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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Outreach Strategy for New Media Conferences/Trainings

Having worked on the convening of several conferences involving new media, I've been asked  by a few people who are also convening new media trainings and conferences to provide them with some tips.  Here is a simple three pronged strategy that I recommend.

Strategy #1: Engage community leaders in the recruitment process
  • Debrief with folks who have helped to organize this kind of training before, key stakeholders and past participants to get feedback (what worked/what didn't) and get buy in.  Form a host/convening committee comprised of leaders from each of the targeted communities.  Each member of the host/convening committee could be responsible for a certain target/# of individuals to do outreach to (the assumption here being that a certain percentage would respond in the affirmative to the outreach.)  Manage this by way of a shared Google Excel spreadsheet on which each of the conveners can track their progress - name of contact, actions, status, etc. 
Strategy #2: Use earned and paid media to create awareness and generate momentum
  • Advertise on relevant blogs.
  • Assign someone from the convening team the responsibility of interfacing with traditional media, i.e., radio, television, print.  Produce a press strategy in partnership with them, inclusive of a series of advisories and press releases for traditional and new media.  This would include producing a one pager on the event which summarizes the event and all of its benefits.
  • Conduct a series of press interviews (radio, print, blogs, vlogs, podcasts) where you  can discuss the training/conference.  Ask the convening committee members if they would be willing/interested in doing the same.
  • Add the training/conference onto all of the appropriate community calendars and blast it to all of the community list serves that you and the convening committee belonged to.
Strategy #3: Leverage social media and other networks to create a community of interest around the event
  • Find partner organizations who may be willing to send a blast out to their lists (to grow the reach of our candidate pool).  Post updates on/ask these partners to post updates on their FB/Twitter/My Space pages regarding the training/conference.
  • Organize twitter parties/twitter chats spearheaded by tweeps who are considered leaders on twitter in their respective communities.
  • Hold tweet ups/happy hours in a few key locations (perhaps where the conveners are) pre-training/conference to continue to build momentum and woo through community those who are considering participating.
  • Convene a group of bloggers/experts in new media who have buy in on the training/conference - perhaps invite them to participate for free or offer them the opportunity to train/speak or in some way provide value to them.  Ask them to help to  publicize through their blog posts, tweets, FB updates, etc.
  • Ensure a presence on the big social networks, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, My Space.  That presence will provide visibility for the organization and the event.  On Twitter, also  create a hashtag and ask the early adopters and leading tweeps to immediately use it to help to build momentum.
How about you?  Are there any other tips that you would recommend?   


  1. This is awesome. I got nothing to add! Seriously, this is a serious and effective action plan. Thanks for posting and sharing!

  2. Engage local community and local issues and not be like a G-20 or the Vancouver Olympics -- purposely oblivious and ignorant of what is going around you.

    Set some goals and then some way of measuring those goals. New media conferences often remind me of Ivory Tower ones -- knowledge is being shared only among the ones privileged enough to attend. Reach out to unconventional networks, encourage the participation of historically marginalized groups or investigate why they won't participate.