By now, you conference or event should be spread across cyberspace welcoming and driving the masses to your conference or event website, encouraging them to register and providing important information about not only your event, but your industry as well. You should be a news and information monster.
Your conference and event blog and outposts should be manned, up and running, 24/7.
Great! Now what.
That is actually a question that I get a lot. What do we talk about? What information do we push out, what is the best way to interact with our attendees and fans?
That will vary industry to industry but you can make it a lot easier on yourself by putting together an editorial calendar that reminds you of what you want to publish and when.
Magazines have editorial calendars, they are all about the content and you should be too. Your event or conference blog is nothing more than an online magazine built around quality content.
By mapping everything out, you will allow you to develop in depth content quickly and allow you to go with the flow when conditions change or their is breaking news.
For example, if you are producing the International Cat Herders Convention, you might what to talk about:
- Cat Herding on Monday
- Conference Speakers on Tuesday
- Tools of the Trade on Wednesday
- Sponsors on Thursday
- A weekly news round up on Friday
This would actually be the start of a basic calendar. You now know how to position your blog posts as you write them and you can schedule them accordingly. You can also run with the theme and plan Facebook and Twitter updates around the same theme and ideas on the same days. You can push out links, video and more.
Have a new Keynote to Announce.. Awesome! Just do it on Tuesday because that is speakers day. You can push all of the other posts you have about speakers out to the coming weeks, but you know that Tuesday is the day for a speaker announcement.
You can also hit your Facebook page and put up some links to the keynotes videos and you can Tweet quotes or other speaker info as well.
In between you can still talk about other things, but this is a nice little framework for getting things done.
Remember, it is not rocket science, it just takes a little planning and since you are a meeting and event planner, you should be good at that….. am I not right?
To get started, there are tools to make creating an editorial calendar a snap. You do not have to reinvent the wheel
For starting out, I am partial to the plan laid out by Jamie Lee Walace at Savvy B2B Marketing, this plan consists of an excel spreadsheet that consists of nothing more than three tabs:
Each tab is unique and helps them track links, Facebook mentions, twitter retweets and comments. Simple, basic, easy and a great place to start. They have put this template for download with a road map on how to get started here. If you are just thinking about starting a calendar, I would give this a try.
There are also WordPress plugins that can help as well, for that, I am REALLY happy that Zack Grossbart invented his plugin called, no doubt, the “WordPress Editorial Calendar”. How is that for tricky!
This plugin is great. You can view, arrange and even drag and drop posts and ideas. It will allow you to visually see the coming weeks and what you are planning right from your conference or event website dashboard (if you are on WordPress).
You can download it here, or watch this Screencast they have put together to learn how to get started.
See a walk through of the WordPress Editorial Calendar, a new plugin that gives you a simple drag and drop interface for managing your WordPress blog.
These are really easy tools to implement and they WILL make you feel a little less crazy.
Now, you can see out into the future and put an action plan together about what you want to post and when and it will allow your attendees and fans the opportunity to get comfortable with your schedule and they will begin to see a pattern which will lead to more followers, more subscribers and more attendees at the event.