How to Throw a Kick A$$ Conference and Get All The Cool Kids To Show Up

Joseph Meyer
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Getting the Conference Itch

When your friends start to throw around the idea of a conference, you suspect them of having something else on the agenda. As it turns out, you are right on that one and that’s awesome! Conference is a magical place, where everything should be possible. If you haven’t been to one (yet) you will probably be surprised by the overwhelming number of sessions you will get all in one day. Yeah, it does happen. So why would you spend your precious energy on delivering unnecessary material that isn’t on your agenda to just have it lay somewhere in the net-space?

Deciding if Your Niche is Ready for a Conference

Before you start planning a conference, you will have to figure out if the conference is a great idea and if that particular industry needs it.

You must think about a lot of different things. Is your niche ready for a conference? Do you have the right team in place to make a conference a success? What sort of content will you cover in your conference? Who is going to present? What about attendees? Will people have fun? Will you give them value for money or are you a money grabber? What are your event sponsorships going to look like? How are you going to promote the conference? Or is it going to be hidden from public and you will only hear about it from your existing network?

When you have gone over all of these aspects then you can think about a conference that will fit your niche and industry. When you do start planning your conference you can take your time and make a conference that will go the distance.

Get Some Big Names

The only way to do that is to get some big names to talk about it and invite their friends. For example, if you are trying to recruit developers, maybe your conference should be a JS conference, and having people like Stefan Penner or Michael Jackson as speakers could attract a lot of good developers. If talking to a certain big name in the industry, it will pay dividends to take the time upfront to build a relationship with them. It takes a lot of effort to build relationships and if you have invested in doing that, it is a great investment. Building relationships takes time, you will have to connect and interact with the person over time.

Also consider whether your conference has a niche and focus on talking to those people. If you don’t have a niche then it might be hard because that makes it more difficult to find a audience. The more you can narrow it down to a specific thing, the easier it will be to start building the contacts and to have a group of people that will be interested in coming to your conference.

Marketing for Your Conference

Generating awareness for an event or conference can be a challenge. There are many events being run throughout the year and competition is stiff. It’s important to get the word out about your event as early as possible to give attendees some time to make plans to attend. Here are some tips to help you generate awareness for your event and entice attendees.

Outside the Box Invites

Last weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at the Lift Conference in San Francisco, CA along with no less than 10 other people who also inspire me. I went in the Saturday before to setup, and this is a quick story about what went down.

I knew the space was going to be a bit bigger than we had in the past, but I had no idea what we were in for. Upon arrival, I was greeted with the sight of three shipping containers (you know, those 20-foot tall ones) and some spare wood laying around. I’d like to share with you some of the lessons learned from this experience that would be applicable in designing any small to mid-sized event.

How to Get Sponsors For Your Conference

One of the most important things in the conference business is the connections that you make with sponsors. As a conference organizer, these sponsors are like gold to you. They give you resources to keep your event going and they are willing to put their name and money behind it.

Sponsors can be anyone that is willing to pay for promotion of their product or service. As an organiser of an event, if you can identify a group of people/corporations that want to be associated with your event, you are one step closer to getting your conference off the ground.

When you are planning a conference, it is important to remember the things your sponsors will be looking for and that you yourself will be looking for when you decide to attend a conference. What are the things you would want to see if you were coming to the event as a sponsor? Also, what are the things you would want to include in the event if you were attending as a sponsor?

How Much Does Throwing a Conference Really Cost?

Managing Your Conference’s Growth

Conferences are a great way for startups and entrepreneurs to meet other innovators and master sellers of their industry. Often a conference will be primarily focused on a certain niche, such as Bitcoin, and have a roster of some of the brightest minds in their topics of expertise. Most conferences offer different types of conference passes to accommodate various budget needs. Though some conferences offer one-day passes a pricey 2-3 day passes.

I’ve noticed that a number of the one-day passes have often remained unsold, while tickets to the 2-3 day and longer passes are gone.

What went wrong?

To understand what went wrong you must understand the crypto-currency community.

The crypto-currency community is an amazing group of people. They are entrepreneurs, developers, and thinkers who thrive in a decentralized, 24-hour exchange with no middle-man. I’ve had the privilege of attending many conferences at Consensus and Satoshi Roundtable and have always found these events go well.

So how can we explain this disparity in one-day vs. three-day attendance?

There is only one logical explanation … The crypto-currency community simply isn’t ready for the conference and shopping addiction prevalent in the startup scene.