Conference day can be hectic for an event amplifier. To effectively support your remote audience and make sure that time sensitive information goes out via the right channel at the right time so they have everything they need to participate and remain engaged. That can be a lot of channels and a lot of information to manage. The best technique I have found to help prepare for and cope with this challenge is scheduling.
Many of the tools I use to help amplify an event now come with the facility to write updates and schedule them to go out automatically at a specified time. You can schedule blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates… in fact, you can usually schedule updates on most platforms, or connect them to another tool which does allow scheduling. Scheduling is particularly useful for logistical tweets (introducing a speaker, linking to their powerpoint on Slideshare etc), pre-prepared blog posts and promotional announcements. Anything that you know in advance can be pre-written and scheduled to go out at the right time.
There are two main benefits that I get on the day by scheduling updates in advance:
1. Detailed preparation
Working through the event programme and pre-writing the basic logistical updates helps me to ensure that I have all of the necessary links and practical details that I need. Scheduling becomes part of my checklist process so I know I am fully prepared for the event.
2. Time management
Typing out a speaker introduction or tweeting a link to the speaker’s slides in 140 characters takes time. This time would be better spent listening to the beginning of the presentation, rather than frantically trying to tweet logistical details that I possessed well in advance. By scheduling these tweets I can concentrate on the speaker’s opening comments so I understand the full context of their presentation and commentate accordingly, rather than trying to play catch up. Pre-written blog posts and promotional announcements also enable me to better concentrate on the live event whilst still providing a consistent stream of information to the remote audience.
My favourite scheduling-enabled tool at the moment has to be HootSuite, which I use for posting tweets. I have my “pending tweets” column open throughout an event so that I can see what tweets are coming up, and if necessary override or alter the scheduling to make sure that they go out at an appropriate time. Conference programmes can overrun – or even run early on occasions – so it is vital to know what updates are coming up and adjust the timing if necessary. You cannot just schedule everything then forget about it.
I am also starting to experiment with a new tool: hellotxt. So far this looks promising, as it enables me to post updates to a wide variety of platforms from one place, and to schedule updates. However, once scheduled, the update appears to disappear, with no access in order to edit. I have my first updates from hellotxt scheduled to appear on one of the Facebook Pages that I manage later this week, so it will be interesting to see if and how they appear.
Scheduling is increasingly becoming an essential part of how I manage time sensitive communications around an event so that I can give my full concentration to the live content. The remote audience gets higher quality, timely information and I get to feel more organised and in control of multiple information streams. Win-win!
Photo Credit: Eric Bézine.
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