Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What is the Role of Your Speakers in Content Marketing?

The ASAE The Center for Association Leadership group on LinkedIn (http://linkd.in/v22cU7) has been engaged in a lively discussion about how the association can get speakers to submit their Power Point presentations before their presentations.

  1. I’m an association professional who gets paid to speak NOT a professional speaker who gives presentations to associations. 
  2. I look at this topic not as conference speakers but as the association’s overall content management strategy which some call knowledge or resource centers.
  3. I’m a fan of all forms of presentation aids. While I talk about Power Points here, I’m referring to handouts, outlines and other tools that share the message.

Here are some of the discussion’s comments that concern me:
  • “Don't ask for presentations to be posted before the meeting. Some slides consist merely of images - no text - so they are useless to viewers. The speaker, not the presentation, should be the crux of a session, so attendance at the session should be your goal. Creating an alternative should not even be possible. 
  • “Members often want the presentations so they can skip the sessions. However, in many cases, the presentation will have the greatest impact when experienced first in-person, not online."  
  • “If I might share a perspective from a person that both organizes meetings and speaks at meetings--many planners have unrealistic expectations of "free" speakers. First thought--step your meeting up a notch and hire speakers--professional speakers will generally work within parameters." 
  • “There is another entire school of thought emerging, resulting from PowerPoint overload; don't let the attendees see what's coming next. If the attendee has the presenter's PPT in hand, most likely they will not pay close attention but rather send text messages, clean up their emails, and surf the web from their phones. Keep the PPT from the attendees and they might actually pay attention." 
Here are the points I like:
  • “What should the true goal for any meeting be? Attendee engagement, experience, and take-home value, aka, ROI. This is so much harder to measure than is process.” 
  • “We migrated away from PPT presentations about 2 years ago. If a speaker needs slides to illustrate some particular points then we limit it to 3 slides. We are looking for a conversation not a transmit only lecture. We also reserve 20 minutes at the end of a session for audience participation. We have moved to text messaging questions to one person that asks audience questions on behalf of the audience. This has really helped since questions are now anonymous. It keeps the conversation going. It has taken us from 2 or 3 questions per session (5 mins) to more questions than time. This is the position we want to be in. We take the extra questions and post them online after the conference with answers or answer them with twitter throughout the conference. 
  • “We also screen slides. My pet peeve (and you have all seen it) is when someone puts up a slide and says "I know you can't read this but.....” If the audience can't read it, it is of no value.” 
As I mentioned at the top, I see the speech/presentation as a key part of an association’s content management/knowledge resource role for its members/industry/profession.  Therefore, I view it as much more than just a talk in front of an audience.  And, see it as an opportunity for your organization to enhance its thought leadership position while providing value to those who cannot attend that presentation.

To achieve that goal, here are 10 Ways to Use Presentations to Promote Your Association:

1. Post the speaker presentation (Power Points, Outline, Handout) to Slideshare.net (a channel in name of your organization)
2. Live stream the event (free) on your organization’s YouTube channel or via Ustream
3. Write and post a blog featuring the presentation’s key points
4. Tweet small chunks along with links to Slideshare, the blog and the Ustream video
5. Take key points of the presentation, create a 7-10 slide handout pdf and post to your website
6. Record the presentation and create a podcast posted to your website
7. Conduct an audio and video interview with your speaker to create a video cast
8. Curate the post by linking/adding related blog writings from your organization
9. Monitor and respond to comments
10. Combine all presentation “handouts” to a “best of the conference” file and blog
• Post to your Slideshare channel
• Post to your website
• Tweet the links

As a speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to provide advance “publicity” about my presentation via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools of the “host association.” As an association meeting planner, I value speakers who are willing to help us promote our conference and provide added value to our members and prospects through the speaker’s content.

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