Attendee Contests and Crowdsourcing
How fun would it be to hold an online contest where exhibitors post 30-second videos of the best new products they’ll be showing at your event, and have attendees vote to select a winner? You know exhibitors would be sending emails to all their customers asking for votes – and thereby promoting your event. Maybe one of the videos would go viral in your industry and really build a buzz for your show.
And before you think this is probably too time-consuming or expensive – it’s free for non-profits, and launching a contest just takes a few minutes. Check out WomStreet.com, a competitive social media hub I’ve recently discovered and am working with.
An online contest enables you to engage with your community and promote your event through genuine peer-to-peer action. You put up an incentivizing prize, users submit entries and the community votes on their favorites. Participants are incentivized to share to social media channels in exchange for extra votes.
A new contest creation feature allows anyone to create and monitor a contest using an intuitive contest management dashboard. Every contest can then be accessed through a unique hyperlink. WomStreet has been used to crowdsource local, regional and nationally marketed events. Learn more here: http://www.edminsider.com/changing-the-game-is-big-gigantic-onto-something-madison-wi-2713/
In addition to creating buzz and interest in your event, WomStreet can also be used to really connect with your audience and discover what they value. Can’t decide on a keynote speaker? Let your attendees decide. Need to know which education topics are better for roundtable discussions vs. half-day seminars? Your industry can tell you. No surveys, no guessing the “right” answer, no additional work for your program committee – just immediate and relevant feedback using the wisdom of the crowd.
How it Works
Contests can be created around music, images or video. Organizers use their own social networks, set event dates, make rules and share prizes. Setup takes only minutes.
Once the organizer opens the site, entries can be submitted.
Voters get five votes to start, but can earn more when they share the event or entries with their own network. As new entries come in, voters are encouraged to revisit the site and vote more for their favorites.
The new, easier-to-use self-serve model of WomStreet is free for non-profits and event organizers promoting their own events. Plus, if there are sponsorship opportunities WomStreet will help you configure online ads and share that revenue with you as the event host – essentially making this a revenue center.
CrowdSource Event Ideas
What are some of your ideas for leveraging this innovative solution? I’ll start…
Ignite Contest: have participates record and post entries several months before the event to create buzz and interest in the event. You know, get people engaged early. Winner gets to attend this years or next year’s event for free.
Invite speakers to record a 5-minute topic and the winner gets invited to speak.
Invite Exhibitors to submit a 5-minute video on how they can help members and the winner gets a premier both and 5 minutes at the opening ceremonies.
To engage in others on this topic join us in one of the leading online communities for Event Professionals – www.Engage365.org. Membership is free. Join the Discussion here. The community is loaded with some of the most respected professional in the event industry. The Principals at WomStreet are also members and anxious to connect.
Crowdsourcing as been an interest of my for years. Feel free to reach out direct to me also.
Stuck in Neutral: Can your Association Break out of the Pit? March 18, 2013 by Anna Caraveli
The post identifies three main reasons associations are struck:
- Timid Vision – difficult to visualize relevance beyond increases in membership and participation.
- Inward Orientation – Even when there is a Leader with a vision membership organizations showed that the fundamental bureaucratic framework of most associations—their inside-out focus– is at odds with today’s market dynamics and, often, the leaders’ vision
- Denial about the source of critical problems – the same challenges have existed for over 15 years. Many associations invest resources in incremental improvements rather than deconstruct and re-think the basic elements of their model.
Ms. Caraveli concludes associations need to re-align them around one objective: helping your members and/or customers succeed.
I’d take it a step further and suggest associations need to define what success even looks like, and it will look different to different members, and what associations can do to help members achieve that success. That’s where innovation and value creation can occur.
So, trying to get my hands around why this is. Why are they stuck. It wasn’t until I saw this Ted talk from Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta that the problem and challenge is a society challenge.
One of Mr. Pallotta main points was: No 3 The Taking of Risk on New Revenue Ideas
Mr. Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done.
Associations leaders are reluctant to attempt to try and brave, new, daring, giant revenue generating ideas. Inhibit risk taking you kill innovate. If you can’t generate new revenue you can grow and can’t try to solve more problems.
