Here you can find Ian Hall's blog about Event Editor
Event Editor was delighted to be engaged by the organisers of the Creative Shootout 2016 (#creativeshootout), billed as the ‘first of its kind event, designed to showcase creative talent and thinking, live, for a cause each year’.
Six PR agencies were shortlisted to receive a ‘brief’ from Unicef UK in the morning and then pitch their ideas back to a live audience in the afternoon. In the evening, one winner and runner-up were crowned at an after-party.
The creativity competition, ‘designed to test the creative mettle of PR teams’, launched last autumn and the big day itself – held yesterday (21 Jan 2016) at the China Exchange in London’s Soho - saw Event Editor using LiveWall software to scroll the best tweets on plasma screens: our Event Editor LIVE service.
It was really enjoyable to work on this event - including catching up with various contacts from my years working for PRWeek (2000-2007) - and to see the audience watching the tweets, including photo-tweets, scrolling across the screens.
We have been provided with a testimonial by Johnny Pitt, CEO of Launch PR, who founded the Creative Shootout. Johnny told us: "The tweetwall really added an edge to the first Creative Shootout and was commented on by several people. Very cool. Very professional. Thank you, Event Editor."
I blog after attending a sizeable two-day exhibition at the ExCeL centre, east London, called the Business Show (#TBS2014) and sub-badged as ‘Europe’s biggest business event’. Tickets were free, and I thought it would be interesting to network, test my Event Editor ‘pitch’, hear entrepreneurs’ stories, and see what types of people attended (and indeed spent money on stands).
I attended for most of one full day, which kicked off by hearing a seminar by university contemporary Brett Akker (@BrettAkker) describe how he had built two successful businesses: StreetCar and LoveSpace. I approached Brett afterwards for a chat and was delighted he remembered me from our Durham years (late 90s). We have since exchanged emails and he has wished Event Editor best of fortune.
Other highlights were a packed session on how Twitter can help small businesses, and I also enjoyed saying hello to someone whose name I recognised from my years as a journalist at PRWeek – Nick Band (@NickBand), who was at the Business Show with one of his clients.
I also made a beeline for a major London-based events firm, which also had a sizeable stand. I handed over my business card and was told I could expect to hear back within a few days. It was a very upbeat conversation and I continue to feel confident that my ‘between- events-and-content’ pitch is fertile territory.
I decided to stand out from the crowd (a little) at the Business Show by wearing an Event Editor-branded hoodie. I’d ordered this only a fortnight ago via Clothes2Order (@clothes2order), whose website was impressive and came up high on a Google search for ‘branded hoodies’. To my amazement, particularly given that Clothes2Order are based in Manchester, Clothes2Order themselves had a stand at the Business Show! Above you can see a photo of me – in my Event Editor hoodie – in front of their stand. What a small world!
Last but not least, I was interested to see that the Business Show had a tweetwall – I blog separately about this below, as I think there are lessons for the organisers.
There was a tweetwall at last week's Business Show 2014 (see above blog) but I happened upon it almost by chance and I imagine that most attendees (tweeters or not) would have missed it.
It was located in what seemed like a dark and empty-ish space near the back of the large exhibition area, and I saw no signposting as 'something to check out'.
Event Editor sent a tweet and it appeared on the wall within a minute (see photo: our Tweet is mid-right!). I don’t know if a moderator was working remotely.
The event certainly seemed to enjoy a relatively high volume of tweeting, but if there was any offline promotion of Twitter, the hashtag #TBS2014 or the tweetwall (e.g. in printed promo materials, on badges, brochures, etc), I missed it.
It seems the Business Show could benefit from working with Event Editor. Now, where’s their phone number…?
I am still buzzing after a really enjoyable day yesterday at Berkhamsted Golf Club - @BerkhamstedGolf - in Hertfordshire.
The club (where I have been a member for just over three years) kindly allowed me to trial a Tweetwall – of course, running courtesy of software from @LiveWallNL – during the #BerkhamstedTrophy, a prestigious annual competition featuring 66 of the country’s leading amateur golfers.
I arrived at the club at about 7am and was immediately busy, taking a few photos of the course looking picturesque in the early-morning dew. The competition started at 7:30am and I took some early action photos on my phone (one group of golfers were dressed very colourfully: like a Benetton advert).
