Behind the Scenes: 5 Lessons I Learned from Hosting a Summit

KR Design hosted it FIRST virtual event recently: The Aloha Summit! It was a 2 day event with a 6 speaker lineup, including yours truly.

Coordinating a summit is a lot of work! I don’t know what I was thinking to put together a summit in 3 weeks time. It’s like I woke up on August 1 and said to myself: “I want to put a summit together. Hmmm…I can fit it in my calendar in 3 weeks. Ok, let’s go!” I’m so happy that some of my friends and colleagues are used to my craziness and could come together at the last minute to help me out.

Some of you have been asking me, “Well, how did it go?” For an event that came together in 3 weeks and was only being marketed for 1 week, I think it went pretty well. Here are the two things that I’m most proud of…

  • We reached over 800 people on Facebook in 9 days!
  • 50% of people who clicked on the link signed up for the summit.

If you were you following the Aloha Summit and thought “Hey! I can do that!” and are thinking about planning your own summit, I put together a list of things you may want to think about. Let me say for the record that even though it was stressful putting this together in 3 weeks time, I had a lot of fun and I will definitely do this again. It’s very rewarding to have your own event. So, here are my tips for you…

1. Plan in advance
Please don’t be like me and plan with only 3 weeks!

2. Choose your speakers carefully
Putting this summit on in 3 weeks notice didn’t give me a lot of time to find speakers but I chose people who were colleagues or friends of mine that I knew would do a good job.

3. List size doesn’t always matter
This is where some people are going to disagree with me. Don’t get me wrong: having speakers who have a big email list are great because they can bring more attendees to your summit. There were several people I could’ve asked who had a big email list but they’re audience was not who I wanted to target for the Aloha Summit. Think about what your speakers can contribute as well and not just their list size.

4. How can your summit stand out?
Unfortunately, your summit is not the only summit going on. Telesummits and web summits are all over the Internet! How do you make your summit stand out so that people want to come to yours? The Aloha Summit was live and we used Google+ Live On Air Hangouts. Since many summits don’t take this approach, this made my summit unique. Also the name and our concept was different from what was out there online. C’mon? The Aloha Summit? Our concept was to showcase business owners and entrepreneurs who had the “Aloha spirit”. See, it’s all about being unique!

5. Live vs. Pre-Recorded
For the Aloha Summit, the bonus interviews were pre-corded and the actual summit was live. I won’t lie: live was pretty stressful. You have to think about what to do if the technology doesn’t work (be prepared for that!) and to monitor the questions coming in for the speakers. Pre-recording was quite easy and I could edit the interviews to my liking. However, I make a strong case for a live summit because the interaction that takes place between speaker and audience. The audience gets to ask questions and this helps your speakers showcase their expertise. Trust is formed and this helps your speakers get the exposure that they are looking for. A live summit and a pre-recorded summit definitely has its advantages and disadvantages.

If you would like to see a live example, check out the Aloha Summit’s website (click here to visit the website). And since you did miss the Aloha Summit, I would like to extend a special offer to you as I did the participants!

On the Aloha Summit, I made a special offer for Social Media Discovery sessions. I only offer this rare opportunity a few times per year when my schedule opens up. So, if you are not where you want to be with your social media marketing, click here to apply for a Social Media Discovery Session!

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