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Make trade events deliver in 2009 (Cece Lee)

Tradebooth
Drew’s Note:
  As I try to do every Friday, I’m pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares her insights via
the blogosphere. So without further ado
Cece Lee.  Again. Enjoy!

As companies prepare to reduce travel and marketing budgets, marketers will be seeking ways to get the most out of the physical events that they’re committed to in 2009. Physical events, such as product demonstrations, summits, conferences and trade shows, are an integral part of one’s lead generation efforts.

When you prepare to attend a conference or trade show in 2009, the goal is no longer to set-up your booth at a conference. It’s how do you create a PR strategy to fully take advantage of your time at that event?

Public relations is a cost-effective way to promote your participation at any conference or trade show. When married with your in-person presence, you can make the most of your participation in 2009.

Here are three ways to maximize your participation:

Research speaking opportunities at the conference
Speaking at a conference is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. While securing your exhibit space or sponsorship, ask about speaking opportunities – either as part of your participation or how to submit a topic for consideration.

In the case the conference has a speaker proposal process (a call for speakers or proposals), the key to securing a speaking opportunity depends on relevancy, timeliness and educational value of your proposal. Research key issues within your industry or consider inviting a customer to present with you at the conference. Also highlight the top three or five action items that attendees will learn from hearing your presentation.

After submitting the proposal for consideration, continue following up with the organizer to inquire about the status and get feedback about your proposal. Through these conversations, you may be able to amend your proposal accordingly or uncover additional opportunities that you were previously unaware of.

Unfortunately, organizers receive about 10 proposals for each speaking opportunity. While you proposal may not be accepted initially, don’t assume that concludes your efforts with the organizer.

Due to family emergencies, illness or urgent business meetings, speakers do cancel occasionally. Check in with the organizer about 1 month before the conference to inquire about cancellations. Or due to your conversations with the organizer, you may get a call the day before the conference to step in for a speaker!

Write and distribute a press release
An event based press release highlights the what, when and where of your participation. By posting the release on a free or paid newswire, you increase your online presence as a newswire can distribute your release to an average of 12 – 20 online websites.

Due to the distribution of the release, you also have to consider the search engine optimization impact of the release. Evaluate which keywords drive traffic to your website or are frequently search terms for your industry.

To increase the relevancy of your release in search engine searches, incorporate these 5-10 keywords in your press release. Furthermore, hyperlink key phrases to related pages on your website. Like keyword relevancy, search engines also look at the number of external links pointing to your website.

Besides posting the release on your website, the press release is also a great opportunity to connect with your customers or prospects. While they may not be able to attend in person, this provides an excellent way to stay top of mind when they are ready to purchase your solutions and services.

Connect with media and bloggers
While you’re inquiring about speaking opportunities, ask about previous or anticipated media attendees at the event. Since these reporters (I include bloggers as reporters) are taking time to attend the event, you know that they are interested in the event’s content.

In case the organizer doesn’t have a media list, then reach out to local media about the upcoming event or do a quick search on Alltop.com, a website that lists the top blogs on specific topics, to find a short list of bloggers writing on your industry.

Before contacting each reporter directly, first research what she has written on in the past. Does she look at products only or does she write trend pieces? She may have also included pointers on how to contact her such as likes and dislikes. By arming yourself with this information, you can send a targeted email introducing your company, why she would be interested in your company and invite her to meet at the conference.

While I don’t suggest attaching any press releases or photos, I do recommend including a link to a relevant press release or offer to provide photos to enhance the article visually.

Conclusion
I don’t believe that physical events will disappear as marketers reevaluate their budgets. Rather, it’s how can you do more with less. Public relations is an inexpensive way for you to get the most out of your event participation.

Cece Lee is the author of PR Meets Marketing blog and senior marketing communications manager with ON24. While not writing posts for her blog or working, Cece enjoy taking care of the newest addition to the family – Snowy, a white goffin. Note: The thoughts expressed in this posting are not representative of ON24 and are personal views of the author.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew’s Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.


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Blogging Idol 2: Show Time

blogging idol

All right guys, it is show time!

The competitors have until November 30th to gain as many RSS subscribers as they manage to, using all sorts of strategies and techniques. The just can’t use blackhat methods (i.e. spamming, faking stats) or spend money on the promotion. I have set a single page to host the live scoreboard.

Click here to see the live scoreboard

You will notice that on the bottom of the right sidebar has the Blogging Idol logo now too. It will remain there during the whole competition, and you can click on it to go to the live scoreboard.

Problems with applications

Around 30 people who sent an application failed to meet the only requirement we had: to have the feedburner feed count enabled.

If you had the problem, you can still fix it and re-email me your application. Just head to Feedburner.com, register an account with your feed, and activate the “Feed Count” feature under the “Publicize” tab.

Also, if somehow you sent an application, had the feed count enabled but are not listed on the live scoreboard, let me know as well and I will add you.

The Rules

1. Any blog or website with 2,000 RSS readers or fewer can participate. One blog per competitor only. (participant blogs must have the Feedburner feed count enabled)

2. The competition runs from November 1st until November 30th. During that period, 7 points will be awarded to the competitors, on the following way:

  • 1 point to the competitor with the highest increase on the number of RSS subscribers
  • 3 points to the competitors (one for each) with the highest number of votes on the open voting session
  • 3 points awarded by a panel of judges

3. The criteria for the voting session and for the judge points will be: the most clever and effective strategy for gaining RSS subscribers and for promoting the blog. Paid and blackhat promotional methods are not allowed.

