration_reader. The interesting aspect is that the Summit will have ten different technology vendors streaming the content. The idea is to provide people with a choice and way to evaluate different ways of holding a virtual event.
In the post-event summary, I’ll highlight some other unique aspects of the event, initial results and some areas of improvement.
And I’ll also be one of the virtual hosts to bring content live from the exhibit show floor to the virtual audience! (wish me luck)
Last week, I spoke with Dannette Veale of Cisco regarding how Cisco is leverainge virtual and new technologies for their events and conferences. This week, Dannette shares her predictions for 2011.
It’s the time of year for 2011 predictions. What do you see in store for the industry in 2011 and which technology(ies) do you think will gain popularity?
I see mobility as being the big one and will start looking at that. We leveraged Ustream last year and have a lot of interest with the mobile app for Ustream iPhone. I also think that with the onset of tablets and number of tablets being put out by Samsung and Apple, we will see a huge amount of event tools and experience extended out to mobile, especially tablets. We will see people go beyond the provider mobile applications and opt for white label applications for mobile to create a push-pull opportunity.
For example, download a hypothetical Cisco Live mobile app that will notify the user of updates to content, new contests and upcoming live events they can watch via their mobile device. This type of mobile application could be leveraged as an audience acquisition tool. If I’m not reaching you via the event web site, direct email or social media, but you’ve downloaded my app, then those individuals will be notified of updates. They are invested as they downloaded the app already. This will be a key way to distribute live video for hybrid events.
I also see mobile for event management taking off tenfold – the ability to monitor traffic to various areas with physical security reading back to data analytic tool, 40% of audience in auditorium or 60% in tradeshow floor, is a powerful tool for an event operations team. From an event management perspective, you’ll have real-time results for key surveys on key session and prize notifications on basic level, etc.
I see mobile becoming an intrinsic tool that event managemers will really be able to leverage to manage the event and do that analysis. It simply makes them more nimble.
The unconference will be realized as well, and mobile can help with this. You can watch the video, translate and ease the conference experience with maps on their device. Add to this a way to heat map where the traffic levels are, extending this function to your buddies and contacts, you can enhance the virtual experience or promote friending at a physical event itself. You’re able to see when people are online or physically at a specific location. In a large conference where there are many people, you can only send a small group of people to the event and the social gatherings are around their co-workers for dinner and other activities. The social mobile tools now give them the access to make and find connections.
The event experience will increase as a whole.
Dannette Veale’s Bio
As the virtual and social technology strategist for Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX), Dannette Veale lives and breathes new media. Prior to her role on the GSX team Dannette lead the creation and drove the strategy for the award winning Cisco Live and Networkers virtual program. Dannette has also managed global online and virtual programs for a variety of Cisco groups; most notably emerging markets. When she’s not evangelizing the use of virtual environments to extend the reach of an event and broaden the overall audience demographic participating, you’ll find Dannette engaged in such varied hobbies as producing streaming media, designing Web sites, or watching classic films such as Blade Runner. Outside of her daily immersion in the bleeding edge of collaborative media, Dannette’s also been known to partake in such real world activities as gardening, baking, and knitting;while watching cyberpunk anime, of course.
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.