A shocking statistics Mr. Pallotta shares was that number of Non-Profits that
Crossed the 50 million annual revenue barrier since 1970 is 144. The number of for-profits companies 46,136
Our mindset for non-profits is:
1. Makes us think “overhead” is not part of the “cause”.
2. Forces Charaities to forego what they need to grow
Success seams to be measured by how non-profits keep their overhead low. Not untill we change that mindset in our society will non-profits find the resources they need to grow.
What should we be asking of our associations? Mr. Pallotte said it: “Ask about the Scale of their Dreams. Apple, Amazon, Google scale dreams. How they measure their progress and what resources they need”.
By Becky Bushnell and David McKnight
While the Pew Research Center estimates that more than 80 percent of U.S. adults own a mobile device, my guess is almost 100 percent of businesspeople and professionals have one. Further, with 97 percent of text messages read within fifteen minutes of being received (Nielson Mobile), text messaging should be part of your event and member marketing and engagement strategy.
The most active people texting are those under 44. A group every association is looking to engage more.
For marketers, these 160 character SMS (short message service) messages are an excellent tool to reach your audience anytime, anywhere – whether it’s for events, interactive ads and contests, surveys or loyalty clubs.
Apps vs SMS
“Push Technology” or Mobile APPS get much of today’s attention for mobile solutions. APPS do provide endless ways to share content and engage users. Yet APPS require significant marketing and user adoption before you can begin to engage those users. Users also retain full control, including turning off notices and deleting the app whenever they want to.
APPS are also developed for specific mobile operating systems – iOS for iPhone and Android for most of the remaining phones. Each have multiple versions of these operating systems so getting mobile APPS to work on all phones is a technology challenge, and usually you will be required to not only pay for each version but make choices on which ones to support.
SMS is a universal APP that is already installed on 99% of phones – even phones that are not “Smartphones”. There is no additional software to load, update or support. Users discontinue receiving alerts from a specific provider by simply texting “STOP” to the provider.
Digital Publishing Innovation Series
You have two distribution methods to explore – mobile websites or APPS. Explore your options carefully but value creation isn’t in which one you use it what you do with it. The opportunity is to create a multi-sensory and engaging experience for your readers. Publications released in smaller chucks (see above) that bring together visual (images), text (reading, yes people still read), audio and video. Then engage people with surveys, quizzes, contests, links to new stuff and social media sharing (another way to create value with social).
These new forms of books require both the story telling skills of traditional publishers with the new visual arts and video. The smaller chucks allow people to consume in in todays “I only have 15 minutes”… or less.
Sell stuff – as shared here – share enough compelling content that reader will want to read more. Provide links to the longer read the reader can read at home after the kids are in bed.
First to be clear. What is an iPortal? An iPortal is an internet website site solution that provides access to a wide variety of content – books, reports, papers, audio, video, and any other digital content. iPortals can also be called Knowledge Center, KnowledgeBase, Digital Library, or some will brand the site with their own brand name.
The most common content for an iPortal are books. eBooks more specifically, but the smart site managers provide links to their eStore to buy the printed version too. It’s a great online eBook solution that can still be accessed by any device – all in your own branded site and again, the smart manager will share links to other products and services – conference website, learning management, eStore, etc.
Online Subscription Websites or iPortal solution is much more than just an online publishing solutions it also serves as a:
- Engage members with content that is easy to find and relevant to their needs
- Reach a wider audience by making content discoverable.
- Content Marketing – We all see how much money is being spent by many organizations on Content Marketing. Well the good news is few do it well (great content) and even fewer have any way to organize the content.
- Lead Generation – by using access control you can capture visitor details – name and email address – could be your future members.
- Talk about a great way to make sure people know about the products and services your organization can provide (yes, selling) – learning management, conferences, consulting, services, all of it.
- If you aren’t still drinking the cool-aid and believe that publishing your event content on line – before, during and after the event will cannibalize your event – then this could be a great tool for people to discover the conference, explore it and get excited to attend.
- It’s a great way to add value to a conference too… so much to see and learn… it would nice to have easy access to all the presentation and exhibitor materials from your own home, office or on site..
- Document Management – with so much information an iPortal can be used to securely share access to your documents.
- Chapters, Groups, Committees – all have a tool to organize their content.
I’m sure other applications exist. Image – if your staff had a tool to post any kind of digital media and decide what access controls are needed (free, paid, group restricts)… how else could you use it?
