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Trends in Conference Management

Posted By Administration, 4 hours ago

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. As of 2017, there were 56 million Millennials (ages 22-37) working or looking for work — over one-third of the workforce.

Chart displaying growth of millennials as a segment of the workforce

With a growing need for our workforce to be trained and upskilled, conferences can play an important role in employee development.

To get Millennials to attend conferences and join our organizations, we must create more engaging and technologically focused offerings to meet this market segment who are interested in experiences, involvement and engagement.

7 Conference Best Practices

  1. Define and communicate the purpose and mission of the event to prove ROI. Create downloadable “Convince Your Boss” letters.
  2. Personalizing strategies – who are the sessions designed for? Are they interactive to engage attendees? Is there time for connection and conversation? How can attendees connect with other attendee segments and interests onsite?
  3. Purposeful experience – well-being activities, social impact days to give back to the community.
  4. Performances and offsite events at museums or local attractions.
  5. Enhanced conference technology including chatbots, 5G internet, wearable technology, real-time data, creative room design with technology access and charging stations, mobile apps.
  6. Nutrition, mindfulness and wellness: planning for dietary requirements; creating time for “brain breaks” – doodling, coloring, outside walks, Legos.
  7. Engage attendees using gamification – there are many gamers in this segment of the workforce.

Here are some additional resource articles on meeting trends to generate more ideas for your conference.

As our attendees and stakeholders continue to shift, associations must change up our conferences to not only maintain registration numbers but to take them to a whole new level: driving community, engagement and membership. Over one-third of the workforce and those who need education, community and engagement the most are counting on us to drive innovation and offer engaging and memorable experiences using trends and technology.

Tags:  association management  conference  delivering value  engagement  engaging millennials  event planning  member engagement  millennials  tips  trends 

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Creating Memorable Conference Experiences

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 11, 2019

It takes a team effort to make conference experiences memorable for attendees, presenters and exhibitors/sponsors. All parties play an important role in the success and value of attending in person events.

Our Event Management and Marketing & Communications departments formed a Conference Success Team to help our clients improve the conference experience for speakers, sponsors/exhibitors and attendees by creating a resource landing page with all the resources to ensure a positive conference experience before, during and after an event.

The number-one priority is creating relevant content for each audience. So, it’s important to research trends in the profession, conduct a professional development assessment, review membership surveys and past conference surveys to use feedback to improve and enhance the conference experience. Doing it “the way we’ve always done it” won’t cut it.

When you understand what your audience wants, you can then create the framework and tracks that will be the basis for your call for presenters. In addition to contact information, make sure you collect the following session information:

  • Presentation/Session Title (15-word limit)
  • Presentation/Session Description or Presentation (150-word limit)
  • Learning Objectives (require at least three)
  • Select Audience (for example: experience level, society type, organization size)
  • What keywords relate to your presentation topic? This is for search engine optimization as we promote the conference.
  • Provide a two-sentence promotion of your presentation for social media postings.

Getting this information at the beginning will provide the structure for the conference marketing plan.
Exhibitors and sponsors help keep the cost of conferences down for attendees and they also offer a way to make connections on business resources available to attendees. Creating value and ROI for exhibitors and sponsors creates value for the attendees.

The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) offers unique sponsorship opportunities that enhance the value for both the sponsor and the attendee. They also utilize cool technology at their conference such as a full LED wall with movable graphics, a Gobo light with logo sponsors and video. They also have a dedicated HEDNA TV Channel on YouTube that features conference sessions and helps promote future conferences, giving attendees access to the quality content that is delivered at the event.

HEDNA doesn’t have exhibitors but rather offers different types sponsorship opportunities to show unique value to the sponsors while enhancing the conference attendee experience. They have Nooks/Event pods branded with sponsor logos, offering the attendees a soundproof space with white boards, television monitors, videos and allowing for attendee conversations.


Example of nook/event pod with gobo lights (left) and coffee logo (right) at HEDNA LA 2019

Gobo lights make it possible to project sponsor logos on the walls. It’s a simple and effective way to enhance the conference experience at a reasonable price. In addition, they set up a HEDNA café with existing furniture in the hotel and a barista, featuring specialty coffees with the sponsor logo on top of the coffee froth.


