Since 2013 I have run quite a number of workshops and live/in-person events. When I look back over the past 15 years of my working career I have facilitated probably 100s of training events and workshops.
From 2001-2011 I worked for The University of St Andrews, and they invest heavily in training their staff. As a manager I had to facilitate a lot of training sessions, and they also invested in me. I attend numerous certificated training courses to learn how to be an effective leader, manager and trainer.
This foundational training and experience has become very valuable to me now that I’m running my own business enterprise.
Particularly for running and facilitating The Content Marketing Academy, our annual conference.
Facilitating and curating a conference is a lot of work, there’s no doubt about that. And to be completely honest, it’s not something that has yet made my company a significant profit, although in time I know that it will.
So, if it’s a lot of work, and there’s not a huge amount of profit to make from it, why bother running your own live event or conference?
That’s a good question, and I’d like to share with you 5 reasons why you should run your own conference.
1. Social proof and credibility
Running a successful conference directly enhances your personal credibility and also your company’s credibility.
One of the big lessons I was taught a few years back was to ‘be seen to be selling’, and you can’t get much better than having all of your customers in one room with each other!
A conference is a great way to increase social proof & credibility.
2. Network Growth
A big part of business is building strong relationships with people. A number of my best business opportunities have come from people I know very well.
A conference is a great way to spend a significant amount of time with the most progressive and influential people in your network.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for you to strengthen your connections, and also introduce the people you know well to other people.
A conference is a perfect and unique opportunity for you to make the most of having a room full of people that you know, like and trust, and who also know, like and trust you.
We already know that the biggest factor in making purchasing decisions is trust. When I teach others about content marketing, essentially what we’re teaching is how to create content that increases trust, so that people will be more likely to buy from you.
A conference gives you the opportunity to deliver a great product and service in front of all your customers. In doing so it’s likely that their trust for you will increase, and with that comes greater opportunities for business.
As mentioned, curating and facilitating a conference is a lot of work, and that’s a big barrier to entry for most people. Therefore, it’s likely that you can put on a live event that no one else has done before or is currently doing.
I have learned that people are always watching you. Both in a positive light, and negative. Even when you think no one is watching what you are doing, people do see what you are doing. Especially when something goes well.
If you manage to execute a successful event people will talk about it and you will be recognised for your achievements.
Again, business opportunities will come from this.
In some respects a conference is simply a big (expensive) marketing campaign.
You’ve got a big event on, which means you’ve got something big to talk about. Everything from the pre-conference promotion, to the selling of tickets, the social media, the content, to the delivery of the event on the day and the post conference marketing.
A huge indirect benefit of curating a conference is that your brand and your business is getting out there to many people, from multiple sources.
Your delegates will talk about it, they will share their experiences with others and online, on the day they will tweet and write blog and share photos.
Your and your business will benefit from all of this promotion and awareness, leading to more opportunities in the future.
It’s not (always) all about the money
The main reason I published this on my personal blog and not my company blog was because this is mainly about how you can personally benefit from facilitating a conference. In that a successful conference can positively impact your personal branding. Although, that obviously directly impacts your business enterprise too.
My objective here is to share with you the indirect benefits of running a conference, and to not just talk about the financial aspects. These 5 benefits may not put money in your bank today, but they certainly will benefit you and your business in the longer term.