Tapping the Collective Wisdom of the Meetings and Events Industry

December 19, 2012

Industry thought collection (blog posting) via eVenues


I’ve had the privilege of contributing to two “industry thought collection” pieces assembled by Kenji Crosland (@KenjiCrosland). Kenji assembled the pieces for one of his clients, eVenues, a marketplace for meeting and event spaces. You can find the two pieces here:

Biggest Trend in 2013? 21 Meetings Industry Leaders Give Us Their Predictions.

26 Meetings and Events Industry Leaders Share their Best Career Advice

These pieces provide great value to eVenues: traffic, awareness, thought leadership and perhaps sales leads and new business. To get some insights on how Kenji pulls it off, I did a Q&A with him.

Q&A with Kenji Crosland

Kenji Crosland (@KenjiCrosland)

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: Since I moved from Tokyo to Seattle about 2 years ago, I’ve been helping startups like eVenues with their SEO and content marketing strategy. I have been working with eVenues closely for over a year to help drive traffic to their site.

Q: Tell us about eVenues?

A: eVenues is an online marketplace for meeting spaces, bookable by the hour or day. Over the last three years the company has evolved from a instant booking service and scheduling system for participating venues, to a fast response lead generation system for venues and space seekers.

Not only do we list spaces, but we now have the “virtual concierge” technology to help renters find what they need without being overwhelmed by options. This last innovation has served us well and has propelled our growth.

Q: What inspired you to assemble these “industry thought collection” pieces?

A: I’m always on the lookout for great content in other industries that manage to get a lot of links/tweets/and shares. I saw a similar “industry thought collection” piece for a completely different industry and thought it would be a good fit for the meetings industry as well.

Q: What benefit have you (or eVenues) derived from them?

A: These pieces have helped establish our blog as an important resource for those who wish to keep abreast of the meetings industry. It shows to potential clients and customers that we aren’t “just another startup” trying to disrupt an industry that we don’t know anything about.

One secondary benefit of these posts is the number of links that they attract, thus helping boost our domain authority. The higher our domain authority, the higher our listings rank in the search results.

Q: How did you find and recruit contributors outside of your network?

A: The first place I looked was the list of eVenues’ twitter followers. While technically a twitter follower is already a connection it’s a relatively weak one. I sent very short direct messages asking influential followers in the meetings industry if they wanted to contribute to the post. Because they were already following eVenues, there was already a bit of credibility established. That made it easy to move forward.

I did, however, reach out to complete strangers outside of the eVenues network. I compiled a list of influential people in the meetings industry and used an email finding tool (http://linksy.me/find-email) to make the first approach. I’ve found this tool extremely helpful for content marketing outreach purposes. This tool is a marketer’s dream and I don’t share this it lightly because of the potential for abuse, but I figure the readers here will use it for good and not for evil.

Q: Do you edit any of the contributions?

A: I’ve had to shorten some submissions slightly and have made small wording and typo fixes. I make sure to send a preview to contributors before the post is published so they can see changes made if there are any.

Q: Are there any online tools you use that help you put these together?

A: I mainly use Gmail to keep submissions organized. When anyone sends me a submission to a post I’ll move it into a folder like “2013 trends post”. This makes it easy to keep track of who submitted and who I may need to follow up with. No special tools other than that.

Q: Approximately how much time does it take you to do one of these?

A: It takes about a week and a half to do all outreach, collect submissions and create the post.

Q: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to do something similar in their industry?

A: Most people, no matter how much of a big deal they may seem, are probably more accessible than you think. You’d be surprised how many of them are willing to take the time to share their knowledge and experience.

2013 Predictions for the Meeting Industry

Q: Let’s turn the tables: tell us your 2013 predictions for the meetings industry?

A: Three predictions:

  1. With a younger generation rethinking large events with such meetings as barcamps and unconferences, we’ll see small meetings take a bigger chunk of the pie. Although events will get smaller, they will likely become more frequent and informal, meaning a quicker turnaround when it comes to dealing with suppliers.
  2. The content of the event is much more likely to be recorded and distributed through online channels, either for SEO/content marketing purposes or selling the content itself.
  3. Finally, the industry will be surprised by the actual revenue generated by the “hidden planner”.  Typically these are planners that spend 1% of their time “planning a day meeting or event”.  eVenues has begun to partner with many and will continue to increase the marketing efforts to capture this data and report back to the industry.

Pondering The Future With PCMA, VEI and … Event Camp?

October 16, 2011

Note: The thoughts expressed in this post are my own.


Recently, the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) announced that it received a strategic investment from the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Michelle Bruno, in her Fork In the Road blog, provided some great insights on this partnership, in a posting titled “Why PCMA’s Investment in the Virtual Edge Institute Means More than Just Cash.”

Michelle commended PCMA for endorsing an open source model “to unlock the innovation around virtual and hybrid event technology.” I think PCMA should create a trifecta by making a strategic investment in Event Camp (EC). Commenting on this point via Twitter, Michelle tweeted, “Agree. Event Camp Europe gave me the idea about open source innovation in event context.”

Let’s dive into the potential benefits.


Event Camp has achieved great things to date. They’ve used their own hybrid events (“Event Camps”) to experiment and innovate on meeting and event planning. They’ve reached these heights primarily from the passion of their volunteer organizers and secondarily from supporting sponsors.

And while I believe that innovation can result from budgetary constraints, imagine the possibilities with an investment from an organization such as PCMA. I believe that a stronger financial foothold will create ever more innovative and engaging Event Camps.


Event Camp meetings would have a lot to gain by colocating with PCMA gatherings, in the same way that Virtual Edge Summit benefited from its colocation with PCMA Convening Leaders.

In the future, this trifecta could kick off the calendar year with colocation of three events (in one): PCMA Convening Leaders, Virtual Edge Summit and Event Camp National Conference. Given that several PCMA members are key contributors to Event Camp, colocation makes all the more sense.

In addition, there are additional PCMA events that may stand to benefit from VEI and EC involvement, such as the mid-year PCMA Education Conference.

Feeder Organization

Talk about synergy. Event Camp can spin out innovation via experimentation. The innovation fostered is then fleshed out, refined and documented. In this way, Event Camp becomes a feeder organization into Virtual Edge Institute’s certification programs and PCMA’s educational programs.

Open Source Innovation

Jenise Fryatt (@JeniseFryatt) did a great interview with Nick Balestra (@nickbalestra) about Event Camp Europe titled, “Using Open Source to Remix Your Event.” According to Balestra, “creating events can be somehow similar, so taking an open-source approach while thinking about your events can lead to  smarter ways to create them.”

As Michelle Bruno stated in her piece, PCMA and VEI are supporting an open source model for the benefit of the entire events community. Event Camp, with their model built around “innovation from experimentation” would be a perfect fit for this open source event model to further grow and flourish.


I have a dream to one day visit every major league baseball park in the U.S. and Canada. On the meetings and events side, perhaps I’ll one day be able to attend PCMA Convening Leaders, Virtual Edge Summit and Event Camp in one fell swoop. As for the MLB parks, that’ll have to wait till retirement.

Related Posts

  1. My Thoughts: Virtual Edge Institute’s Digital Event Strategist Certification


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