The user conference is an ideal format for tech companies to connect with customers and partners, secure real-world feedback on products and services, and share their vision for the future. They can also be a great way to drive thought leadership with reporters and other key audiences.
There are three simple things you can do to extend the reach of your conference.
First, lock in media sponsors early! Many publications are willing to sponsor events at no cost. They may even provide free banner ads to publicize the event in exchange for being promoted as an event sponsor. Media sponsors typically send at least one editorial contact to report on the event. But don’t delay in lining them up as some publications limit the number of events they can sponsor in a given year.
Second, live streaming the event instantly opens it up beyond the confines of the venue. Keynotes and customer panels are usually the most sought-after sessions. . . live streaming those segments alone will go far in driving awareness for key topics discussed at the event. Plus it provides a way for reporters to hear from customers who may not be able to conduct press interviews.
Third, amplify the social presence of the event using a live Twitter Wall featuring tweets with the event hashtag. The immediacy of the wall encourages others to participate in the conversation, and shows the user community you are listening to them. The Twitter Wall can also be combined with a Leaderboard that ranks people based on their ability to engage their followers about your event.
But take note. . . providing such transparency isn’t without risk - the live feed will show both positive and negative Tweets and can be distracting in some situations. To play it safe, feature the Twitter Wall in general areas and not directly behind speakers who are presenting.
User conferences are an excellent outlet for tech companies to connect with customers and build momentum around new offerings. Managing your user conference effectively can mean driving thought leadership with reporters and other key audiences, increasing awareness of your products and services, and building good will with customers and partners. In this edition of Wait a Minute, Schwartz MSL VP Jill Reed shares a few tricks that will take your user conference to the next level. Watch the video below, and read the full blog post here.
John Moran and Avi Dines of the Schwartz MSL studios talk about the upcoming #HIMSS14 show and incorporating video into your plans.
Some of the biggest mistakes companies make pertain to lighting, audio and how to frame the picture. We tell people we want video to be your PAL. The P stands for picture. The picture should be framed properly and you want to use good Audio (that’s the A). The L represents lighting. You don’t need expensive, high-end lights, but you need to film in a place with good natural lighting so the shadows don’t make off color on screen.
The other important issue to consider is what kind of video to create for a conference. Companies can shoot video at the conference and post right away and make compilation videos for after the fact. Something else to keep in mind is the product video you can produce ahead of the event which discusses your company and/or a product you are showcasing at the conference. But do not wait until a week or two before the conference to suddenly think about creating a video. That doesn’t give you enough time to do it properly. Incorporate video into the rest of your conference planning so you can represent your company properly.
HIMSS has rules and guidelines you should know before you plan to conduct a video at the conference:
Cameras and video equipment will only be allowed on the show floor if the following apply:
All filming happens within the confines of the exhibiting company’s booth
All cameras or video equipment must face into the exhibiting company’s booth
Filming other exhibitor’s booths, their product/demonstration or members in their booth will be an automatic deduction of all priority points and will lose the right to exhibit on the HIMSS show floor for any future shows.
Only if special permission is granted by an exhibiting company may any photos or video be taken of that booth.
Person filming or taking photographs will have to have an exhibitor badge from your company’s allotment
Please advise HIMSS (Virginia Geoghegan at email@example.com) if you wish to move forward with filming/photographs in your booth.
Video is a part of the way you tell your corporate story. Schwartz MSL works with clients all year on just that process. We would be happy to help you if you are thinking about doing a video for HIMSS. Please feel free to contact Avi Dines at 781-684-0770 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Karen Malone and JoAnn Klinedinst, CPHIMS, PMP, CES, FHIMSS, are very busy people these days. As vice president of meeting services and vice president of professional development respectively for HIMSS, they are focused on making #HIMSS14 the best it has ever been. Schwartz MSL caught up with Karen and JoAnn to learn about what’s new and why HIMSS remains the top health IT show of the year.
Karen Malone and JoAnn Klinedinst of HIMSS
What is new and exciting at HIMSS 14?
We worked together on reinventing the schedule to give the attendees a much better experience. We found that attendees need more time to get from session to session and to network with one another. As such, we have increased the time between sessions to 30 minutes. We also took a look at the exhibition hours. In prior years, we tried to minimize overlap between education and exhibition, but that isn’t working anymore, as we approach the 37,000+-person attendance mark. We will have more overlap between education hours and exhibition hours, and we have increased the floor hours. The exhibit hall now has more than 1,200 exhibitors, and we must make sure attendees have time to see all of the exhibitors on the floor. The floor is now open during mid-day break.