I spent most of the day racing between the course and the clubhouse, where I had the Tweetwall running on a TV that usually shows live sports (see photo). The tweeting and Tweetwall became quite a talking-point and I enjoyed trying to explain what was going on in a succinct a way as possible.
Aside from being able to synthesise two things I enjoy – Twitter and golf – the event was an excellent practical learning exercise for Event Editor.
The club (in a semi-rural and rather undulating location) doesn’t enjoy the best of mobile-phone signals, which created a slight delaying effect. And I found that constantly tweeting, photographing – and indeed moderating the Tweetwall – all via the same device was very draining on my mobile-phone battery. Indeed I was already recharging at about 10:30am.
It also seemed that the plasma screen – while fine for the broadcast of live sports - was perhaps too small for people sitting in the far corner of the room to understand the rotating tweets (photos and text). I also felt like I could have used one tweeter per hole on the course (18 tweeters!) to create a truly ‘live’ buzz.
I have already compiled an eight-page wrap-up report, and really enjoyed seeing the club pick up new Twitter followers and the players’ retweets (particularly the photos – not when they were ‘on the course’, of course!).
One further action point for Event Editor is that I think I may need to invest in a ‘tablet’ device: laptops are great but relatively heavy, while smartphones can be a little fiddly for rapid Tweetwall moderation. Any recommendations for tablets greatly appreciated.
PS Update following the blog below (22 March). My first two ‘real’ presentations of Event Editor went well! Or at least I think they did: I received broadly enthusiastic responses from the two companies in question, and I hope to hear that I will be able to work on with them on events in the coming months. Watch this space!
I continue to progress various elements of Event Editor’s services and almost feel ready to being a bit more ‘out there’.
I have received a testimonial for my work at Haymarket’s #SocialSummit last month, an event that was a great learning experience in numerous respects. I have created a section of this website devoted to such testimonials and will upload my first shortly.
I continue to tweak other elements of this website, deleting elements that I no longer think are necessary, and amending some text, too. I’m ‘all ears’ at the moment for advice to improve this website.
I have had a further Skype-call and subsequent in-person meeting with Frits Mahovic from LiveWall, who was recently over in London from Holland. Part of our meeting was running a trial LiveWall and moderating using my smartphone. Everything worked fine, and I feel imbued with confidence. Frits also gave me additional useful feedback on Event Editor’s services, and we further discussed how we could help each other and work together.
Very few of my friends and professional contacts are so far in the loop on Event Editor, but I am getting excited by the enthusiasm shown by the few to whom I have explained the project. In fact, on Friday and Saturday last week, two friends (to whom I was explaining the concept for the first time – one of whom received a live demo over a drink) told me that they’d recently had workplace discussions about precisely what I’m setting up to provide. That's reassuring.
It will be important for Event Editor to work with associate/partner companies and I intend to create a network of firms and individuals who I can trust to work with me on projects, bringing
different skills, resources or technological savvy. This will be particularly the case for the central part of Event Editor’s offer, Event Editor LIVE.
I am pleased to say that the first such firm in Event Editor’s partner network is LiveWall, which offers various software tools to boost the ‘social presence’ of events. I had an excellent meeting with Frits Mahovic (@FritsMahovic), LiveWall's creative director, late last year, and we hope we can work together, bringing our complementary skillsets and knowledge to each other. You can see LiveWall’s logo already on this site's 'How we work with you' tab. Frits is a cool guy and I was impressed with how open he has been to potential collaboration.
I have always been interested in the insight provided by Google Analytics – which tracks how visitors use your site - and it’s going to be interesting to use this tool to see who looks at www.eventeditor.com. This is the first time I have created my own website and also the first time I have had to teach myself Google Analytics. I have discovered that in order for a website owner to see its Google Analytics stats you need to ‘copy and paste’ a unique code provided by Google Analytics into ‘back-end’ of the site. I have now done this and – to my surprise – seem to have done it correctly. I will need to monitor this over the next couple of weeks to see if it is indeed working properly and revealing the desired data. And as I begin to publicise Event Editor I hope the readership will increase.
I have ordered Event Editor business cards! They will arrive shortly from Vistaprint, which has been doing a lot of TV advertising lately (and also came out pretty much top on a Google search for ‘ordering/creating business cards’). I have ordered a pack of 250 for just over £20, which was about double what I’d thought they would cost when I started the ‘create your own’ process on the firm’s website. I got carried away in the moment, and fell hook, line and sinker for a kind of upselling process towards the end of the ordering process (e.g. an extra £4.99 to have something printed on the back, etc). I’m sure the cards will look great when they arrive, and having ordered them is another signal that things are moving forward for Event Editor. BLOG UPDATE! (4 Feb): Event Editor's business cards have arrived and look fantastic!
