Scaling your in-person user conference from a modest gathering to a large-scale event is a remarkable feat, when done right. One of the most critical aspects of this transformation is maintaining the quality of both content and speakers.
Luckily for all of us, Lauren Olerich, Sr. Director of Events at Gainsight, has shared some super-important insights on how she’s been consistently delivering quality content at Gainsight’s user conferences right from the time they had about 300 attendees to their now massive 20,000+ attendee base.
The challenge of growing events
As your user conference expands, the task of curating high-quality content and securing exceptional speakers becomes increasingly challenging. Lauren acknowledges that there are no easy hacks for this process. Instead, it requires a significant investment of time and careful planning.
Here are 4 hacks that are essential to getting this right.
Hack 1: Build a strong foundation with tracks
To maintain the quality of your conference, start with a solid track plan. Select new tracks that focus on forward-thinking topics, avoiding repetition from previous years. This approach ensures that the sessions align with the conference's goals and provide fresh insights.
Hack 2: Go the extra mile with speaker outreach
The way you carry out your speaker outreach matters a lot. While you can always conduct a call for speakers, don't hesitate to sometimes deviate from the submissions,
- Balance the use of a call for speakers with proactive outreach to highlight exciting industry developments and customer stories that may not come through formal channels.
- Maintain a balance between solicited speaker submissions and the insights provided by internal teams like product marketing and customer success.
Hack 3: Balancing personas and diverse content
Consider the diverse audience personas attending your conference, from executives to individual contributors and different professions. Ensure that your agenda caters to their interests, offering options in multiple tracks and sessions. Nobody wants to leave your event feeling like you just scratched the surface on a certain topic of keen interest.
Hack 4: Get leadership to review your sessions
One striking insight that Lauren shared was around how Gainsight follows is a thorough session review process. They review every single session multiple times, even involving their CEO in the process. This commitment to detail demonstrates their dedication to delivering top-notch content.
Whether it's an internal subject matter expert or a leader who can provide valuable insights, having someone review and provide feedback on each session ensures the highest quality content. It'll require extra coordination and a few back-and-forth moments, yes, but is it worth it? Totally!
Maintaining the quality of content and speakers as your in-person user conference grows is no walk in the park, but the payoff is unmatchable!
With diverse tracks, effective speaker outreach, and meticulous session reviews, you'll be able to ensure that your conference continues to provide valuable experiences to attendees, regardless of its size!