We are also excited about the pre-conference education and general conference education sessions. This year, we went with a call for proposal format for our pre-conference education. What this does is invite the entire HIMSS constituency to help develop outstanding programs.
Our Virtual Learning Network will allow attendees to take two symposia from our pre-conference education and continue the conversation over the course of the year. The two topics are Project Management and Interoperability. Registrants for those two programs will have ongoing education around these topics for the entire year.
We have a HIMSS Hero Welcome to welcome our service members as well as our veterans. This is a joint initiative between HIMSS and Bellevue College in Bellevue, Wash. The US Department of Labor provided a generous grant for this program.
Another new item is called “Your Turn at HIMSS14” to enable attendees to help drive the conversation at HIMSS. Through social media campaigns, we will solicit topics they like to discuss. On six different time slots on Tuesday, Feb. 25, there will be different topics, such as patient portals in a physician practice. We ask that people not use presentation slides or offer promotional content.
Attendees will have an opportunity to tour Nemours Children’s Hospital. The tour on Sunday, Feb. 23, will focus on technology, and the one on Tuesday will discuss the patient-centered approach. Nemours is part of the 650-acre health and life sciences park known as Lake Nona Medical City, a landmark for Orlando and a premier location for medical care, research and education. Also a HIMSS Davies Award winning organization, Nemours is quite proud of its Orlando facility. Both Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware and Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando are Stage 7 hospitals, as recognized by the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM)™; Nemours is the first organization to achieve Stage 7 of the ambulatory EMRAM in Florida, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.Thus, offering the tours brings something local into our program and ties in nicely with our theme of healthy patients and doing more for the consumer.
The Connected Patient Learning Gallery will be on the exhibit floor. This is a hands-on, interactive area showcasing innovative health IT products and services that address various aspects of e-engaging providers and patients, as well as ways to integrate these products for patient care. It will address the following pillars of healthcare: wellness/prevention/disease management, mental health, the smart home and the payment experience.
Has social media become an important aspect of the conference?
We have social media efforts and plans built into our communications approach. Our hashtag - #HIMSS14 – is already very active. With the “Your Turn” event, we will be engaging a group of bloggers to keep everyone informed. We will also be doing Twitter chats and more on LinkedIn and Google+. The areas most important for the conference and what we expect people talking about are:
• Clinical and business intelligence; • IT standards and interoperability; • Meaningful use; • mHealth; • Patient engagement; and • Value of health IT.
Our staff will be sending out highlights and information via Twitter from the exhibit floor. We encourage exhibitors and speakers to distribute messages through their social media channels. The focus on the value of health IT will be in many conversations, since that topic is so critical now. Expect to hear how people are demonstrating and communicating the value of health IT.
In less than four months, healthcare professionals will reconvene in sunny Orlando at the HIMSS14 conference to learn about the latest in healthcare IT innovation, network with peers, catch keynotes by luminaries like Hillary Clinton, and lead discussions on issues now reshaping the healthcare landscape.
Leading up to the conference, Schwartz MSL will be auditing the social media universe to analyze who is discussing what. Each week, we’ll comb through social media channels to capture the trends and offer recommendations and tips to help you promote your company’s presence at the country’s most influential healthcare IT show.
Here’s what we’ve noticed:
Every year since 2010, HIMSS has seen 10-20k more tweets than the year before associated with its hashtag. If the trend continues, we can expect that #HIMSS14 will be used 60-70k times this year alone.
Today’s HIMSS Social Media Tip: Join the conversation, you still have time.
Based on last year’s social channel pattern, we predict that #HIMSS14 tweets will not take off (50+ tweets a day) until two months prior to show.
We are finding that using hashtags, such as #hie, #ehr and #hcsm now will provide the best overlap between #HIMSS14 and #HealthIT conversations. This week, #hie is currently the most commonly referenced topic surrounding #HIMSS14. (And, #ehr is a close runner up in the #HealthIT conversation). Not surprisingly, after this week’s delay in the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance mandate.
Now is the time to prepare for your social media participation at HIMSS. Are you ready to make a mid-December splash?
Our team at Schwartz MSL is available to discuss social media strategy and offer guidance. If you would like to speak with us about your HIMSS14 planning, please feel free to contact us at 781-684-0770 or email@example.com.
All of the healthcare companies we work with at MSLGROUP have transformative technologies that are changing healthcare, and most of these technologies are incredibly complex.
By describing these technologies in simple, compelling terms, and seeding the marketplace with these messages, we help companies increase customer and stakeholder interest - and this can have lasting positive effects on the value that customers and stakeholders place on your company.