4. On November 30th, the blogger with more points (it will probably be 3 or 2 points) will be declared the winner and receive the prizes. The second and third places will also receive prizes.

Other Information

The open voting session will take take during the 2nd or 3rd week of the competition, so stay tuned for that.

I will be posting weekly updates on the competition, and the competitors that want to showcase their strategies or techniques to our readers can do so by sending me an email. Make it between 100 and 200 words please. I will then include it on the following report.

Finally, competitors that have already migrated their feed to Google (feedproxy.google.com) might see a slow delay on their numbers, because I will need to update those manually, since Google does not support the Feedburner API. I will try to update them every 2 or 3 days though.

That is pretty much it. If you have any questions let me know.

Good luck to everyone!


Copyright by Daily Blog Tips.

Blogging Idol 2: Show Time

The decline of newspaper popularity has been attributed to the rise of the internet and the proliferation of web-based content. With an extremely low barrier of entry and variable cost, the web allows anyone with a computer to become an independent publisher: As a result, the amount and variety of content online far exceeds print publications in most fields.

So how can newspapers survive and do well as a business in the future? Perhaps by cutting back and going more niche to provide content that features deeper analysis and investigative reporting. In an article entitled ‘The Elite Newspaper of the Future’, Philip Meyer suggests that the money and audience comes from specialized, not general media.

This particular quote explains in greater detail:

I still believe that a newspaper’s most important product, the product least vulnerable to substitution, is community influence. It gains this influence by being the trusted source for locally produced news, analysis and investigative reporting about public affairs. This influence makes it more attractive to advertisers.

By news, I don’t mean stenographic coverage of public meetings, channeling press releases or listing unanalyzed collections of facts. The old hunter-gatherer model of journalism is no longer sufficient. Now that information is so plentiful, we don’t need new information so much as help in processing what’s already available.

Just as the development of modern agriculture led to a demand for varieties of processed food, the information age has created a demand for processed information. We need someone to put it into context, give it theoretical framing and suggest ways to act on it.

Scaling back on the all-you-can-eat content buffet in favor of more exclusive material does not just appeal to a hardcore audience.  People get their information from one another, not just through the direct consumption of media. Catering to the leadership audience, the well-educated news junkies and opinion leaders, will help spread your content in the long run.

Will this topical specialization make newspapers profitable? Maybe. If newspapers can’t compete with blogs and online news sites in terms of speed and variety, perhaps they can trump them in terms of depth or trust. After all, feature-length content with solid, investigative reporting is not something you’ll often find on most blogs or personal sites on the web.

Daily newspapers will always be around, although they will be read less as more people come to have persistent access to the internet. A newspaper gives you the opinion of the journalist, but a blog throws in the comments of other readers. The web also gives you instant social interactivity, which is appealing for people who want to connect over what they’ve read.

To be able to share an opinion on what you’ve just read is enormously satisfying. Good content can be one-way but I think its increasingly important to socialize information and make it a facilitator for communal interaction. Print publications of the future would do well to consider developing some form of an online component to complement their offline product.

On the other hand, the problem of information overload is very real. Just think about it. More and more online/print publications are created everyday: to track and read many of them is very time consuming. People will be forced to pick and choose what to read. Some blogs will get dropped from a feed reader, others will remain. It’s easy to predict who survives.

Blogs that just repeat information already published elsewhere are providing value that can be substituted. To put it another way, these sites are completely dispensable. They lose out when a choice has to be made due to time/attention scarcity. These sites are usually the ones that just regurgitate content released on mainstream media or other larger blogs. Their identity is virtually unrecognizable. A great logo and design won’t save them.

Sites that serve as a comprehensive and reliable filter of information on a topic will be read, but they’ll always have to compete with other fast-paced news publishers. To aggregate information is incredibly easy. To process, analyze and situate it within a big picture context while offering an intriguing/unique perspective is considerably more difficult.

Those who can do so will be trusted: they are a valuable knowledge asset for any reader.

Detailed, unique content immediately stands out on its own, even without extensive  marketing efforts. People don’t just want to be informed, they want to better grasp a topic in all its nuances. The joy of consumption lies not only in the skimming of a news story but the processing of new perspectives to enrich a personal worldview or professional need.

Publications that provide such content will always have an audience. In the end, it’s just a natural consequence that results from the consumer’s problem of information overload.

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The Future of Content in the Age of Information Overload

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Journalists Struggle With New Media

Reporters are complaining that news organizations are burning them out by making them use more and different types of technology to tell their stories, journalists said at a National Press Club Forum this week.

 Journalists charge there is little evidence that new technology is bringing in enough revenue to save jobs and support the news business.

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In today’s podcast, Brian Rodgers and Scott Paton discuss real estate investing with Rick Hernandez of http://www.BestIowaHomes.com. How to use 1031 Exchanges to grow your real estate portfolio.

Discover how to get higher cash flow from rent-to-own with tax deferred money. Learn about a neglected real estate niche for realtors.

Free report : “The Sane Marketing Manefesto”.

Length: 47:54

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