Shout about it!

You have to be there!

Making bigger gains, whatever that might be in your particular circumstances is often dependent on one’s ability to reach a larger audience. Of course this is the fundamental principle behind advertising; spend to reach a large audience and then let the customer come to you, pre qualified. The key point is that the customer has to know you exist before they can purchase anything from you.

The same principle applies in web broadcasting; the target audience needs to be built, nurtured and promoted-to. It is no good setting up any kind of web broadcast and not preparing and informing your audience in just the same way as you would in setting up a face to face event. In fact you probably need to do a lot more, as without travel involved it is very easy to just not ‘show up’!

Just like the advertising analogy, your audience need to know your event exists and know how to join in – otherwise they won’t buy it. The right people are very unlikely to just come across your web broadcast at the right time without influence. And depending on your relationship with your audience that ‘influencing’ might be a case of telling, persuading, cajoling, telling again… yes shouting about it!

It is imperative your web broadcast is marketed effectively to your audience and they need to be totally informed as to when, where and how it will take place. They must make an appointment with your web broadcast, put it their diary, their Outlook, their Google Calendar, their iCalendar… just as if they were attending a physical conference.

Embedding webcasts into Facebook

Live stream embedded in Facebook

As I write this, we are working with our friends at George P Johnson to live webcast the IBM Smarter Business 2011 conference taking place in Oslo. Their clients at IBM have embedded our stream into their Facebook page.

I must admit to thinking it was only possible to embed a live video stream in Facebook using the Livestream plug in. Very encouraging to see this is plainly not the case. I think we will be shamelessly borrowing this technique in the future! Good work IBM!

7 Questions Conference Organizers should ask themselves about their events

2 camera live webcast
  1. Are you frustrated at the amount of time and effort that goes into putting the presentations together, for them only to be seen and heard once by an audience limited to the number of seats you can squeeze in the room?
  2. Do you want to engage a remote audience who cannot or will not physically attend your event?
  3. Do you believe that there is inherent value in the knowledge and expertise contained in your presentation content that you should be recording?
  4. Do you want to reduce the cost of your event? Of course this needn’t be limited to hard cash; you may be looking to reduce the environmental price tag too.
  5. Do you want to enhance the experience of delegates by giving them access to recordings of the sessions?
  6. Are you trying to find new ways to retain and recruit members?
  7. Are you looking for new ways to generate revenue for your organization?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you should be talking to us about recording and webcasting your next conference, congress, seminar or presentation.

Why? Because we have a straightforward, proven and affordable solution to all of these problems.

Please get in touch, or simply fill in the form.

BeThere Global Danish website

Mick Jelsdal Jørgensen and Sebastian Schröder

Following the news in February that we were establishing our first foothold in continental Europe with the appointment of Mick Jelsdal Jørgensen and Sebastian Schröder (both pictured above) of Northern Equity Partners, based in Copenhagen, as Sales Agents operating in Scandinavia and Germany, we are delighed to announce the launch of a dedicated Danish website to further support this growth.

Fremad og opad! (That’s ‘onwards and upwards’ – I hope!)

7 reasons to web broadcast your conference

BeThere Global live webcast

For those involved in organizing workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses… in fact pretty much any kind of face to face event, here are seven compelling reasons why you might want to web broadcast your event.

  1. You are frustrated at the amount of time and effort that goes into putting the presentations together, for them only to be seen and heard once by an audience limited to the number of seats you can squeeze in the room.
  2. You want to engage a remote audience who cannot or will not physically attend your event.
  3. You believe that there is inherent value in the knowledge and expertise contained in your presentation content that would benefit a wider audience.
  4. You need to reduce the cost of your event; financial and/or environmental.
  5. You want to enhance the experience for delegates by giving them access to recordings of the sessions to view afterwards and share with colleagues.
  6. You would like to generate additional revenue for your organization through selling access to your web broadcasts or through sponsorship.
  7. You see an opportunity to build a library of assets to benefit your staff / customers/ members.

Which of these apply to your organization?

Challenge or opportunity?

Face to face versus virtual

There’s an almost palpable tension in the conference and events industry between face to face events and the ‘virtual’ or ‘online’ experience.

