I meant to post this on Thursday when things were ‘fresh in mind’, but honestly after the week of covering our analyst event last week on the corp blog was over, I was wiped out. So now, perhaps with a little more perspective a few thoughts on what went well and we things we can do better next time:
- The prep I did ahead of time is definitely a do over. I spent some time on Thursday gathering logos from customer presenters, URLs to blogs and websites and screen captures of their products in our products and crammed it all into a One note entry. This saved a lot of time when I was ‘in the heat of the moment’ but wanted to have confidence that I was getting the details right.
- I completely underestimated the amount of attention required to accurately summarize each session and the mental tax paying that much attention takes on you. The closest thing I can compare it to is taking 400 level engineering classes all day for 8 hours straight and having to take accurate notes for someone that is missing class. Next time: have two people there to do the summary blogging and alternate one session on, one off.
- The video stuff worked really well and is a do over. Ryan
did a great job offloading all the hassles of doing video (getting levels set, actually capturing something interesting in frame, post production) and let me focus on asking good questions and just interacting with the people I was interviewing.
- The live blogging was a lot harder than I expected. Some of this was due to tools: I had decided early that I had to do live blogging in the native expression engine back end, so all formatting had to be done manually. Most of it was due to the length and pace of the sessions I was trying to live blog. It really made me realize how much we put out in a small period of time when I was faced with trying to capture and summarize it all in relatively real time. Next time, I will split up duties a bit more (someone else to take and upload pictures) and between now and the next time I live blog something I will try to get Windows Live Writer to work a bit more reliably with the EE back end and without creating multiple entries every time I hit publish.
- The overall work flow is a do over. A short tweet at the beginning of a session, blogging while the session goes on (live or summary) with tweets for really interesting statements and publish within 5 minutes of the end of the session (for summary posts). That seemed to work well and was manageable.
Overall it was a great learning experience that will definitely help determine what and how I do things going forward. The best news of all is that it seemed to actually get some attention and without any announcement or other real promotion. The blog got over 1,000 sessions in the 3 days of the event (staring from less than 100 for the entire week before) and we even got a few comments / questions. A good start if I do say so myself. Now its time to catch a breath this week and get ready to up the gain even more at next week’s user conference in Orlando. We will be trying out some live streaming, adding a bunch more authors to the blog and continuing to tweak how we use recorded video and twitter.