How To Add Tangible Value To Digital Events
Over wine one evening (how all great ideas are created, right?) sat four friends who were discussing how their careers in online marketing and branding had influenced relationships in their personal lives and they all noticed a common theme. We were all known for being "us" rather than what role we were filling at the time. It was our personal brand that was bringing us opportunities to speak, attend events, represent brands, and many opportunities outside of the ordinary.
Maybe we could share this with other people, right? We decided to take our show on the road and were invited to speak on a panel for Venture Cafe STL in 2016. To make sure we stood out, our group brainstormed about ways we could take this ordinary panel to the next level.
How To Take An Event To The Next Level
Two big ideas came out of it that have people still commenting to me about it almost 20 months later, and they both came from the idea of adding some sort of interactivity to a typical and expected presentation style and adding some lasting value. (I won't use the buzzword of 2016, disruption, don't worry.) Get people moving and talking. Well, with some many people signing up for the event, we wanted to leave adequate time for interaction and with so many people, that wasn't possible. Onto Plan B.
We really wanted to continue to add value after the panel was over; it's only an hour of time — how do you impact people in the hours, days, weeks, months following it. How do you keep that just-got-out-of-a-really-great-event high in the time that follows? And how to continue to inspire behavior or action?
The Take-Home Worksheet Was Born
As a big fan of worksheets and checklists, I suggested a take-home worksheet. There are many fun questions to help discover your brand and five minutes just isn't enough time to come to any conclusions.
To facilitate a better user experience, we challenged people to take home the worksheet and fill it out. It's better to actually add value to the attendees' lives and leave them feeling like they got something out of it rather than to rush the process for our own gain.
To continue adding value and [morally] promoting things that could add actual value (no hawking of goods here!), we were working on the board of the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference and Brianna Smith, the conference's Executive Director, arranged for us to do a ticket giveaway contest for people that filled out the worksheet and posted it on social media using #STLMarketingGals & #MDMC.
The Value for Us
It should always be with the user's best experience first, but any marketing effort is rarely in vain. Taking their sheet with them as homework also allowed them to remember us, remember the conference, and feel the value and satisfaction in their own comfortable environment. Some people posted the worksheet on their office wall as daily reminders — something that brought great joy to hear!
Related 📖: Make sure you can answer these 17 Vital Branding Questions And Exercises!
Worksheet Inspiration And Creation Process
By focusing on making a tool that can help people be better people, they will, in turn, have more professional success. The worksheet content was based on health, connection, productivity, and other mindful, gratitude-based philosophies that had personally impacted me.
I created the worksheet in Canva, made sure our handles and hashtags were visible, and also included instructions for how to enter the contest; helping promote MDMC for the generous donation was important, too, and it gave people the chance to attend who might not have been able to or had not been exposed to it yet.
Just Expanding Horizons All Over The Place
The hashtag and contest idea also came from wanting to expand our community of local marketers supporting each other, so the contest was a way to show that people are doing things like to-do lists, goal setting, gratitude, etc. It makes it OK or "cool" to try it, and then it also got us some social media engagement!
💡 Tip 💡: Contests are great ways to identify your platform audiences who will take action and what their motivations are. Take note of who participates and in what ways.
How have you added lasting value to in-person events? Have you ever had something that stuck with you? Why is that? Let me know if the comments below!