Here are some simple ways to describe complex technologies in simple terms, which we have seen increase the value of products and companies time and time again:
Identify the key aspect of your technology that is most transformative or that is most different from everything else that is out there.
Find and use an analogy to describe the transformative aspect of your technology; for example Scientific American describes Josiah Zayner’s “chromocord” invention at the University of Chicago as a “music box that turns biology into sound.”
Develop an infographic that succinctly conveys the core value of your technology or product offering - because we all know a picture can tell a thousand words. Here is an example of an infographic we developed to clarify when BRCA testing is medically indicated.
And remember - just because you choose one key aspect to describe your technology first doesn't mean you can't talk about the whole package later.
Check back again soon for more tips and insights on the technologies that are transforming healthcare.
Technology is changing healthcare at an extremely rapid pace. Currently, the healthcare industry is the scene of some truly transformative products and services—the trouble is that these complicated technologies are often difficult to explain. In this installment of Wait a Minute, Schwartz MSL’s Karin Bauer offers a few tips to simply express the value of healthcare technologies that stand to revolutionize the industry. Watch the video below and read the full blog here.
Schwartz MSL spoke with Daniel Casciato, a freelance writer and editor and social media consultant from Pittsburgh, PA, currently living in South Bend, IN. Dan writes about business, health, law, social media and technology. He is the editor of Western Pennsylvania Healthcare News and a featured contributor for Medical Office Today. Dan also manages social media channels for several companies including Western PA Healthcare News. In anticipation of HIMSS14, we talked about ways in which companies can make the most out of social media before, during and after a trade show. We also learned about his favorite sports teams.
Your skills are at the intersection of media, social media and content creation. When did you find that simply writing articles wasn't enough? When did you catch the social media wave?
I got started in social media about four years ago. I was already using many social media channels for personal use, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and recognized them as tools to help me and others in business. What really got me more involved in social media was working at Western Pennsylvania Healthcare News. Our publisher was on LinkedIn and was trying to grow his contact list. I then helped him grow that network from 100 to 3,000 connections. Collectively among our small staff of creative professionals, we have close to 10,000 social media connections. Healthcare News really pushed me in that direction. Then others started to come to me with social media questions.
Planning for HIMSS14 is already underway. What are some tips you have for vendors who wish to promote their presence before, during and after the show?
The goal for any marketing effort is to get people to visit your booth. Companies will want to promote their presence using a variety of social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as the more traditional methods of advertising, mail and direct mail. One of the first things to do is find out if the show has a dedicated hashtag. People who will be attending HIMSS will be clicking on the hashtag to see what is happening.
Companies should also consider doing a video preview and posting it on YouTube to let attendees know what to expect to see at your booth. Will you be demonstrating a product? Offering giveaways? Will you be offering a white paper or have a special on products or services? Keep the video at two minutes or less. You can also post that to Facebook. Another good strategy is to take photos of the booth and post messages about the company’s activities to encourage people to visit.
Since not everyone will attend the trade show, you can still connect with them after the show. Let them know what they missed via a blog post on “top 10 things that happened,” for example. One thing people need to remember about social media – it’s not all about you and your organization. Your audience wants to learn from you. Educate people. Engage them in conversation.
Content marketing is huge for companies, whether you post articles on your site or maintain a blog. Think of the site or blog as the hub of the wheel, while social media represents the spokes.
Where might we find you on the weekend?
These days I enjoy spending most of my time, weekends included, with my three-month-old daughter. Before we had the baby, my wife and I enjoyed dining out and seeing a movie on the weekends. I'm a sports nut and love my Pittsburgh sports team, so my wife and I sometimes would go to a Penguins game or Pirates game if we happen to be in town for a weekend. I'm also a Steelers season ticket holder and share seats with three other people. As a freelancer, I'm fortunate to work from home and able to see [my daughter] grow up before my eyes.
Dead or alive: What person would you most like to interview?
I love TV and movies, so I would most like to interview Ron Howard. I remember watching him as a kid through reruns of the Andy Griffith Show and then Happy Days. Today, I enjoy many of the movies and TV shows he's directed or produced such as Arrested Development, 24 or A Beautiful Mind. He's someone whose career I followed since I first watched television as a kid. He's a brilliant storyteller, and you can see that in his film and TV work. I also read recently where he and his business partner Brian Grazer want to get into the advertising business and help companies market their brand. He can do it all, from Hollywood to Madison Avenue!
