Case Study: 3 Chamber Posters morph into Lots of Online Content

Content at Event Can Also Be Online Content, TooI’m not sure what you saw as you browsed among the various vendors of the Lamorinda Home Expo ’12 yesterday, but what I saw was a sea of content.

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Content that came in many forms, from brochures to posters to the answers vendors were giving to questions they were being asked. Yes – Content. All of it. Things you can share not only at a table at a hands-on event but also online.

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Consider the three posters that I saw taped to the window behind the Lafayette Chamber’s table. Recently updated for 2012 by the Lafayette Minute Man Press, each advertises the three signature events the Lafayette Chamber organizes every year:

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Taste of Lafayette Restaurant Walk (May)
Lafayette Art and Wine Festival (September)
Lafayette Reservoir Run (October)

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The Lafayette Chamber is a client of mine. In addition to presenting at the Social Media Workshops the Chamber Sponsors at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, I help manage the Chamber’s online communities and write the Try Lafayette First Blog.

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To me, the Chamber Event Posters are gold.

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The hard work was already done — design. Now the question was — who else needed to see these, now and going forward — and how was I going to convert the photos to a format that would work to make that happen.

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Lafayette Chamber of Commerce 2012 Posters

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Welcome to the Chamber Poster Case Study, including some Content Creation Tips you can take away from it. As you read, if you have other ideas… please prepare to comment at the end of the post. Content Creation is always a work in progress. Let’s learn more together!

Time Sensitive: Re-purposing Content within the Context of an Event

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Tip #1: Carry a Camera — and the one on your phone is likely good enough, although I use Canon S100 that lives in my purse 24-7.

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Capturing Content used in a particular context is often more interesting than on its own, and gives you another angle to talk about it on social media and blogs. Hence, the reason I pulled out my camera when I saw the posters.

Good news: Photos in Context aren’t held to the same bar as Photo-Shoot ones. True story: The Washington Post paid for a picture I took with a regular digital camera to publish with a travel story I wrote. Why? Because I was there – and the story needed that context.

Less than 24 hours after the event ended, my pictures of the posters (along with the blue tape someone used to tape them to the Veterans Memorial Building window!) was already in at least 4 places – this blog, the slideshow video of the event on the Lafayette Chamber’s Youtube Channel, the Lafayette Chamber Facebook Page photo album for the event, and the Try Lafayette First Blog (which includes the Youtube video).

Converting Images to Ready-to-Use Online Media Files

Tip #2: Find the original files — Word, PDF, JPG, whatever — and Convert to Screen-Quality to Use in More Quality-Photo Sensitive Spots. Then brainstorm — where and how can you use these?

I try to hold photos that live permanently on a website or sidebar to higher bar than the usual “I was there” level. You can’t print posters without a print-quality file. The ones for the posters were just a quick email away – to Jay Lifson, Executive Director of the Chamber.

I adjusted those larger files to a size (72 dpi) for screen quality needs using Adobe Photoshop. (Most photo programs can do this.)

In the case of the Lafayette Chamber posters, I wanted them big enough to read but small enough to also work on a website sidebar so I chose 250×380 pixels (72 dpi). I then uploaded the files to the Try Lafayette First media file, adding keyword descriptions and alt-text to support Search Engine Optimization.

Now I had them where I could easily use them – and not lose them somewhere on my hard drive. (It’s a good idea to do the uploading as you find the photos whether you’re ready to use them right away or not…)

Brainstorming the Where, When & Why for Re-Purposing Content for Online Needs

Tip #3: Make a plan. Start by listing where you are already online — what kinds of media would readers like to see there? How might you cast that content to make it interesting to the people who find you on each of those platforms? A few minutes now can make your online creation life aggressively easier later.

Here’s my current plan for Chamber Poster Pictures, now and going forward:

(1) Try Lafayette First Blog: I already used all three to create a slideshow on the sidebar of the Try Lafayette First blog that will serve to not only make the sidebar more visually interesting but also draw attention to the events.

(2) Future Blog Posts: Now that they’re uploaded to the Try Lafayette First blog’s media file, each of the photos is available to be used in future blog posts about the various events without any additional photo work required — a nice investment in future time savings.

(3) Facebook Page Sidebars, Events & Welcome Pages: While I will use the photos on Posts on the Chamber Event-Specific Facebook Pages and the main Chamber Facebook Page, they will also be handy as we create Facebook Events that will need a logo, too. In addition, the photos will be useful as we update the Facebook Page Sidebar Photos and Welcome Page Content. In particular, 3rd party Applications to create easy Facebook Page “Welcome” Landing Pages often want photos that are stored elsewhere. Now the ones we’ll need are already online, easily accessible and ready as we get closer to the particular events.

(4) Added Bonus: Combining Photos Inspired a New Blog Post: I also created a fourth picture of all three of the posters together to use not only on this blog post (above), but also when I write a planned post on the Try Lafayette First blog regarding Minute Man Press’ work in their creation.

Why “Collage” the Photos?

This photo collage might seem like an unnecessary step, but it’s easy to do once you’re already handling the individual photos and is actually easier to work with on a post when all pictures are needed.

Google doesn’t see photos; it only reads the Alt Text. In addition, too many photos in a single post can sometimes make it difficult for uploading as well. So there are benefits of using less photos if you can otherwise solve all necessary visual needs.


Next steps: What about you and your “content”

Using the photos to illustrate this case study, I hope that you’ve been inspired to consider the content you have and how you might begin to re-purpose it in easy, cost-effective ways. If you content is more of a word-heavy document, all the better. Just remember that Google likes words and doesn’t “read” photos per se. When you can, add those keyword rich words to your content online to help Google help others find you.

Tip #4: Take Stock of Your Available Content. Then Keep Your Eyes Open for More

Examples of Home Expo '12 Vendor BrochuresContent comes in obvious and not-so obvious forms. If it’s easier, start with the obvious ones — the things you created to distribute to clients.

Just know — that’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

The thing to keep in mind is that something you take for granted is new content to someone who doesn’t know what you do or how you can help them.

If you don’t have time to assess what you already have, just start today to keep a running list as they come to mind. You’ll be amazed at how much do, say and use everyday in your normal work day that is actually great content.







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