Before 2020, some of the best networking opportunities available for site owners and gamers were massive conventions. Comic-Con, E3, PAX, and Gamescom – all titanic conventions that were crucial attendance for gaming fans and vendors.
If you’re used to attending online events, stepping back into in-person events can be a daunting task. So in our latest Publisher Collective Live webinar, Connecting with your Community, we asked the editor of Wargamer.com about some of his best tips for making the most of IRL events.
Don’t expect a massive jump in viewership.
It can be difficult to ascertain the benefits of presenting at a convention, especially if you’re hoping to boost your unique users and page views. Try and approach the convention as an opportunity to get the word out about your site instead of expecting huge booms in traffic. Some event-goers might not have heard of you at all, so take the opportunity to introduce yourself to a new audience.
Try to attend a previous day or year of the event.
If you can swing an extra day pass or you’re thinking of presenting at an event next year, try to attend the convention in advance of presenting. This means you can gauge the atmosphere and interests of the event. Are booths more elaborate than you expected? How do the attendees interact with different presenters? By getting an idea of the overall vibe of the event, you’ll feel more comfortable setting up at the start of your day.
Take a different approach to enticing new users.
While self-promotion is great to do online, it can be off-putting to event-goers if you’re solely speaking about your site. Try to connect with them on a personal level. Ask how their day is going and talk about your favorite booths. If you can really connect with attendees, they’ll remember the experience they had at your booth and will likely remember to visit your site after the event, which leads to our next point.
Aim to be truly memorable.
Conventions can be hectic, to say the least! There’s a lot to see and do, which means event-goers are going to have to spread their attention across multiple days of action-packed talks, shows, and after-parties. It’s unlikely someone’s going to take the time to pull up your site and go through your best content while they’re at the event. But if you can provide a memorable experience to them, there’s a good chance they’ll return to your site after the event.
Try and engage attendees with activities adjacent to your site niche. Maybe if you run a Pokémon site, have a place where card collectors can trade cards. Wargamer.com set up a Minifigure painting station at a convention, which created a memorable activity but also gave attendees a painted figurine for them to take home. If you have branded merch, be sure to bring it along to hand out to attendees. It doesn’t need to be big, even just business cards will work. When they’re unpacking after a big convention, they’ll have a physical item to remind them to check out your content.
Don’t forget to promote the event to your audience.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t forget to tell your site audience that you’ll be attending! Make sure to post about your attendance in the lead-up to the event. If you’re not active on social media, put an announcement somewhere on your site or pin a post on your Discord. You never know how many of your existing users will be in attendance as well, and if you let them know you’ll be attending, you might find more of your audience wants to come to meet you.
Want more tips about attending live events? You can watch Wargamer.com’s full discussion of live event etiquette here. We host a quarterly webinar around topics that are important to our partners. Check out our back catalog here.