Event app gamification example from Eventmobi

The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) offers a variety of hotel signage and walls/door clings and gobos for conference sponsors as well. This year, PDMA will use gamification in their mobile app to engage attendees.
For the Qualitative Research Consultants Association and Recognition Professionals International, we launched a “Reporter on the Scene” program; members volunteered to fill out an online form for each session and these were developed into blog posts and other content.

At the conferences, we encourage attendees to use hashtags and provide social media tip sheets to get conversations going and keep them going year-round after the conference experience is over. A strong conference and in-person connections foster loyalty and year-round connections.

For attendees, we offer ways to connect with other attendees at the conference in meet-ups, connecting in the mobile app and offering interactive sessions. It’s also important to create time between sessions to allow for conversations, sharing and networking so that learning sticks and new connections are created.

Half of the population are introverts — so it’s important to offer a variety of ways to connect in the manner attendees want. We will share tips on how to get the most out of conferences in a future post.

Mindfulness and wellness activities — both in the workplace and at conferences — are also becoming more popular. Organized walks and runs, yoga or other exercises, healthy snacks and meditation tips are a great way to add new value for attendees that they can take home.

Create memorable conference experiences for your members before, during and after each event!

Tags:  conference  engagement  event planning  member engagement  success  tips 

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MUST-HAVE Event Formulas

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 3, 2019

Planning an event? Here are some MUST-HAVE event formulas from functional room set-ups to food and beverage formulas that will help you plan the perfect event!

I. FUNCTION ROOM SET-UPS

Reception

  • 9-10 sq. ft. per person (standard bar/hors d'oeuvres)
  • Rule of Thumb:  10 feet

Theatre

  • Less than 60 people = 12-13 sq. ft. per person
  • 60-300 people = 11-12 sq. ft. per person
  • 300+ people = 10-11 sq. ft. per person
  • Rule of Thumb:  10 feet

Theatre Notes:

  • Allow at least 24 inches of space between rows
  • If room is rectangular, set presenter to the long side
  • First row no closer than 2x screen height (2x8 rule)
  • Center section of seating no more than 14 chairs
  • 2 side aisles should be at least 4 feet wide

Schoolroom

  • General = 17-22 sq. ft. per person (18" tables - add 1 sq. ft. per person for 30")
  • Less than 60 people = 22-23 sq. ft. per person
  • 60-300 people = 20-21 sq. ft. per person
  • 300+ people = 17-18 sq. ft. per person
  • Allow 3.5' between rows
  • Rule of Thumb:  20 feet

Conference

  • 2-3 feet of table length per person

Banquet

  • 60 inch = 8-9 people (12.5-13.5 sq. ft. per person)
  • 66 inch = 9-10 people (12.5-13.5 sq. ft. per person)
  • 72 inch = 10-11 people (12.5-13.5 sq. ft. per person)
  • Rule of Thumb:  13 feet

Platforms (a.k.a. Risers)

  • Can be 6, 12, 16, 24 or 32 inches high
  • Usually 4x8 or 6x8 dimensions

General Function Room Set-Up Notes

  • All schoolroom and banquet tables are 30" high
  • Rectangular tables that are 6 or 8 feet long by 30" wide are used for U-Shape, Conference, etc.
  • Rectangular tables that are 6 or 8 feet long by 18" wide are used for schoolroom set-ups

II. CONTRACTS AND REGISTRATION

  • Standard Comp. Room formula = 1 per 50
  • One (1) registration personnel per 100 attendees

III. EXHIBITS

Square Footage

  • Apply 2x rule to determine total sq. ft. needed (two times total square feet of exhibit space)
  • 10x10 = 100 sq. ft. per booth
  • 8x10 = 80 sq. ft. per booth
  • Net square feet (needed for booths) x 2 (for aisles) = total sq. ft. needed for booth and aisles + square footage for ancillary services = total square footage needed

Standard (In-Line) Booth

  • 10' deep by 10' long or 8' deep by 10' long
  • Faces one aisle
  • 8' 3" maximum back wall height

Perimeter (Wall) Booth

  • 10' deep by 10' long or 8' deep by 10' long
  • Faces one aisle
  • 12' maximum back wall height

Peninsula Booth

  • Minimum of two standard booths, usually 4 or more
  • Faces three aisles
  • Usually 16' maximum wall height but depends on show rules

Island Booth

  • Bordered on all four sides by aisles
  • Faces four aisles
  • Usually 16' maximum wall height but depends on show rules
  • Rule of Thumb:  20'x20' (40 sq. ft.)