Full disclosure: While the text below the image suggest you “Just Do It”…there are clear and proven steps we use a NotionPath to help an organization identify the technology and build a highly customized online solution that bits your needs and budget. By “Just Do It” we really mean you can’t afford to sit on the sidelines – get in the game and make the magic of “content discovery” happen.
We have been hearing the demise of print for 25 years. Clearly, print is declining drastically the last 10 years and accelerated upon the introduction of the iPad. I need to give Paul Canetti of eContent for his recent use of the phase “Print Commits Suicide”. He points out that over next couple of years publishers will abandon print only because print revenues are declining but more importantly to put those resources towards digital products. The publisher makes the choice to kill print, not the reader. He’s right, to embrace innovation, print most go for many.
We are not talking about Novels but educational content. It’s been well proven that education improves when multiple senses are engaged. Digital publishing offers publishers new ways to educate, inform and engage readers in ways a print can not. It’s in the pursuit of these new ways to educate that print will be discontinued to focus on more innovative ways to connect with readers and more specifically – learners.
Digital Publishing Innovation Series Description – this is the first post of hopefully many where NotionPath experts will be sharing innovative ideas for publishers, associations and corporations. Join us on the NotionPath Blog for regular posts subtitled “Digital Publishing Innovation Series”.
If you are a publisher or association, or a corporation looking to embrace the digital transformation in digital publishing – what should you be doing? Ideas that allows all publishers to increase revenue, attract more readers (members, customers, learners), share more value and leverage social media to create value. Stay with us at NotionPath as we share some radical and innovative ideas. Interested?
Next in the series…
Bundling and Unbundling – Breaking Content Down
Mobile First Publishing
…can’t wait? Call me and I’ll share an advance viewing!
Do you have ideas?? Share them with the NotionPath readers and become a guest blogger.
Part 2 of 4 on Innovation
Having success in publishing is an intentional process. Like any great meal there are fresh ingredients, a careful process of preparation, timing and patience to get it right. But like any process worth doing there are building blocks for any good cook to consider. The following are the issues your team needs to discuss when looking at online ePublishing Content Management Systems, or for short because we love acronyms - ePubCMS (electronic publishing content management system)
Focus on Content First
- Quality – no short cuts, sustainability starts here.
- Quality in conversion and presentation. Stress the little stuff – don’t cut corners. If you make it hard for your audience to read – they will move on.
- Curation – develop strong relationships with authors and be prepared to lead them. If you are begging for content and authors/speakers – take another look at your overall goals and objectives.
- Workflow – reducing costs and improving speed are critical today. The more “common’ your knowledge the more critical will be operation efficiency and speed to market. Operation Efficiency includes positioning yourself to meet the distribution needs of your audience.
- Distribution – Deliver what they want, when they want it and HOW they want it. You may not be able to meet all needs but the new norm for publishing is reader options. Make sure you have strategies to reach any device – desktop, laptop, tablets, eReaders and smartphones. Actual “reading” may not occur on all but discovering and searching might.
Types of Content
One of the most challenging and impactful questions organizations need to make is the decision on if they are prepared to make a commitment to XML. XML and their related cousins HTML5 and ePub are the future of publishing but do require a commitment by your staff to change their tools and workflows as well as the cost to convert existing content to these new formats.
The three primary advantages of XML are
1) it allows you to more cost effectively transform and convert content to a number of forms without expensive and time consuming conversion costs
2)it provides structure to content making it easier to reorganize content into micro-transactions and bundling (discussed later)
3) Content is fully searchable if you allow it to be (PDF, Word, PowerPoint and other types of documents are typically not searchable online).
Publishers that are publishing ten’s of thousands of pages annually should strongly consider XML. In doing so make sure you are considering the entire workflow and are willing to invest in the technology, training for existing staff and have a strong conversion partner to help get going. A company to look at for solution ideas is RSI Content Solutions and their Rsuite product.
Content conversion expertise is also needed by many and a leaders in thought leadership her is Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc DCL.
If your organization does have a significant amount of content to warrant investment in a publishing CMS another unique provider is Tizra. The Tizra CMS platform allows you to publish standard PDF making the contents fully searchable yet retain the original structure of the file for displaying and printing. The Tizra CMS platform provides all of the access control and eCommerce you would expect and then some, pre-configured in the CMS. It also includes a user friendly maintenance utility to allow non-technical staff to manage the site.
