Creating content for conventions

Being at a conference like the Maine Human Resources Convention 2012 compels me to put up conference-centric content on my blog. While not everyone is a blogger, I find that each time I make the effort to represent even a small fraction of all that’s going on here at The Samoset during my stay will result in a return on my blogging investment in new followers, as well as increased traffic to my new website/blog. I also enjoy creating a personal snapshot; another benefit personally is that it also provides a vehicle for me to process everything happening around me.

Astute observers of the social media landscape will tell you that content creation is the biggest hurdle for the majority of new users. Whether it’s Twitter’s 140 characters, updates on Facebook, engaging on Linkedin, or the ultimate content challenge–dum, dum, dum, dum (imagine the music in a movie just before a key scene, the part with the tom toms)–blogging, the idea of consistently generating content scares a lot of people away. It might be one of the reasons why many are shy about aggressively engaging with social media, or engaging at all.

Being a writer is beneficial in generating material to post, but it is certainly not a requirement in order to blog successfully. During last night’s social hour before dinner, I had the opportunity to meet someone for whom blogging is part of her job description. For some people, this would be a deal breaker. That’s not the case for Audra Becker, from Career Management Associates.

Our conversation got around to social media and blogging in particular and when I asked Audra if she considered herself a writer, she told me that she didn’t. We talked about blogging, and content creation for her company’s blog. I was intrigued by this, especially given my awareness of CMA’s commitment to content creation and employee blogs. Reading through some of her recent posts made me think about content generation, and her ability to create content germane to her audience. She is making it happen and illustrates what I wish more companies and nonprofits understood about the role of social media in today’s marketplace.

CMA and Audra believe in engaging with their customers. That’s what Web 2.0 is all about–having a conversation and dialogue, not a monologue, which is so Web 1.0.

During the course of the evening of Day 1 (for me), I had multiple conversations with fellow attendees, some of them, old friends, as well as connecting with many new ones. That’s what networking and the MEHRC is all about–connecting, learning, and moving forward–embracing new things, like engaging more intentionally via social media, perhaps.

I’ll close with an example of why I like Twitter. While this microblogging platform is probably the least utilized by attendees here at The Samoset, in my opinion, it might be one of the best ways to connect with new people.

Standing in line at the bar, waiting for a drink, I made the most of my time by introducing myself to people around me. One of the people nearby that I struck up a conversation with was David Lusk from SHRM. As all of us attendees do when meeting a new person, our eyes immediately seek out the requisite conference name tag, searching for pertinent personal data, i.e. name and organization. In addition to David’s name and organization, I recognized him from his tweets associated with the #MEHRC2012 hash tag.

We ended up chatting for 10 minutes about social media, Twitter in particular, and the differences in social media culture and usage between Maine and DC, where he’s based. Put another point in the social media plus column.

When I launched my writing career 10 years ago, one of the things I embraced and it has served me well, providing fodder for my blogging, and three books (with new ones on the way), was the admonition to “write what you know.” I’ve been doing that successfully now for more than a decade. Because it’s served me so well, I’d encourage you to do the same, as it will help you create some wonderful content that others will connect with.