Exhibit Lighting

  • 70-110 foot candles to light an exhibit hall

Floor Load

  • 300 pounds per sq. ft. on ground floors
  • 50 pounds per sq. ft. on upper floors

IV. BUDGETING

BEU = Break Even Units = Number of Attendees
BEP = Break Even Price = Cost Per Attendee
VC = Variable Costs
TFC = Total Fixed Costs
CF = Contribution Margin (Registration Fee-VC)

ROI = (Gross Revenue − Gross Expenses) ÷ Gross Expenses × 100

BEU = TFC ÷ CF

BEP = (TFC ÷ # of people) + VC Per Person

TFC = # Attendees × $ Per Attendee

** To make a dollar profit, add the desired profit dollar amount to the TFC in the above equation.
*** To make a percentage profit, add $ per attendee to VC and multiply by desired percentage profit

V.  AUDIO VISUAL

Formula One - First row of seats and last row of seats (2x8 rule)

  • No one should be seated closer than 2x screen height
  • No one should be seated farther than 8x screen height

Formula Two - Minimum Ceiling Height

  • Screen height + 4 or 5 feet (minimum distance floor to screen bottom)
  • Rule of Thumb:  5 feet

Formula Three - Screen Width

  • Overhead = 1:1 (8x8, 10x10)
  • Multi Image = 1:3 (6x18, 8x24, 10x30)
  • Slide = 2:3 (6x9, 8x12, 10x15)
  • Video = 3:4 (6x8, 9x12, 10.5x14)

VI.  Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance

General

  • Hallways and Corridors = 36" clearance and occasional spaces for turning/passes

Hotel Rooms

  • At least 2% barrier free; at least 1% of these having roll-in showers
  • Doors and hallways inside rooms have 32" clear openings
  • 32" clearance on at least one side of the bed
  • Sink mounted at least 29" above floor with toe clearance under drainpipe
  • Toilets no higher than 29"

Meeting Rooms

  • Doors have at least 32" clearance

Entrances, Corridors, Stairs

  • Approaches to building entrances at least 5' wide
  • Single door entrances minimum of 32" wide.
  • Double door entrances minimum of 48" wide

Elevators

  • Doors have 32" wide clearance
  • Space no greater than 1.25" between the floor and platform

Restaurants and Lounges

  • Self-service counters no more than 34" high
  • Aisle for buffets 36" wide

Public Restrooms

  • Flush controls no more than 44" from floor

Parking

  • Designated parking space within 200' of building
  • One designated space per 25 total spaces

Ramps, Curbs and Walks

  • Slope of all ramps is 1" of rise to every 12" of run
  • Ramps have 5' wide level landing at top and bottom

ADA Budget

  • 5-7 percent of overall accommodations budget

VII.  FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Continental Breakfast

  • One attendant and separate buffet table per 100 attendees
  • Breakpoint for second buffet = 120 attendees
  • Usually run 30 minutes to one hour

Full Breakfast Buffet

  • Usually runs about one hour

Refreshment Breaks

  • 30 minutes = minimum amount of time
  • One attendant per 100 attendees
  • Morning = 65% Hot/35% Cold
  • Afternoon = 35% Hot/65% Cold
  • 50-75% regular soft drinks
  • 25% diet soft drinks
  • Coffee = 20 cups per gallon
  • Coffee = 60% regular/40% decaf

Luncheons

  • Typical time = 1 hour 15 minutes to serve
  • Schedule 90 minutes

Banquets

  • Two hours per dinner service
  • Three bottles of wine per table of 8 (2 white and 1 red)
  • 1/2 bottle per person + 10% buffer
  • Every 10 bottles white=two red (opposite for red meat)
  • Wine Stewards = 1 for every 5 tables
  • Servers = 1 per 20 people (optimal), 1 per 32 (standard), 1 per 16 for upscale or with wine service
  • Rule of Thumb:  1 per 20

Receptions

  • One attendant per 50 guests
  • One bartender per 100 people if arriving in intervals
  • One bartender per 50 people if arriving as a group
  • Immediately following meeting - food consumption is less
  • Less food/more drinks if reception is prior to dinner

Type of Reception

Type of Eaters

# Hors d'Oeuvres
per person

2 hours or less (dinner following)

Light

3-4 pieces

Moderate

5-7 pieces

Heavy

8+ pieces

2 hours or less (no dinner)

