Everyone that attended last week’s Taste-of-HITMC event in Denver, walked away with useful tactics. We learned how to: create engaging email subject lines, write speaker proposals that get approved, turn in-person events into content gold and launch a podcast strategy.
Short Copy + Emails
Beth Cooper and Paul Purvis from KNB Communications (Taste-of-HITMC Sponsor) got things started with a fantastic session on how to create short, punchy copy that compels readers to action. Their session was full of useful tips like:
- Use positive words in Google Ads versus negatives ones or ones that elicit fear (they don’t perform as well)
- 1 post to Facebook per day is ideal, 2 max. Anything more and you risk being spammy
- “Get” is one of the best words to use in a call-to-action…as in “Get a free copy of…”or “Get access to…” etc.
Keep email subject lines to 50 characters. Avoid ? – that punctuation is tired and screams “salesy” now. NO CAPS. Just one emoji at end of subject line. Personalize the subject – name/company name/common interest. Tips via @KNBComm #HITMC pic.twitter.com/mccJv0CzZn
— Colin Hung (@Colin_Hung) January 22, 2020
The topic that generated the most engagement from the audience was: email subject lines. Cooper and Purvis shared research findings from Hubspot (KNB is a Hubspot partner) that showed best performing subject lines are:
- Between 30-50 characters
- Personalized with a first name or company name
- Use an emoji (singular)
- Use pronouns like “We” or “Your”
- Use numbers like 3, 5, 7 and 10
- Have the phrase “How to…”
PR + Speaker Proposals
Angela Jenkins, Digital Health IT Publicist and Content Strategist followed KNB with a presentation on “7 Tips for Writing Effective PR Content”. She shared tips on how to optimize press releases for SEO, organize blogs, pitch stories to industry media, and write case studies.
An interesting debate occurred when Jenkins brought up the topic of ghost writing. There was a bit of confusion from one of the attendees who initially thought ghost writing meant: plagiarizing someone else’s work and passing it off as your own or writing an article and putting someone else’s name on it without that person’s knowledge/approval.
Jenkins quickly clarified that ghost writing was done with the full knowledge and in collaboration with the author who would ultimately place their name on the published piece.
When crafting a press release don’t forget to think about SEO. When people are researching you want your PR to be high on the search. Think like a customer, investor, or partner. via @AngelaDJenkins #HITMC pic.twitter.com/Ue3CmorokJ
— Colin Hung (@Colin_Hung) January 22, 2020
The most valuable takeaways from Jenkin’s session were around creating winning speaker proposals:
- Use real-world examples
- Include relevant statistics and result metrics (but not too many)
- Ensure there is a unique or innovate aspect to the presentation
- Keep in mind current events, policies and trends
In-person Events + Surveys
The third session of the day was led by Leslie Kirk of Insenna Communications. She spoke about how to best leverage in-person events. There was one line in her presentation that resulted in a lengthy discussion with the Taste-of-HITMC attendees:
- Integrate your campaigns and have a booth-driven form of feedback (ex: a survey)
Everyone was fascinated by Kirk’s idea to conduct a survey while exhibiting at a conference: “Not only is this a fantastic way to engage passers-by in conversation, if you gather enough responses you can produce a great piece of content that can be used long after the conference is over.”
According to Kirk, the results from the survey are a perfect way to follow up with prospects that left their contact details at your booth.
Personally, I’ve used this tactic at two different conferences for two different companies. Both times the survey results were a goldmine. Not only did they help to qualify the leads we gathered, the responses allowed us to create a wonderful set of statistics that we incorporated into an infographic, sales deck, blog articles and social media posts.
Closing out the day was my friend and colleague John Lynn. He challenged the audience to think seriously about podcasts – specifically about whether to start one of your own or to appear on podcasts with already established audiences.
“Podcasts are like the movie Field of Dreams”, Lynn stated. “If you create one, people won’t just start listening. You must actively market your podcast and actively recruit listeners until you reach a critical mass. Creating a podcast is easy and fun. Getting listeners is the hard part.”
Getting listeners is something that many organizations forget. When podcasts first appeared as a form of edu-tainment, people were actively looking for programs to listen to. In those early days, there was an atmosphere of discovery. Now with over 550,000 podcasts available on various streaming services, audiences have an overwhelming abundance of choice.
Standing out in this crowded medium is challenging, but not impossible. Lynn advised the Taste-of-HITMC attendees to find ways to make their podcast unique. Use different formats, have fun and don’t just follow the formula followed by similar podcasts.
It is very fitting that I noted 7 key takeaways from the event since the sessions were designed around a 7-ideas-in-17-minutes format. If you are organizing an event, I would highly encourage you to try this presentation structure: 17mins of presentation followed by 43 minutes of facilitated discussion. It makes for a truly interactive and engaging experience.
Overall, the quality of advice shared by the presenters and by attendees was outstanding. Taste-of-HITMC Denver was truly a microcosm of what happens at the annual HITMC event – peers sharing valuable tactics with each other and forging lasting relationships along the way.