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Expo! Expo! Speaker Spotlight on Scott Kesselman

Scott Kesselman discusses the takeaways attendees will gain at the session he will be presenting during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2023 on 5-7 December in Dallas, Texas.

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Senior Communications and Content Manager

Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2023 features a three-day educational journey covering seven diverse content tracks, including this impactful session led by Scott Kesselman titled Let User-Generated Content Supercharge Your Event Marketing. Developing promotional content can be one of the more challenging aspects of event marketing. It’s straightforward to talk about the features: the statistics, the schedule, the learning formats, networking events, the space, the food, etc. – but this only covers the surface.

The real value and substance of the conference comes from the expertise, the people and the conversations that will be there. But how do you convey that? It is unrealistic to have the bandwidth and expertise internally to generate the kind of detailed and informative content to encapsulate your event, especially at scale.

Scott will dive into implementing efficient systems that leverage speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, and even general attendees to create engaging user-generated content that illustrates the true value of your event for all attendee types. Leveraging user-generated content exponentially increases the amount of quality content about your event without overburdening staff and has multiplicative benefits including SEO, social sharing, tapping into new networks, and creating more engagement and value for your exhibitors and speakers.

Here, Scott shares a preview of how participants will benefit from the information presented at Let User-Generated Content Supercharge Your Event Marketing.

In this session, attendees will understand various user-generated content opportunities and how to adapt these strategies for their events. Where do you think the disconnect often happens in this process and what makes your approach so successful?

Scott: We have to think about user generated content (UGC) very differently from content we are creating in house. We are often relying on groups that may have little incentive and almost no accountability to stick to our process.

This blog post is a great example of user generated content. In this meta scenario, IAEE is leveraging its Expo! Expo! speakers to produce content—and I’m the user generating the content who is writing about user generated content! Now, I may or may not have submitted this content later than was requested. IAEE may have wanted to include a call to action to promote a specific deadline and my hypothetical delinquency may have derailed that plan. I’m just not as accountable in this process as an IAEE employee would be.

Even once you can identify external groups that can create content for you and have a clear idea of the kind of content you are looking for – the biggest disconnect occurs in developing the ask and the process around which you activate your users so that you can encourage participation and also stay flexible in the process to account for varying degrees of quality, adherence to schedules and instructions, etc.

You will also teach attendees how to implement efficient user-generated content programs including requesting, collecting and organizing content. Why is this important?

Scott: When leveraging user generated content (UGC) for marketing, one of the most significant benefits is reduction in staff time needed to develop and publish new content. If we aren’t efficient as we implement UGC programs, we may be limiting or even eliminating this benefit. We may spend too much time identifying contributors and then sending requests to participate and communications back and forth with instructions, details, and questions. We may not have an easy way for them to complete and provide us with the content. We may not have a streamlined way of accepting, storing, formatting, and sharing the content internally. Depending on how we set things up, we may also need to spend significant time editing content. All of these inefficiencies can add up to make your UGC take even longer to produce than original in-house content.

Attendees will also learn to formulate user-generated content publishing and distribution plans that will maximize the content’s benefits. What are the greatest advantages participants will gain by applying this strategy?

Scott: The first part of this builds off the last question and requires a streamlined publishing process. You don’t want to overextend staff resources to post and publish your UGC especially at scale. You also have to think about some of this as you are formatting your instructions or templates for contributors – knowing what will make it easy for you on the backend to publish. There are some fun tips and tricks here.

Some of this involves your existing publishing workflows. Do you have a COPE (create once publish everywhere) system/methodology in place? We have to do our best here to work within our technological capabilities and make the most of what we have, but what are some things that we can do to make it easy to use the content we are collecting across many channels?

The last part of this is unique to UGC in that we also need to consider how we can use the creators as an additional channel. How can we encourage them and make it easy for them to share or reshare the content once published?

Through all of this we are continuing to make the most of our time and should see greater returns across inbound and outbound web traffic, increased social capital, and ultimately more registrations and exhibitor sign-ups for our events.

What fuels your passion for this subject, and why is this information so relevant in today’s business environment?

Scott: When I started my career in associations, I never really had a budget – but I had big ideas and wanted to make a difference. I always sought ways to make a significant impact as efficiently and economically as possible. This philosophy has always stuck with me and in considering how best to apply it to event marketing, UGC comes to mind first.

I’ve been fortunate to source some really cool content over my career using an array of tools, including getting video footage from study abroad students all over the globe. All of these experiences have brought me to a place where I think UGC should play an integral role in every event’s marketing strategy, and I hope my session can be a place for us to come together and discuss how we can best approach that. I know most of us have challenges and successes to share related to this concept, and I can’t wait to provide a framework and a jumping off point to discuss that further with attendees.

Expo! Expo! is THE PLACE TO BE to learn about the latest industry trends and technology, as well as network with professional peers. Find more information here including how to take advantage of the BE SMART registration rate through 20 October as well as special promos for IAEE members.

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