Light

6-8 pieces

Moderate

10-12 pieces

Heavy

12+ pieces

2-3 hours
(no dinner)

Light

8-10 pieces

Moderate

10-12 pieces

Heavy

16+ pieces

Beverages

  • 21-25 drinks per bottle of liquor
  • 32 ounces to a quart
  • 50/50 soft/hard liquor consumption
  • Wine consumption = 3 glasses during a 2 hour reception
  • Women consume more wine than liquor
  • Cash bar will consume less than host bar
  • Cash Bar - before lunch - 30% will have 1 drink
  • Cash Bar - after meeting - 50% will stay and have 1.5 drinks (1 hour reception)
  • Hosted Bar - Cocktail Hour - 80% will stay and have 2-2.5 drinks in 1 hour
  • Hosted Bar - Cocktail Hour - 80% will stay and have 3-3.5 drinks in 1 1/2 hours

Source: Pam Soules, CMP Director of Events, Mid-States Distributing

Tags:  association management  conference  event planning  success  tips 

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Writing Successful Learning Objectives

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 26, 2019

Writing Successful Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are a best practice in training that, in their most basic form, are a statement of what learners should be able to accomplish by the end of a learning event. Additionally, they are a way for the presenter to clearly and transparently define the goals of the training. Creating no more than three to four specific learning objectives will allow the learner to self reflect throughout the learning event on his or her progress toward mastering the defined critical information.

In order to plan and implement an effective training program for professionals, it is important to understand and address the Principles of Adult Learning. Malcom Knowles’ research on the distinct characteristics of adult learners began in the 1950's and is the basis for the majority of adult learning theories. Adult learners have unique characteristics, as identified by Knowles, including that they are goal-oriented look for relevancy in their learning. Stating clear learning objectives for a training helps the learner identify the goals and desired outcomes of the training.

 

When constructing a learning objective, there are two distinct parts: the action verb and the performance standard. The action verb provides clear measures of mastery of demonstrable learning outcomes. Some examples of strong action verbs include: define, contrast, write, explain and evaluate. The action verb also reflects the rigor of the learning objective. Bloom’s Taxonomy, created in 1956 to encourage higher-level thinking, is an effective tool for trainers to ensure that they are creating rigorous learning objectives.

 

The bottom level of the taxonomy, known as the “knowledge” domain, represents low-level learning and includes action verbs including recall, define, recognize and list. As you move up the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the level of thinking required increases. Choosing action verbs in the different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy will help classify the cognitive level of learning to both the presenter and the learner.

The second part of creating a learning objective is determining the performance standard. A performance standard is the measure by which learners will demonstrate mastery. There are three types of learning objectives: cognitive, psychomotor and effective. Cognitive learning objectives aim to increase the participants’ general understanding of concepts and processes. Psychomotor learning objectives seek to determine whether a learner can accurately complete a task or demonstrate a skill. Finally, an effective objective is designed to influence attitudes and outlooks. Identifying the type of learning objective will assist the presenter in choosing the appropriate performance standard, instructional strategies and assessment tool, if applicable.

 

A poor example of a learning objective is, “Participants will be exposed to information about new laws passed in 2016 that impact public accountants.” The verb “exposed” does not indicate any measurable action for the learner to demonstrate mastery of the learning objective.

A good example of a learning objective is, “By the end of this training, learners will be able to identify the changes in the updated resuscitation guidelines.” The action verb of this objective is “identify” and the performance is pinpointing the changes in the updated resuscitation guidelines. The time frame noted at the beginning of the objective tells the learner when this learning goal should be met.

 

Learning objectives should be used in all effective learning events. Constructing a learning objective that has both an action verb and a performance standard will help learners identify the key information as well as the goals of the training. Encouraging trainers to promote their learning objectives will result in participants who are prepared to engage with the desired outcomes of the training.

Tags:  learning objectives  professional development 

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Tips for Subject Matter Experts

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 24, 2019
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Speaker Checklist for Effective Presentations

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 12, 2019
Untitled Document

Speaker Checklist for Effective Presentations




Engagement

  • Avoid starting the presentation stating, “Hi my name is… Today I’ll be talking about…”
  • Engage the learning at the beginning of the training.
    • Pose a question
    • Share a story: historical, personal, imaginative
    • Use an image: picture, video, comic
  • Share the “why” or purpose of the training; How will it benefit the learner?
  • Create at least one opportunity for learner collaboration throughout the training:
    • Turn and Talk: Pose a question and have partners share their answers
    • Participants respond on a shared document or in a chat box
    • Learners “teach back” the new information to each other
    • Groups work together to respond to specific scenarios
    • Live poll to collect group data
  • Allocate time for Q&A.

