What TED’s Content Strategy Can Teach Every Meeting Planner

As more meetings and organizations begin to operate with a “content is king” mindset, the successful TED Conference strategy offers a clear path to achieving any event goals.  So how does TED connect the transformative and often unique on-site experience with the rest of the world?

 

Chris Anderson is a lead curator for the TED Conferences. He has booked speakers ranging from ground-breaking neuroscientists to Super Bowl winning athletes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So what are his key goals when managing a conference with many moving parts? Here he shares his TED Conference lessons that should resonate with every meeting planner.

 

 

  • Impact Relies on Extending Your Reach

A ticket to a TED Conference can come with a steep price tag that can start at $6,000. While the on-site registration fee is expensive and the attendee base is elite, TED has managed to build a brand that feels exclusive to its biggest supporters, yet inclusive of everyone around the world at the same time. Their secret? Sharing. TED doesn’t operate with the typical your account ‘costs-this-much-each-month’ mentality. Instead, says Anderson “the organization lives and breathes its “Ideas Worth Sharing” motto with the understanding that everyone should be able to see and hear groundbreaking innovations.” Simply put, if you have access to the internet, you are already a part of TED.

 

  • Quality Is Key

Creating and producing top-notch videos is not easy. In an environment where thirty-second kitten videos collect millions of views on YouTube, it can be tempting to believe that any content is synonymous with good. While TED programs usually wrap up each night by 8:00pm, Anderson estimates that TED’s Conference video editing team is typically hard at work until past 2:00am to make sure new videos look and sound flawless. That focus doesn’t just play a role once a speech was over. In fact, one TED Vancouver speaker’s silver necklace was creating lighting issues during the first minutes of her speech. Rather than risk a video mired by the distraction, the production team asked the speaker to stop during her address, remove her necklace and restart the speech. While that may interrupt the flow of the on-site experience, TED knows that each video’s lifespan will be much bigger than the on-site 20 minutes.

 

  • Laser Focus

It’s easy to overwhelm an audience. TED programs can often include more than 90 speakers. From behavioral economists, singer-songwriters, authors and more, a lineup can read like a Hall of Fame ballot. Some organizations might want to unload every video throughout a conference in the hopes of creating buzz at the same time. However, the faces behind all those glowing screens can only digest so much content at one time. TED focuses on picking just one video to share each day.  After Monica Lewinsky finished a powerful speech on the need to address cyberbullying, Anderson said “you need to think about how exciting it’s going to be to send that around the world- probably tomorrow.”  It was clear that Anderson picked the perfect story. From The Guardian to The Washington Post to New York Times, Lewinsky’s speech made headlines around the world and collected more than 600,000 views in just a few days.

 

  • Video Does Not Tell The Whole Story

Not sure if your event should have a blog? One look at TED’s site will reassure you that an updated online destination is essential. From ‘The top 10 words of TED 2016’ to ‘7 quotes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at TED 2015’, the organization’s blog lets any reader get lost in post after post with small, bite-sized wisdom. For those prospective attendees who are still on the cusp of whether to make that large financial investment to be part of the next conference, TED’s team flexes the ultimate FOMO marketing muscle: a captivating behind-the-scenes look at what they missed the year prior.

 

Photo Credit: Roman Mager via www.unsplash.com, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/