How to Organize a Conference – The Rick Calvert Interview
The full program
This is an audio program. Listen and/or download it here:
A few lessons from this program
The interview I did with Rick Calvert is meant to be a primer for anyone who wants to put together a new conference. Rick, the co-founder and CEO of BlogWorld and New Media Expo, walked me through the process, step-by-step.
You can listen a recording of our conversation to hear the full walk-through, but here are a few of my notes:
Companies – One of the first things you need to do is get buy-in from your industry’s best companies. When Rick considered putting BlogWorld together, he reached out to companies like Six Apart & Automattic, makers of two of the most popular blogging platforms. Getting companies to buy in early can help with sponsorship money and introductions to other supporters.
Rock Stars – The next step is to get some of the industry’s high-profile leaders to participate. Rick goes after the “rock star” bloggers because he knows that if they come, you’ll want to come meet them.
Evangelize – Talking up your project is important, but isn’t it more powerful to have others evangelize on your behalf? For Rick, that means reaching out to people who have the most authentic voices in media: bloggers.
Parties – Outside parties help make a conference more fun, but they also help bring in a bigger audience. At the coming BlogWorld, Mashable is organizing a party. BlogWorld helps Mashable get new guests to its party and Mashable helps BlogWorld get new conference-goers.
I think of this interview as a 2-for-1 download, because in addition to teaching me how to organize a conference, I asked Rick to spend some time telling me what he learned about blogging from the top bloggers who spoke and attended BlogWorld. What he taught me is helping me become a better blogger. I know it’ll help you too.