Attract an Audience to Your Event with Great Content

Whether you are planning a large conference, an intimate meeting for VIP customers, a quarterly gathering for club members, or an annual fundraising event, content plays a pivotal role in attracting and pleasing attendees.

Compelling speakers are the most important factor in attracting attendees to your event.  Finding speakers who are relevant, experienced and have a unique story to tell will not only drive attendees to your event, but keep them talking about it well after the event is over. You should even consider soliciting potential attendee feedback in the process of selecting keynote speakers, panelists and meeting topics.  A great example of this is the South by Southwest Panel Picker, which allows their community to vote on proposals for various speakers and panel topics, thus engaging their audience in the actual content programming of the event.

Networking is more than a handshake. Besides great speakers the other reason people attend events is to network.  As an event organizer you can help your attendees get the most out of the event by making networking easier before, during and after your event.  Use the existing social networks to get attendees talking prior to an event—event Facebook Pages or Groups, Twitter Hashtags, LinkedIn Groups etc.  Consider hosting Birds-of-a-Feather sessions or lunches where attendees can gather to informally discuss topics of mutual interest.

Attention grabbing materials.  Print and digital materials you use to promote your event—brochures, flyers, newsletters; and inform attendees while at your event—programs, daily papers, agendas etc. are an important factor in audience engagement. Events like music festivals, sporting events and business conferences are complemented well by programs that can serve as both a guide to attendees as well as used for marketing material down the road. An event program is a great way to showcase the talent you’ve organized, share the purpose of your event, promote your sponsors and acknowledge those who deserve thanks.

Here are a few of our MagCloud favorites (from MagCloud publishers as well as others) to provide some inspiration:

    • Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs published the program for their August 2011 event in San Francisco. This program does a great job of posting the packed schedule along with speaker bios and ads for local businesses (It’s clear they put a priority on great design – a top MagCloud tip!)
    • 2010 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – it’s not just about a one-week event in October. This program delves into the history of the annual Balloon Fiesta and gives details on each balloon flying at the event – it’s sort of like the “speaker bios” of the balloon festival world.
    • 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open program has a clear focus on great photography especially the shots of the individual holes (pages 50-66) not to mention beautiful integrations with their sponsors. The ads are woven into the program and don’t feel forced or out of place.
    • SXSW 2012 Event Marketing brochure is chock full of impressive stats, engaging content and gorgeous design.
    • TED Fellows 2011 Booklet gives shout outs and thank yous up front along with a brief description of the program and of course a look at each TED Fellow and the work they are up to.
    • Guide to Davos dives into the topics at hand for the 2011 Davos Conference and gives the reader a feel for the tone and sheer importance of the event. Layout is unique and could work well for an event that requires articles in their program to communicate its story.

And if you are ready to get started on materials for your next event and need a little help check out our collection of free event program and brochure templates:

Have you taken a unique approach to selecting speakers, creating networking opportunities or created killer event materials? If so please feel free to share those ideas in the comments section and tell us what kind of feedback you received from event attendees and partners.


Get Publication Inspiration Through Networking

Looking for inspiration for your next issue, advice on how to create a branded publication or tips for creating a killer portfolio?  Consider increasing your networking time to socialize and exchange ideas with those in your industry or with common interests. Networking can be easily done in-person or virtually through association meetings, conferences, forums, NING sites, community websites, etc.

One example of combining the virtual and live worlds is – a site that launched after 9/11 and boomed. It now hosts 79,000 local groups in 45,000 cities worldwide! A whopping 250,000 “Meetups” occur each month on topics ranging from design to publishing to small business owners to marketing and just about any subject matter or topic you may be interested in.

We believe that there is great value to be gained from spending time with people in your profession or who share your love and interest in creating world-class publications. Meeting to exchange ideas, resources and best practices can lead to expanding your skill set and even to new business opportunities. Say you’re looking to find people to start a new cycling publication, check out these meetups with other cycling enthusiasts. Looking to get inspired by or for tips from other designers check out Behance Network’s Tip Exchange.

Below are some other opportunities to meet-and-greet, exchange ideas and network with your peers.


American Marketing Association – Local Chapters
American Society of Association Executives – Communities Section
Business Marketing Association – Local Chapters

Creative Professionals

AIGA – The Professional Association for Design – Local Chapters
Adobe InDesign User Group – Local Chapters
Professional Photographers of America – Calendar of Events
Behance Network – A Creative Professional Platform

Magazine Publishers

Editor & Publisher  – Upcoming events around the world
Folio – Magazine publishers grouped by interest, location, field, etc.
Magazine Dojo –  Social networking site for magazine publishers

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Share more of your favorite networking opportunities with us in the comments section below.

Network, Share and Inspire

Are you on the lookout for conferences and events that provide a superb opportunity to network with publishers and designers, ignite your creativity, learn valuable information from thought leaders and stay on top of emerging trends in the industry? Below is a list of some of the best publishing and design conferences in the United States. In the comments section below, please share the events that you plan to attend this year.

Print and ePublishing Conference (May 23-25, 2011; Washington D.C.) – Join the world’s top InDesign experts and members of the Adobe InDesign team to gain more valuable insight on the topics of publishing. We’re excited to hear that they have a full day of post-conference tutorials as well!

HOW Design Live (June 22-27, 2011; Chicago, Illinois) – With more than 35 sessions and expert speakers, this conference provides a variety of design inspiration, information and instruction. There are also many networking opportunities at this event to connect with speakers and other design professionals.

CliQ 2011 (September 6-11, 2011; Las Vegas, Nevada) – Taking on a new name, CliQ is PMA International’s premiere event and known as the world’s largest annual international photo imaging trade show. (Update: PMA recently announced that CliQ will co-locate at the 2012 International CES in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association.)

Adobe Max (October 1-5, 2011; Los Angeles, California) – Adobe MAX is the place to go and see how technology and art converge. It’s a great venue for designers, developers and business decision-markets to exchange ideas and inspiration.

American Magazine Conference (October 4-5, 2011; New York City, New York) – Deemed as the official annual meeting of the consumer magazine industry, this popular three-day event is produced by MPA and the American Society of Magazine Editors. Join and learn more the industry’s thought leaders and innovators as well as the brightest and most interesting minds of our times.

Altitude Design Summit (January 18-21, 2012; Salt Lake City, Utah) – If you’re obsessed with great design and smart ideas, this is the place to be. The organizers have created a place where design and lifestyle bloggers and creative entrepreneurs can come together, share ideas and connect with marketers.

SXSW Interactive (March 9-13, 2012; Austin, Texas) – It was our first time attending this year and we loved it! Five days of compelling seminars in emerging technology, exciting networking events and programs featuring the best there is to find in digital works, video games and innovative ideas.