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Author's profile photo Former Member

How To Embrace The Blog If You Have Been Asked To Speak At An Event!

speaker microphone.jpg

Your phone rings, your Twitter twings, your email dings or your Pinterest pings  … and you have been asked to speak at an SAP event! Whether you are a first-timer on the stage (or virtual podium) one of the first things that come to mind should be self-promotion! I know that that is the case for me! I’ve been asked to speak at Social Media Week in Chicago on September 24-28, 2012 and at the B2B Social Media Summit in Philadelphia on October 9&10, 2012. The first thing that came to mind when asked to be a part of the conference content was … how I self-promote to drive attendance to my event!

The two asks I have received from the conference organizers were:

            1. Please send us your bio so we can get your information listed on our sites and blogs
            2. Will you help drive awareness of our event by leveraging social media

My first instinct is to how can I leverage more attendance by not just retweeting and reblogging about the event, rather take a bigger discussion item and own it … or at least make it mine for pre-event. I follow the best-practice community- and brand- (i.e., me, the brand) blogging practice of owning the conversation and creation a POV about a topic and you will seek me out with passion vs. waving the sandwich-board to self-promote. I want to be a slightly more provocative and strategic with my branding and promotion.

I understand that there are two goals when leveraging blogging for an event:

  • Goal #1: Engage the current registered community audience (e.g., SCN, Social Media Week, etc.) enough to drive an authentic conversation to drive value-add experience from being a part of the community. Once value is added then event registration to show results such as awareness, registration, touched pipeline and sales will follow as a byproduct
  • Goal #1 (yes, two goal #1s): Create content that can be found by non=community  audience from Google searching for solutions (not products) to customer pain points

Blogging is a critical pull-marketing strategy to drive attention, engagement and reader take-action. I reported at my weekly Social Media Office Hours meeting (a center of excellence best practice that SAP NA uses to help activate social media among the marketing stakeholders) that a recent Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing Report shows that 57% of B2B channel users acquired a customer through blogging. Think about it … it’s not the promotional blogs that drive all fo the interaction!

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If you are invited to speak at a blog there are two forms that blogs take!

  • Form #1: Marketing information. This type of blog posts tells the reader … the who, what, where, why, etc. about an event. If you have ever read Mark Yolton’s blog posts that kick off Tech Ed and SapphireNow, then youknow what I mean! This type of information is a valuable read for SCN and non-SCN readers, especially when it’s accessed on their own terms. These posts are tagged in a number of ways where in-community readers will be able to find it easily and outside-community readers will be able to find it with a Google search.

This type of promotional post has a place and a purpose for every event and in every community. Just make sure you make it or it’s made for you in the right place! At SAP we like to use these marketing and sales posts in the section you’re reading right now … Events. Typically this type of post will be taken care of for you! A great way that you can leverage this area as a speaker is to comment on the blog post with a link to your other blog post … about a key point/interesting point of discussion!

  • Form #2: Key point / interesting point discussion. This type of blog post takes a big idea, like 5 Key Questions You Need To Ask To About Operational Reporting or How to Answer 10 Big Marketing Questions With One Free Social Media Tool and answers it in a way that promotes discussion but does NOT sell the event or company such as SAP. The company, product or event sell comes in at the end of the post with a nice wrap-up and outbound link that promotes … if you want to know more, then attend this webinar. This type of blog does double-duty for the the community, such as SCN and the outside community audience. Most of all, it’s providing content that supports the charter of the community – whether it’s SCN, Social Media Week or your own blog.

So, how do you do operationalize this … meaning, how do you get it done? If you are an organizer looking to recruit a speaker to write a post or if you are a speaker being asked, you should expect this basic process to occur:

    • The way in is to ask the speaker “can you write a 500-word post on the 5 key questions a company needs to ask when considering blah blah blah”. It’s easy to overthink this stuff … so don’t. Ask the speaker what he or she thinks about the topic … the real issue, or value, is the topic itself. I mean, “how will operational reporting help your company” vs. “how you can use HANA to do operational reporting” is a great way to look at which will drive more interest. Which one would you be more interested in?
    • Now, combine that great content with best-practice blog formatting (you know, a great title, keywords, bold subheadings, lists, etc. and you have a magnet for reader! Don’t fret if you are a speaker … your organizer will help you with the formatting and editing.

And, if you don’t have a good idea to blog on that addresses a larger discussion, ask the community! For instance, you can always reach out to SCN, the SAP Mentors and Solution Marketing at SAP, for SAP events, and ask them … “what do YOU think the big issues are?”

Good luck with the blogging process! If you ever have a question, I am happy to help!

Check out my blogs too for Social Media Week and the B2B Social Media Summit … where I promise you will see I practice what I preach!

Gerry Moran

Director, SAP NA Social Media Marketing


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      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      Thank you Gerry for sharing your event blogging strategies and pointing to Mark Yolton and his pre-event blogs such as Get a World-Class Education at SAP TechEd 2012

      Another little trick of the trade is to be inclusive in your content creation.  A master of this is Matthias Steiner who invariably adds value to any conversation he participates in and also writes enormously engagings summaries of events.  See this gem for guidance: Social Media: Loss of Control or The Path to Serendipity? or this Hurricane at SAPPHIRE NOW: Building extensions to SuccessFactors Employee Central on SAP NetWeaver Cloud  or his famous "wrap-ups" of events: Impressions from SAP TechEd Las Vegas 2011

      You can see an additional inclusion trick I'm using here to engage.  I'm mentioning people by using the "@" and their names which will call them to see this comment and your blog and just "might" garner a response from them as well.  I'm also referring directly to their content which provides models.  This link love establishes the intent to have a two-way communication and might even increase my crediblity around the event as they may have additional comments, content to add. 

      So thanks for the opportunity to converse around event blogging and sharing your personal experience with getting it right.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Marilyn Pratt , you got my attention via an email that hit my inbox moments ago ... your little trick worked! 😉

      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      And I'm fairly certain that when Europe comes back online we'll have an opportunity to pull Matthias Steiner 's attention too. Thanks for responding Mark and giving credence to the comment.

      Author's profile photo Matthias Steiner
      Matthias Steiner

      Somebody called my name? 😉

      Marilyn is right - it works! I think most people are curious to find out what others say about them in public and hence receiving an email saying "you've been mentioned" sure is a good way to encourage people to join a conversation.

      Despite the compliments from Marilyn Pratt (thanks my dear!) it was not something I did intentionally, but just something that felt natural to do as it's the people you meet at these events that make them so special. Furthermore, it's only the new SCN and this nice @ feature that takes the concept to the next level.

      In regards to the Gerry's post: couldn't agree more! I always thought of approaching the topic by treating it like a three-act play. Before the event you start by setting the theme, introducing the topic etc. - just like a literary exposition. The event itself is of course the climax and afterwards you wrap it up and connect any open issues and loose ends.

      Marilyn shared some examples of wrap up blog posts, so please allow me to also provide an example for a pre-event post:  Loose-coupling and strong bonding @ TechEd 2010