Powerpoint

  • Avoid using text only and long paragraphs in your slides.
  • Utilize images that support your key points.
  • Ensure the font, colors and size of the text can be read from the back of a room.
  • Spell check and proof-read slides.

Presentation Tips

  • Avoid reading the slides.
  • Practice slow, clear delivery.
  • Be aware of your nonverbal communication.
    • Create eye contact with audience
    • Positive tone
    • Stand and move around the room, if possible
    • Read the room for questions or confusion
  • Do not include commercial sales within your presentation.
  • Relax, breathe and have fun!

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The Science of Learning: Delivering Effective Training

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Research has found that the brain’s ability to retain information decreases over time exponentially, often referred to as Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve. After just a couple days, retention of new information can drop to around 40%. Utilizing instructional best practices including increasing interactivity and ensuring the training is relevant will help combat the forgetting curve. Understanding how the human brain processes information and how people learn will assist with…

Boredom inhibits learning

Boredom Inhibits Learning

  • Our brains are trained to pay attention to new and unusual inputs
  • Have you incorporated engagement strategies?
  • Is your instruction broken up into manageable chunks?
  • Collaboration – Get your audience involved; interactive experience is more memorable than passive
  • Have you “hooked” your audience with an engaging opening?


Short-Term Memories Are Temporary

Short-Term Memories Are Temporary

  • Learning must be repeated and revisited to be moved into long-term memory
  • Add checks for understanding to gauge understanding
  • Make connections between concepts to repeat learning in multiple scenarios


Learner driven

Learner-Driven

  • Ensures learning is applicable
  • Ownership over the learning and output
  • Active role in learning
  • Need to see relevance in learning as it is no longer required


Visuals are critical

Visuals are Critical

  • 80-90% of the information our brain processes comes in through our eyes
  • It takes about ¼ second for the brain to process and attach meaning to a symbol
  • The brain is capable of absorbing 36,000 images every minute
  • In contrast, it takes an average of 6 seconds to read 20-25 words.
  • One study found that a presentation that was delivered with visual aids was 43% more effective at getting people to take action than the same presentation was delivered without visuals.


Struggle is good

Struggle is Good

  • Creating challenge in learning requires the learner to do the mental heavy lifting.
  • Mistakes can be the most valuable teacher


Learning needs to be immediately relevant

Learning Needs to be Immediately Relevant

  • What is the added value and results for me?
  • Humans process hundreds of thousands of sensory inputs daily. In order to trigger the brain that it is valuable and should be retained, the information should be relevant and applicable. This is why learning objectives should be utilized.



Resources

https://www.growthengineering.co.uk/what-is-the-forgetting-curve/

https://www.td.org/insights/brain-rules-what-science-says-about-how-we-learn

https://trainingindustry.com/articles/content-development/how-the-brain-learns/

  1. Thorpe, S., Fize, D. & Marlot, C. (1996). Speed of processing in the human visual system, Nature, Vol 381.

https://prezi.com/the-science/

Learning and Leading with Habits of the Mind
Arthur l. Costa and Bena Kallick, Editors. 2008
https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/134369_e28dfbe4dc4643cfb9b5c44bf5f51574.pdf

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Testing. Testing. Testing: How A/B Tests Can Elevate Your Marketing

Posted By Laurie Pumper, CAE, Communication Director, Thursday, August 29, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2019

If you are using a marketing automation system for your association’s newsletters and promotional emails, you’ve probably seen how A/B testing can help you determine what subject line language resonates best with your audience. But A/B testing can extend to so many other elements of your emails.

Time of Day
Even if you don’t have a marketing automation system, you can test what time of day works best for your audience. Send an email on three to five separate dates at a certain time (let’s say 7 a.m., when members may be eating breakfast). Check your open rates. Now, for the next three to five emails in your schedule, try sending mid-morning. Or mid-afternoon or early evening. How do your open rates compare to the previous set? If you do have marketing automation, you can schedule your mailings to concurrently test one time versus a second time.