There seems to be a certain reticence from some traditional conference production companies, experiential agencies, PCOs and event owners with an established and vested interest in face to face events.. a feeling of “hang on, if we put all this on the web, if we make it available online, if we go down the route of virtual events, people are not going to come to our events anymore. Isn’t it going to kill our industry doing that?”

But actually the reverse is true because the whole principle of virtual, or on line events, web casting or web broadcasting (choose your appropriate terminology), is that it actually enhances face to face events.

People will always come to face to face events because they want to meet people, they want to bump into old friends and make new ones in the bar afterwards. People who want to attend are always going to attend and the idea that putting the conference content online will cannibalise physical attendance is quite simply misguided.

The flip side is that a significant percentage of people will never go to a particular event; people who just don’t want to turn up for whatever reason.
Isn’t it great that you could actually open up and engage with these people by putting your conference content online?

Of course the arguments are different for different types of organisation;

  • For the corporate event organiser, as well as efficiency and speed of communication – particularly for those operating internationally –  it’s about reducing cost and environmental impact.
    Isn’t it great that actually you don’t need to get every person travelling every time,  to every event; you can pick and choose. Let individuals go to the events where it is vital for them to be there in person, but if its not crucial they attend you can save money, be more sustainable.
  • For the trade association, the sector-specific body or other membership based organisation a similar argument applies. Most of these organisations only attract a small percentage of their total membership to their events. Those that do attend are not just there for the conference sessions; the reasons they attend are multiple. Similarly to their corporate counterparts this audience craves human interaction and relishes those chance conversations that open doors. But there are other drivers such as kudos, self-esteem and sometimes it is as prosaic as getting those extra air miles or hotel group loyalty points. So you will not ‘put-off’ people who have strong personal reasons for attending; what you can do is open up new wide or targeted audiences who cannot or will not attend. You can also enhance the experience of those physically attending by giving them the added value of being able to access, revisit and share sessions after the event. If this is included as an extra benefit within their registration fee, it’s a sure fire method of increasing rather than depleting physical attendance at future events!

Companies and organisations that run conferences and congresses need to face up to this current challenge and see it for the opportunity it represents. They have to adapt to benefit from the new order of things enabled by web broadcasting.

It is my belief that adaptation is not an option if an organisation intends to be around for the long term. Michael Anderson, the President and CEO of the Canadian Society of Association Executives put the situation for associations very succinctly in a speech at Association Congress 2011, when he said,

Michael Anderson

“An Association has to remain relevant; if you aren’t adapting to your member needs, if you are not looking down the road in terms of what is going to impact them, and preparing them, the organisation is going to become irrelevant fairly quickly.”

Virtual and online events are already impacting companies and organisations in the conference world because people are starting to expect that the content will be published on the web. The organisations that embrace this development as a positive force are the ones that will remain relevant and prosper.

It’s a matter of space and time

4th Dimension

No I’m not going on about relativity or quantum physics, not even about Star Trek or Doctor Who. What I’m referring to is one of the first things a conference organiser must  consider when deliberating over webcasting their event is the question;

“Will it be ‘live’… or ‘on demand’… or both?”

The correct answer depends on the nature of the event and the objectives for considering webcasting in the first place.
So, it’s a matter of space and time? Well yes; first of all consider Space.

SPACE

Live web broadcasting a conference is a way to take your (or your clients) message and deliver it to an audience beyond the four walls of the conference venue. For the remote viewer the experience is the next best thing to ‘being there’ and clearly they get to see and hear the event at exactly the same time as the audience in the room.

TIME

Recording and making the conference available as an ‘on demand’ web broadcast is a way to maximise the value of the content by allowing a wider audience to access and benefit from the content over an extended period of time.

Below is a 5 minute diversion from the world of webcasting, to a Doctor Who take on the subject of space and time from this year’s Red Nose Day.

Recovering Waste

recycling bin

Time was that if you suggested someone had ‘recycled’ a presentation you might be seen to be suggesting plagiarism or laziness. But in this contemporary world where reducing cost and increasing sustainability are so important, recycling presentations by recording and publishing makes sense.