Last but very much not least, Event Editor is delighted to be working on the Social Summit conference event being organised by Haymarket (one of my former employers) from 4-7 February in London. I sent a tweet from @EventEditor yesterday to this effect, and will be in full swing next week. The Social Summit’s full agenda is online at www.thesocial-summit.com and kicks off with a workshop entitled ‘The Essential Twitter Guide To Win The Moment In 140 Characters’. There could not be a more appropriate workshop for Event Editor! More blogs next week – for sure!
I have commissioned Event Editor's logo, whose design owes to my interest in all things Soviet. I am happy with how it looks and have received it from the designer in different formats, for different purposes.
I used a firm who – very unusually for a web-design firm, surely – take a twice-weekly promotional stall on a local market (he's about five stalls along from the fruit-and-veg sellers). His personal service – and, very importantly for me, cost – was excellent, although it probably helped that I had a solid idea of the design I'd like.
On the downside I have so far been unable to upload Event Editor's logo to our Twitter account. I have contacted Twitter about this as it's a problem I have never previously faced. Response awaited. For now, the Event Editor Twitter account bears a design I have mocked up myself (and which I may stick with).
I have also recently had a positive meeting with a company about potential office space. It is relatively costly but the ideal location. I will only puruse this further down the track.
I have also had some professional photos taken (one of which can be found on the 'Who is Event Editor?' section of this website). Like with the logo, to do the job I used a photography studio near to where I live, and found the service excellent.
Also on a positive note I have received three emails of great encouragement from people who I've consulted about this venture (and who I'd at some point like to involve). Each continue to helpfully steer my thoughts with constructive advice, which is greatly appreciated.
I have recently joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to receive ongoing business and legal advice (etc) as part of my membership, which should hopefully reduce to zero (for financial reasons!) the extent to which I ask my accountants for such advice.
My priority now is to refine further Event Editor's 'offer'.
My idea for Event Editor lodged early in 2012 during a one-day business conference.
There were about 120 people in the room and speakers delivered presentations of varying quality: a few seemed to be trotting out blandishments, using the same slides they'd probably used for other events; while others had clearly put in a lot of effort, and their content was highly relevant.
As I glanced round at my fellow delegates, I noticed that most were either on their laptops or regularly glancing down at their smartphones, occasionally tapping away. Were these people engaged in the day's speeches? Some seemed to be, but others were not (one appeared to be watching an action movie). As I raced down notes, it seemed some speakers' great content was being missed by people, distracted as they were by unlimited constant access to the internet.
What were the event's top soundbites, facts and trends? Great content seemed it would be lost forever for many people in the room, disappearing as quickly as the lunchtime buffet. The event had no social media element. Opportunities were being missed. Had anyone ensured all the speakers were properly prepped? Who was keeping the day's emerging narrative(s) on track?
I thought of these questions and more: were people networking as much as they could? Were journalists getting the content they wanted, and picking up the key points? Would anyone outside the room even hear about what we had heard and seen, let alone benefit?
I compared this with a similar-sized event I'd attended previously at which the organisers had invested in a 'tweet-wall' - a screen displaying live tweets, scrolling vertically (usually about five tweets are visible at a single moment; usually the screen is located behind the speaker panel). For this reason alone, this event buzzed with greater vitality.
And thus my idea for Event Editor was born.
I actually settled on the name a few weekends ago while out for a walk. The name owes to my career experience with words and editing (and what some would term 'crafting narratives'). And that's what I want Event Editor to do.
In the era of smart-phones and 'always on' technology, event attendees have unlimited distractions and minds can quickly wander.
I want to help organisations to keep more people engaged for longer in their events – not only during events, but (just as beneficially) before and afterwards.
Over the past year or so (I know, quite a long time!), I have honed my thoughts and idea. What am I doing that's truly different? Would Event Editor be attractive to organisations (and would event organisers be able to justify the budget)? Where is the real value I'll hope to add and how could I prove this to clients?
I have always had an entrepreneurial mind. But, paradoxically, I'm quite risk-averse and conservative, too. Buying this website – my own! - has been a genuine thrill. And typing this first blog has been fun.
I'll keep you posted.