Not all Publishers need a special “publishing” CMS. Many open sources and fee based CMS’s can work with varying limitations. The caution here is to have a good clear understanding of the feature you need (I go into detail with these next) so that you can make informed decisions on the cost to build those features into your CMS or if it is worth making the investment in a publishing CMS that has these features built in.
Features – what solutions must do:
- Discoverability: can your content be found on google (and other search engines). While SEO is important for any publisher content rules search engines. While still providing access control (discussed later) the more “content” that can be searched and indexed by search engines the better will be your search rankings. Plus, if buyers can not discover your content – how will they know they can buy it?
- Search ability and Organization – two of the most important things organizations can provide is the ability to search and find content easily. A central content knowledge center or portal where ALL of your content can be found then directed to the appropriate place – conference site, learning management, eStore – wherever, places a lot of power in the hands of your members and audience to quickly find what they need.
- Access Control – Maybe the key feature that is also VERY expensive to build is the ability for a online content management system to manage access. For many organizations where there is value in content to capture, it is critical that access be controlled. The magic is discoverability + access control. The types of access control is also critical in the types of products you can provide – subscription, download – see blog post Monetization Strategies for a list.
- Meta-Data – Meta-Data is information that describes other information. Typically it can include title, authors, page count or length, ISBN number, description and many other pieces of data that describe the content itself. This data is useful to the ePubCMS software for organization and searching.
- Micro-Transactions – the iTunes model. A good ePubCMS solution will allow you to break down content in it’s lost consumable form. Much like iTunes changed how music is sold, digital content manage system can allow readers to access and buy content in smaller units (individual secession or chapters).
- Bundling – sort of the opposite of Micro-Transactions is the ability to create new products by bundling content together. Getting access to multiple volumes, tracks of a conference, combination of related books, the printed and digital versions of publications. It’s all about giving readers the ability to purchase content the way they value it.
- eCommerce – the biggest challenge with eCommerce is a combination of making it easy for readers to buy giving the seller the most return on their dollar with clear reporting on tractions.
- Easy – this process needs to be as much like amazon and ebay as possible. When your products have multiple pricing (member vs nonmember the system should calculate that automatically.
- Return on the Dollar – many vendors will take a percentage of the sales price as compensation. Other solutions simply require your merchant account and all sales less credit card costs are deposited into your account. Sellers need to weigh the upfront costs to build/acquire the technology with sharing of revenues. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your market or you may be leaving a significant amount of profits in the hands of your vendors. Vendors themselves have to weigh the risk of enough sales to justify their costs. If they work with you, and they won’t if they don’t think your content will sell, they are already betting that their percentage of the sales will be profitable for them.
- Buying Analytics – it is critical to have a clear view of what’s selling and what’s not. Good Content Managers (the people managing the site in this case) will act on sales data to help feature high selling products to attract buyers. Providing timely feedback to the rest of the organization on what’s hot and what’s not is critical for each area of the organization to improve it’s content creation.
NOTE on Integration: A common challenge when first implementing these solutions is the relationship to an existing eStore and integrating the new ePubCMS solution with your accounting systems. Because a good ePubCMS solution should be able to allow you to create hundreds, maybe thousands, it may be difficult and time consuming to put all those products into your eStore. Integration could be simplified by simply exporting a excel file with sale data and importing that into your accounting software. Bottomline, make sure the time and expense of integration translates to time savings or faster access to data to offset the cost of integration.
- Branding – a key issues and certainly not one of the least is branding. It is critical for any organization who owns their brand that buyers and consumers are well aware of the site they are on and who is bringing them access to that content. For lead Generation it is critical and for most organizations there is so much more to their organization than just the ePubCMS solution that you want people to know they are in your house. Solutions that restrict or serious limit your ability to control the look and feel should be concerned they are giving away value. It also adds some responsibility to own this because usability and design are in your hands.
- Site Management – the next most costly feature for any ePubCMS, next only to access control, is the maintenance of the site. Non-technical users should be able to perform all actions to upload, modify and remove. That includes easily changing price, adding products, and changing the location of content on the site. Design and branding of the site may require some technical skills, but not most day to day management of the site.
Workflow solutions may also be a need of an organization. Typically it is driven by the volume of content being managed. For many – excel and a good online document manage tool like drop box, may be all that’s needed. The biggest challenge most likely will be to keep content that’s being worked on separate from content ready to be published. Creating directory structures and file naming conventions can help.
