I’ve been investing in attending professional events, conferences, seminars, and workshops since graduating from college and today attend at least 5 every year.
Now, I’m not talking about local networking events. I’m talking about plane rides, hotel stays, food budgets, and conferences tickets ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars (just for the ticket).
Overall, most of the events I have attended have been professional produced with big budgets — and most are pretty great. But, sometimes the speakers aren’t as great as you would have hoped, sometimes there is barely any time for networking, and sometimes the food is lackluster at best. The latest event I attended was different — and in a good way.
Copyblogger’s Authority Intensive Sets The Bar For Professional Events
The Copyblogger brand is known for quality, and the Copyblogger team is engaged and friendly online, so I had high hopes for the Authority Intensive in Denver, Colorado — their first annual conference — and they didn’t disappoint.
Before I get into the recap of the sessions and providing you some glorious tidbits of wisdom, I need to address a couple really important things — the food and the parties!
- Welcome Reception: With an open bar and lots of food (and variety for those of us who may be gluten-free or dairy-free), the welcome reception was the perfect opportunity to network and get to know the other attendees before the event kicked off.
- Flashback Party: Also with open bar and tasty treats, this party provided a more relaxed networking environment and an opportunity to get down on the dance floor to tunes from the 80s — and while it was supposed 80s themed and Copyblogger said “costumes” pretty much no one dressed up but 3 people (including me).
- After Party: The third party of the event also boasted an open bar and lots of great food. It was the perfect way to end the event, giving attendees an opportunity to meet a few more people, say goodbye to new friends, and make plans to connect after the event with others.
- Hosted Breakfasts: No bait and switch with a continental breakfast here! With eggs, bacon, potatoes, fruit, oatmeal and more each morning, we started off the day full and gained two additional opportunities to meet other attendees and network.
- Hosted Lunches: You weren’t left on your own for lunch either! With full hosted lunches each day that were delicious, no one had to worry about eating alone or getting back on time — this was again, two more great opportunities to network and make new connections.
- Snacking Delights: Feeling the need for a mid-morning munch or an afternoon snack? No problem Copyblogger took care of us with coffee and cookies at our morning breaks and drinks and trail mix and chocolate during our afternoon breaks.
Now I know you’re probably wondering why such an emphasis on food when I’m talking about a business conference — and the strategy here is hugely important.
No one at the Authority Intensive event was left to fend for themselves. No one was left eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner alone. No one at this event was sneaking out to find some nourishment or missing sessions because they were hungry.
Instead all attendees were “corralled” in the same places throughout the entire event with snacks, food, and drink as the dangling carrots — which meant more networking, more connecting, more conversations, more relationships being formed, and more business being done.
And you know what that means?
More attendees thrilled that they invested in the event — and we haven’t even started talking about the awesome speakers and useful content yet. Smart strategy — Get your attendees so happy they came to the event that they’re happy with their investment no matter how good your content is.
The Authority Intensive Content
For some attendees, the content delivered at the event may have been different from the content they were expecting. As Copyblogger is known for teaching us all how to create better content, some may have come thinking they would learn the down and dirty, nitty-gritty, how-to of copywriting — and that’s not what the event delivered.
Authority Intensive delivered a buffet of insightful, thoughtful, inspiring content on the topic of Authority, sprinkled with heavy handfuls of valuable, useful nuggets of brilliance.
The event was broken up into four areas of focus:
And there were panel discussions.
Did you cringe? Because I did when I saw that in the agenda. In all the years I have been attending events, I have maybe seen one or two panel discussions done well — most panels are just disorganized, someone always hogs the time, and the audience is usually left wishing they learned more.
But the Authority Intensive handled their expert panels differently. Reminiscent of the lightning talks often heard at WordPress meetups, the Authority panels were three experts each presenting a short talk (10 minutes-ish) with slides. Then there was time for Q&A with all the panelists at the end.
The audience was spared a painful experience of watching a bunch of experts all trying to answer the same question — and instead were gifted with three, focused, on point talks each covering different areas of the same overall topic. I loved this format and only wish every panel discussion in the future could be done the same way.
My investment in the Authority Intensive was worth every penny. Not only did I learn some new things (I write a post on it tomorrow) and meet some amazing people (I’ll publish that post too) — but I had a fantastic experience from start to finish. I can’t wait for Authority Intensive 2015, happening in Denver, May 13-15, 2015 — we even already have our tickets.
Now What About You? Did you attend the 2014 Copyblogger Authority Intensive? What did you think of the event?