MSLGROUP has just been named “Best Corporate Consultancy in the World, 2013” by the influential Holmes Group. This impressive award underscores what companies around the world have learned by working with MSLGROUP: that we are unmatched in our ability to help our clients with strategic communications and marketing. That’s because truly effective communications and marketing – the type that makes a positive difference in peoples’ lives – is far more than just the basics done well. MSLGROUP provides our clients with integrated communications and marketing campaigns derived from insights, analysis and creativity. Any agency can execute tasks. But only one is recognized as the Best Corporate Consultancy in the World. Think about what that can mean for your communications and marketing.
We recently spoke with Alex Kane Rudansky, associate healthcare editor with InformationWeek Healthcare. Alex joined IW Healthcare in July after covering local and national politics and local news with several outlets in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, including The Washington Post and Chicago Sun-Times. Although a newcomer to the healthcare scene, Alex has quickly ramped up. We had a lively conversation about healthcare, big data, exchanges, patient engagement and her favorite music.
How has reporting on politics made you a better healthcare journalist?
Reporting on politics was a personal and professional challenge. Politics is an infrastructure that limits the information one can tell you. When it was about positive initiatives and good PR, sure people would talk. But when it came to real nitty-gritty stories, it was difficult to get people to open up. That experience taught me how to ask the tough questions and conduct interviews on an investigative level. But it doesn’t matter what I might be covering, I still need to know enough to ask the right questions in the right way.
Healthcare is a different kind of journalism. The focus of my writing has shifted from “What” to “Why.” People actually want to talk with you and are open to sharing ideas. After all, it is an industry that is focused on information sharing. If a company is doing something innovative, they want to get the message out. This allows me to take a much deeper look into story topics and put the news into context.
Of course, everything isn’t all rosy in healthcare. People are hesitant to criticize the regulatory side of things, for example. But I try to get both sides of a story. Even with a tough subject like the October 1 start of Exchanges, people were eager to talk about how they have prepared vs. the actual challenges, which will come later.
How did you land at InformationWeek Healthcare?
After having spent a few years covering the political scene, I wanted something different yet something with growth potential that not only has an interesting tech perspective, but also has a tangible effect on the lives of Americans. I thought it would be interesting to delve into an industry I didn’t know about. I like learning about the ways technology works within healthcare, and how health systems work around the many challenges they face to implement some really innovative ideas and technology. InformationWeek is invested in the healthcare sector, which is an exploding market due to recent policy and advancements in technology. How they interact is interesting to me.
What do you think are the most important trends in healthcare IT in 2013?
EHRs, EHRs, EHRs. The push for EHRs is going to skyrocket. How they’re transforming healthcare as well as the challenges hospitals and practices are facing in implementing them is fascinating. But going a step further, as of now, I have not spoken with a doctor or CIO who is totally in love with his EHR. There always seems to be a caveat. The next success story will be the one who can figure out how to get physicians to like and use EHRs.
Another big trend is big data. The healthcare industry is just beginning to see big data’s potential. The data is there. Now the issue is how to leverage it to improve patient outcomes. We’re only at the starting stages of this. We use data to hone in on a specific patient population, but we have not seen an overall strategy based on big data. What some people have said is to use the data for predictive analytics, where we use the data to predict what will happen to a patient population.
And the third trend I see making a huge impact on the industry is patient engagement. Healthcare has a ways to go in bringing the power to the patient. We are beginning to create more of a consumer-centric environment where the patient opinion and experience are valued more. I can go to Amazon’s customer service, and in less than five minutes get results. Why should I spend two hours on the phone with an insurance company? Standards in other industries are changing the way patients are approaching their care. The technology is there – patient portals, wearable technology – all of these tools are allowing patients to interact in their own care. I recently wrote a story about patient-generated data and how it can lower costs and improve care. We need to ask the right questions to leverage data in the most effective way.
Dead or alive - who would you most want to interview and why?
Hillary Clinton! I’ve always had a fascination with the Clintons, and I would absolutely love to pick her brain. If I get to #HIMSS14, perhaps I will get the chance to at least meet her.
If you weren't involved with healthcare IT reporting, what would you do instead?
I would love to be a foreign correspondent in China. I studied Mandarin for about ten years and love the language and culture.
When you are not working on healthcare stories, what do you like to do on the weekend?
I can be found biking around Chicago and catching up on the latest issue of The New Yorker in a coffee shop. Music is a huge part of my life, and I love live music. I attend a concert at least every other week. Chicago has a vibrant music scene, and concerts are not expensive, at least the off-beat music. I enjoy everything from jazz to electronic music. Currently on my radar are the bands Washed Out and Phosphorescent.