Day of Week
Just as with time of day, you can find results for the best day of the week even if you don’t have a marketing automation system. The results may surprise you. Despite conventional wisdom that Friday is a terrible day to send emails, some organizations that we work with have really good open rates on Fridays.

Button Color
Many marketing experts say that red and orange buttons are most likely to be clicked. While that may be the case with the public at large, our testing with one client found that a bright blue button consistently works better.

Call to Action
Every email should contain a strong message that offers readers a next step (Download Our Free Ebook, Become a Member Today, Register Now for Our Event). Different people respond better to different messages. Perhaps instead of “Become a Member,” your email will get better click-throughs with “Join Our Community” or “Find Your Professional Home Base.”

Length of Message
Whether it’s an email to promote an event or an email newsletter, you can use A/B testing to help determine whether your audience responds best to a message of 100 to 200 words or a longer message. This can be helpful if a committee chair continually sends you a conference promo that resembles a Tolstoy novel in length and plot intricacy.

Length of Subject Line
Most marketing experts will tell you to keep your subject line short. But some organizations have really detail-oriented audiences, where longer subject lines test stronger.

Emojis
Not all marketing automation systems allow emojis. But if you get emails from major retailers and social media outlets, you’ve probably seen emojis in subject lines. If it works for Facebook and Yelp, maybe it can work for you. If your audience is of a certain age, emojis may not be very popular…but you won’t know unless you test.

Other
Just because something hasn’t worked in the past doesn’t mean it will never work. Maybe your members hated emojis two years ago when you tried them. But maybe they’ve become accustomed to seeing them — or perhaps the demographics of your members have changed in that time. The corollary: just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work in the present or the future. Continue to test with your audience to make sure that your emails get the best possible results.

 

 

Tags:  A/B testing  marketing automation  split testing 

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What’s the Hullabaloo about Content Hubs?

Posted By Anna Wrisky, Tuesday, August 27, 2019

 

 

You keep hearing the phrase “content hub”, in articles and maybe even from your marketing communications team, but what is the hullabaloo about, isn’t it just a library? The answer is yes, and no. First things first. What exactly is a content hub?

According to Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel Digital“A content hub is a destination where website visitors can find branded, curated, social media, user generated, or any type of content related to a topic.”

Content Hubs are a great way to manage all your phenomenal content in a user-friendly manner. A well-designed content hub can neatly and aesthetically display your cumulative pieces in one location. They help you avoid the headache of multi-located content such as training videos only on YouTube, blogs on your WordPress site, and articles residing only in your journal or newsletter. Through content hubs, all these rich pieces that represent your brand become accessible in a single place! 

How is this different from a website? A website contains all the information a user may need to know about your brand and organization, including specific calls to action. A content hub is a resource area of a website, a one-stop shop to finding articles and media regarding a specific topic or by topic area. It’s also more encompassing than a blog, because there are multiple authors and different media formats, including articles, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and videos.

Some great examples:

Ewald Consulting is also working on content hub strategies and launches with our nonprofit clients using different technology platforms. We will be expanding our content hubs across our clients to better share resources, thought-leader articles, blog posts, enews, webinars, video, discussion forums and more.

One example is the Product Development and Management Association Knowledge Hub (kHub) which just launched. This is an example of offering member value by granting permission-based access to content and a discussion forum alongside the more typical Content Hub collateral such as articles, webinars and books.  

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a content hub is, let’s talk about the benefits of having one.

 

Brand Authority:

You work hard on the content that represents your brand. We have learned in past blog posts that carefully curated and tailored content communicates to your target audience that you are a thought leader in your industry. A content hub strengthens your brand, identity, and your authority in the field. By focusing on topics, your site becomes more relevant in search engines.

 

Building Connections and Engagement

It’s a community! When you have multiple authors and a multi-media hub it generates a following from audience members who prefer social posts, or podcasts, or people who like to comment on blog posts. A content hub can reach all of these audience members. Content Hubs promote engagement. Instead of an article living in a newsletter that’s read and forgotten, users can directly interact with the piece. A content hub is ideal for reading, commenting, sharing, tweeting, buying and so on.

 

Analytics

By now you know that your website analytics are a treasure trove of information that can break down how people are coming to and interacting with your website. Content hubs can help you further understand your audience’s interest! By tracking the performance of different pieces on your hub, you can discover which topics interest your audience, what’s driving traffic to your site, and preferred content types, then use this information to further tailor your content to meet the demand!