On the BeThere Global homepage We talk about “Unlocking the full value”, but really what we do goes further than that; it is also about “recovering waste”. Clearly not the stuff of landfill sites, but waste none the less. The kind of waste that sees an organisation expend many man hours and sometimes large amounts of hard earned cash on external resources to create a presentation around their expertise that will only ever be performed once, to a single audience limited in size by the number of seats in the room. In most cases all that will exist afterwards will be a Word document containing the speaker notes or script and the PowerPoint slides (or whatever presentation aids are used).

Now in any other marketing application – and surely all speeches or presentations in the commercial, public sector, medical and educational worlds are to varying degrees an exercise in marketing – the organisation investing in the activity would want to see ways to improve their return on investment through repeat use, adaptation and extension. Why should presentations be any different? Smart organisations are realising that recycling a presentation by recording and publishing on the web as a – choose your terminology – video stream, webcast, web broadcast, webinar or on demand archive is a valuable investment in knowledge and expertise that can have long term value in many different and sometimes unexpected ways.

This subject is particularly relevant right now as BeThere Global are sponsoring the Sustainable Events Summit 2011 taking place in London on 13 June. As well as recycling (recording and webcasting) the sessions we will also be facilitating a round table discussion on how web casting and social media can help the sustainable agenda.

Check out the Sustainable Events Summit 2011 website.

The importance of taking the trouble to say ‘thank you’

Card with two words "thank you&quot

This afternoon I received a letter! Yes a letter… okay it arrived as an email attachment but it was in the form of a letter – formally laid out, logo, senders address and so on and with a real signature. And no it wasn’t demanding money or telling me that something was going to be more expensive in the future. It was out and out good news; a genuine and heartfelt thank you from a client but in good old fashioned letter-stylie.

Now at BeThere Global we like to think we will always ‘go the extra mile’, delight our clients and do all those other good things any company worth its salt is meant to do. But receiving a missive like this will certainly help make sure we carry on doing that good stuff with increased enthusiasm for this client in particular . So, for our client, it should easily be worth the investment in time it took to write. But it’s also given me a lift at the start of the working week and will certainly be something the Technician who operated on the project (and to whom most of the positivity was directed) will be delighted to receive and keep as an endorsement of his skills and affable nature.

The only slight downside for us commercially is this particular client is Executive Director of a charity and doesn’t want comments attributed to them as they have issues, as a charity, with any kind of perceived commercial affiliations.

So let me shamelessly include a few unattributed excerpts from the letter…

We really appreciate your ongoing work to provide high-quality recordings of our events, as these are proving to be an increasingly popular and utilised resource on our website. Your dedication, flexibility and efficiency have really helped in being able to bring these recordings to our members and post-event delegates at such meetings.

And…

Having 60 sessions recorded from the meeting is a fantastic achievement, and we hope to have them up online fully this week, which is also a good turn-around from our perspective.

And…

We really appreciate all your help with getting things ready for the event, and for all your assistance, recommendations, excellent service and professionalism.

I  have now set myself the target to try and remember to take trouble to say thank you properly in the future; this has been a much needed reminder of how effective it can be!

A little thing that makes a big difference

Forklift

It’s part of daily life for us to be uploading heavy files up to the web. Anything from a 200MB flash video recording of a speech to high definition corporate videos weighing in at a few gigabytes. Not so long ago files of this size would have necessitated physical delivery on a disk or remote drive. For over five years now we’ve been moving this type of file around effortlessly, and in the spirit of sharing a ‘good thing’ I thought the service we’ve been using worthy of a plug here.

That service is called YouSendIt. To date the facilities they provide have been faultless and highly efficient. A number of innovative applications make it readily usable from a number of common software packages and the ability to add branding (paid version) gives the interface a polished and professional look.

My favourite bit is the YouSendIt Express desktop application. Using this, if you lose your Internet connection or have to shut down for some reason, when you connect again the upload will resume from the point of interruption – a great usability bonus!

YouSendIt logo

We tried a few other services before settling on this one, but none of them we found matched up to the all round quality that YouSendIt provides.

Thank you YouSendIt!

[BeThere Global Limited has no commercial interest or connection with YouSendIt – save for paying our monthly subscription that is!]