The decision making process when you need a workflow solution is not just how much time it will save but also quality by reducing mistakes. For an organization to see the full benefits of a workflow solution the entire team needs to be trained on how to use it.
Integration with Other Solution
eCommerce integration was already discussed above. The other most common integration is with an AMS (Association Management Solution) or other CRM solution (customer relationship management). Single-Sign-On is becoming a standard and quality solutions will have support for a few different methods to connect with other technologies.
Many of the other common technologies like Learning Management Systems (LMS) can be simple in that there are links from the ePubCMS driving into the LMS.
Your decision on what Content Management Systems (CMS) you use will be a major factor in your ability to embrace online digital publishing. There are many CMS solutions to consider. Most CMS’s were designed to manage hundreds of webpages….not thousands, or ten’s of thousands or even hundred’s of thousands of page of content.
It is important for the non-programmer to realize a CMS is only a collection of tools and an architecture to create more tools (sometimes at your expense, sometime free as open source). Many publishers purchase a CMS and then realize their staff does not have the skills or the CMS won’t support the feature needed to fully be on online publisher.
Share your creative ideas on how your organization and innovate with your digital publishing efforts?
Many Membership Based Organizations (MBO) are struggling to maintain their membership levels. There is pressure coming from many reasons – generation issues, the availability of information online and free, less support for membership by employers cutting budgets, travel to conferences less desirable or affordable, value proposition of the association isn’t clear, association slow to innovate new models to meet these changes.
A big opportunity for Associations, and Publishers for that matter, are creating a business model that still allows people to engage and invest based on their own level of value. Some professionals may only be willing to in vest $25 a year to get what they value… while others may invest twice what membership today costs.
The solution has four core components.
1) Subscription Management – the challenge here is offering hundreds maybe thousands of subscription products. You can still drive readers to you eCommerce site to buy books or other products as well as your learning management solution or other websites. Let alone offing and subscriptions for individual users, groups, organizations, and institutions.
2) Branding – it your content and it should be your organizations website. Readers should feel like that have never left your “brand” your site. Doing so also give you complete control of not just the experience but also of additional ways to deliver value (share other products, conferences, events, learning management, related content…just to start with).
3) Discoverability – Connect with a much greater audience and allow readers to find your premium content on an Internet search. Matter of fact, content trumps SEO. I’ll repeat that – CONTENT trumps SEO. Ask Google. I’m not discounting the value of SEO but organizations can and are dominating search engine results allowing their content inventory to be searched. But I’m not saying giving it away – just discoverable. The key is access control. Don’t under estimate the expense of providing robust access controls!
4) Site Managed by Staff (your association experts) – The website solution can be easily managed by association non-technical staff. Your IT team doesn’t need to manage the site just help support it. And managing of these sites should be in the hands of publications, conferences and marketing – it’s their tool to engage and inform. Empower them.
It’s time to innovate not just to survive instead, to grow. Associations have a huge advantage in that they know community and they are content creation machines. Content is core to most associations – it would seam to be to be a perfect place to focus your innovation efforts in a way that touches your entire organization.
Are you ready to innovate?
I was asked recently, by a friend in the UK, who is attending A New Year with New Challenges Conference run by MemNet.biz this week to share my ideas for the conference.
When he came back with the summary I used as the title to this blog – well I thought this was blog worthy, so I’m sharing. The question, when thinking about challenges for Associations -
What would be your 2013 hot topics?
Here are my hot topics…
Thinking more broadly about the audience or community associations wish to attract. Rethinking what membership is or not having a membership at all and fund the organization by revenue coming in from many sources (buy what they want to). Clearly this is not an over night change…but a strategy to explore this sounds like a good idea to understand (see the next two ideas).
Use content to extract value differently
- Led generation (use older content and share worldly to connect with Prospects – add to email lists)
- Bundle content to appear to groups of people based on common interests
- Micro-transaction (iTunes) – sell access to the lower possible piece – for example sell by: chapter, session, paper.
Invest in Innovation by establishing an innovation process, for example SolutionPeople, that brings together diverse groups of people, recognizing everyone’s value, and have the Executives and Board commit to making changes (no hot air). If a committee is set up it only manages the process – not the ideas or implementation of the ideas. Some of the best ideas will come from staff if empowered to share, play with, test, explore and USE their ideas.
OK, your turn, what are your hot topics??
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