Take it from us, content hubs done well are complicated and need to be mapped out carefully within the right technology platform, site architecture and taxonomy. Without a clear plan from the start, things can go awry quickly. So now that you know what content hubs are and how they can help you elevate your organization, here are some quick ways you can get started:

  1. Define your goals: Be clear about how you want to utilize the hub and how you will measure the use of the platforms.  
  2. Define your audience: Examine your analytics and your target audience profiles. Create a hub that will fit the styles of communication preferred by your audience.
  3. Assess your content and your access to new content: What content do you have now that should migrate to the platform and what can be left behind? Determine a schedule and responsibilities for the creation and posting of new content.
  4. Create a strategy to organize your content: Make sure that you organize the content in a manner that is understandable, the best way to do this is usually done by topic and/or by the type of media.
  5. Determine which platform suits your needs: Maybe it’s your current website, maybe it’s a sub-domain, whatever it is use the above evaluations to help you determine the best fit for you.
  6. Design and Launch: Create your design layout and go for it!
  7. Maintain it! Determine how you will continue to add new content on a weekly basis at a minimum to keep the site fresh and vibrant. Don’t forget to track your analytics to fine tune your content to your audience’s needs.

Content hubs can give your organization a strategic advantage with your customers and stakeholders and a new way to drive engagement, community and conversation. 

Tags:  association management  content hub  content marketing  marketing strategy  member engagement 

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Analytic Trends in Associations Part II: Seasonal Trends

Posted By Mei Li Brown, Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Analytic Trends in Associations Part II: Seasonal Trends

In part one of Analytic Trends in Associations, we shared the results of a case study we performed by pulling analytics from 24 associations to capture general analytic trends . From the data, we acquired three key takeaways regarding associations:

  1. The average web visitor is new and not as likely to return to the site again after visiting once or twice;
  2. Associations have higher bounce rates due to heavy CTAs marketed on their sites; and
  3. Those who stay do on the site have high levels of engagement as indicated by their multiple page views per session and longer timestamps of web activity.

During the year, it’s important you also understand the trends of analytics during conference season. From the time the conference attendee registration launches to the day after the conference, we expect web traffic and engagement to increase substantially due to the heavy amount of information provided on the sites such as online registration, travel accommodations and the conference schedule.

We conducted another case study to analyze associations’ web analytics two months prior to conference as well as two months after. Data was pulled from a sample of 40 associations from July 2017 to August 2018. We analyzed the overall number of visitors, sessions, pageviews, average session duration, average time on page, and bounce rates to roughly gauge user interaction.

Here is what we discovered:

Total Users, Sessions, Pageviews

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Average Session Duration, Average Time on Page

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Before Event
The case study proved that web traffic and engagement improve leading up to the event. However, the overall average of increase wasn’t substantially large as initially thought. We may have seen a more substantial difference if we extended our data back farther and compared analytics to the main “off-season” month of each association. These associations have at least some sort of marketing plan that advertises the save the date well in advance before the official two-month launch date.

After Event
The post-event web analytics are where we started to see drastic decreases in web traffic. It’s important to note that this is not a bad thing , it just means less people are visiting the site because the main event of interest has passed. As long as the bounce rates and average session durations are decent, the website can still be viewed as performing well. In measuring association analytics, it is not about the quantity (i.e. the number of visitors, sessions, pageviews), it’s about the quality of engagement (i.e. the avg. time on page, avg. session duration, bounce rate).    

Conclusion
So what’s the takeaway from this study? These analytics prove that these associations’ annual events are the main driving force to the websites. While this is certainly not a negative, it helps us examine how we can improve our marketing strategy.

Associations need to be communicating with the membership on a regular basis. Annual networking and educational events should not be the only reason to send emails. Occasional newsletters, topical industry posts on social, and member campaigns are all ways you can engage the membership outside of conference without being overbearing. It keeps the association in the back of their mind and shows that you put effort into staying relevant.

Major event analytics are also a great reminder to make sure you are aware of your association’s analytics year-round. When you see anomalies in your data, you can account it for the annual conference or another large networking or education event. It’s when those anomalies aren’t accounted for by an event or campaign when you should start investigating on what is and is not working.

Tags:  analytic trends  Analytics  association analytic trends  Content Marketing  Marketing Strategy 

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