Even as the ever-extending tendrils of the internet latch themselves to more and more facets of our daily lives, the in-person meetup loses none of its potency, particularly in the tech world. Tech professionals and enthusiasts spend so much time learning and building in isolation that the opportunity to discuss their passion in a real-world setting is all the more alluring.
And beyond that, such a gathering has immense networking power. It’s easy to discount and discard an online introduction, after all — it often barely feels like there’s a person on the other end — but rather harder to dismiss someone standing in front of you and extending their hand.
It should come as no surprise, then, that big tech-centric events are being scheduled increasingly frequently. But it isn’t just a matter of right place, right time. The industry-leading events have managed to blend the digital and real-world elements in a way that has proven itself to be quite captivating.
In this piece, we’re going to examine how the top tech events approach promotion, presentation, and performance, picking out a few things that you can do for your event. Let’s begin.
In today’s digital world, we’ve come to expect every offline entity to have a corresponding online entity, almost regardless of its nature. The concept of a company, place or event not having a website seems strange now. And what tech event organizers understand perhaps better than anyone is that an event’s website will be viewed as a reflection of the event itself, regardless of the truth of the matter.
It’s entirely possible for a fantastic event to have a lazily thrown-together website, after all, but even someone who knows first-hand how good the event is will think twice after seeing the website. It gives the impression of indifference and a willingness to cut corners, something that immediately makes the visitor question the continuing quality of the event. Has it exceeded its budget? Has the organization declined?
In actuality, it doesn’t take a large budget to set up an excellent mobile-responsive site — it just takes a WordPress installation and a strong event website theme. Themes such as OpenEvent or Tyler feature native mobile scaling and provide panels to account for everything you’ll need for an event, including map and navigation information, sponsorship listings, and registration.
Another thing to consider is the importance of having an event app with networking opportunities and important data at delegates’ fingertips. The convenience of a great app and website will help attendees and delegates make the most of the event, and enable them to do more when it comes to event promotion too.
Social media channels aren’t just for frivolous exchanges. They’re also extremely effective promotional platforms for the brands that know how to use them. Through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, an event manager can reach huge audiences of likely and potential attendees many months before the event is set to take place, planting the idea of it in their minds and giving them plenty of opportunities to investigate further.
This kind of drip-feed approach is extremely useful: it lets the organizer gauge interest in the run-up to the event, allowing them to scale expectations (and perhaps even ticket pricing/allocation), and establishes basic details and hashtags in the public awareness so everything will go much more smoothly on the day of the event.
Since big events invariably feature notable speakers, the organizers can have them assist with the promotional efforts for mutual benefit. The more buzz, the better. Events typically don’t run more than a few days at most, so they can essentially be sustained by hype.
Are events about the materials of the presentations, or the experiences of being there? These days, most big tech events are leaning strongly towards the latter, giving up on the notion of trying to make certain talks ‘event exclusives’. There are several reasons for this:
When you host your event, make sure to document whatever you can, even if you don’t intend on releasing it right away. You could monetize elements of the material at some point if you wanted to, or you could simply use it all to promote your next event. Regardless, if you don’t record everything possible, it will constitute a massive waste.
Top tech events are highly experiential because they understand that people don’t attend them for the talk slides. By focusing on providing a slick experience, whipping up hype, and building their events around networking and enjoyment, they leave attendees with positive memories that lead them to keep coming back. You can do the same.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.