One of the most important things to remember when planning a conference is that you're not just putting together an event, you're creating an experience. And in this digital world, it's easy to forget that we all have shortened attention spans. But what if there was a way to make your meetings more engaging for attendees? It turns out there is! With building a conference newsletter, your association can make your meetings more engaging and memorable.
If you’ve ever been to a conference with an engaging newsletter, you know how much fun it can be to read. The same thing can happen with your meetings, too! It is a fantastic way to get your brand in front of people who may not attend your event live, but still have an interest in what you’re doing. By providing valuable information and updates, you will build credibility and trust with those who subscribe to your newsletter.
Great idea, right? We don't blame you for wanting to begin the planning process. Before you do, though, consider these tips for your newsletter strategy:
- Plan out your content. Take some time before the event to plan what will happen at your conference, as well as how many people will be there. We mentioned this avenue is a wonderful way to highlight sessions, recap of keynotes, etc., but also make sure to include information about the speakers and facilitators who will be presenting during your event so that attendees can get excited about seeing them speak.
- Allow extra exposure for industry suppliers. You can include a list of sponsors who helped make your conference possible. This will help attendees feel even more connected to the event, as well as give them a place to go if they’re looking for more information about any of the companies that sponsored it. In addition, allow exhibitors advertising space to promote their booth and/or products and services, as conference newsletter can be a powerful tool for building industry connections.
- Talk about the host city. Look up the weather each day, so your attendees know how to plan their wardrobe effectively. What are some tourist attractions for out-of-town attendees? You can also include fun facts about the city you are in or some interesting facts about your speakers. It’s always good to relate the conference back to attendees’ lives, so they feel like it is relevant and important.
- Don’t forget about the fun stuff! If you have any dedicated events planned for after hours or during breaks, make sure to include them in your newsletter so that people know what’s going on with their friends while they are away from home.
- Plan your drafting and delivery schedule accordingly. Time is of the essence for association staff while at a conference. Make sure to set clear guidelines on when a draft of the newsletter will be completed and when a final version will deliver to the inboxes of your attendees. We recommend first thing in the morning, as it allows attendees and exhibitors to know what's happening during the day and what not to miss out on.
- Talk to your attendees. Appoint a staff member to walk around and get feedback and quotes from attendees and exhibitors. What have they learned so far? What has been their favorite part of the conference? You can not only use this information within the newsletter, but attendees will be excited to see if they've been featured within the publication.
- A picture is worth 1,000 words. If you don't have a photographer at your conference, make sure to have a staff member taking pictures throughout the day(s). This will allow your newsletter to incorporate the "live feel" within the newsletter for those who aren't able to attend. Plus, just as we mentioned above, everyone loves to see if they've been featured!
- Create lead generation opportunities. As we've discussed, newsletters are a great way to engage attendees at your event. They're also a great tool for generating leads and promoting your brand. If you have people's contact information, now is the time to ask them for it! If someone has given you their email address or phone number during the conference, use this opportunity to ask if they'd like more information about future events or products from your industry suppliers (or both).
No matter what you decide to do with your newsletter, know that it will be worth it to your attendees. A well-made newsletter can help you to connect with your audience, build trust and loyalty, and generate leads. And it doesn't have to be a ton of work!