Your annual user conference starts in two weeks. You’ve packed glossy brochures in cozy boxes. Printed thousands of badges. Reserved buckets of ice for your nightly foot-soaking. And to chronicle the big event on your company blog, you have your very own ghost eager to haunt the conference halls. Let’s call him Bob.
To be fair, Bob is actually a geeky tech writer with an adorable head of floppy hair, not a ghost. But like your friendly neighborhood ghost, Bob will pop up when you least expect it and everywhere you turn, there he’ll be. In fact, Bob is such an eager beaver, you may want to give him some conference haunting tips so he can focus where it counts. Here’s what you can tell him.
Bob, channel me. Write like I talk. I know, I’ll get all the glory for your stupendous copy, but when you’re ghosting, Bob, that’s your cross to bear.
Have a plan. Covering a user conference is a little like The Amazing Race, except the only person you’re competing against is yourself. Bob, you need to study the user conference schedule and decide before the doors open where you will be every second of the day. There will be a lot going on, and you don’t want to miss the most important stuff because you didn’t know about it.
Which brings me to the next point. Bob, attend the keynote, which is arguably the most important event of the conference. Just say “no” to the Dance Dance Revolution showdown in the developer lounge. Take copious notes and right when the keynote ends, dash to a quiet corner right away and blog all about it.
When you’re writing your blog posts, paint a picture. You want readers to feel like they are right there with you, Bob, so notice how the audience reacts, what they’re eating, and what they’re saying to each other. Take stock of your surroundings. Is that Lady Gaga playing? Bob, you want your readers to hear Bad Romance in full mental stereo.
And speaking of Lady Gaga—a human that may seem to be from another planet but actually is Homo sapiens—don’t forget the human element in your blog posts. Pick the brains of attendees. What do they like about the conference? What are they learning? How will it change the way they do business? Do they know where to find some good sushi?
Finally, Bob, have some fun. Go to the parties, join in the games, rub elbows with other attendees. You might find yourself decoding a scavenger hunt clue with someone who is using our company’s software to design the next big thing. Just think, Bob, you could get an exclusive. I mean, I could get an exclusive. Sorry.