Conference Planning Guide

How to Plan a Successful Conference: A Step-by-Step Guide

Planning a conference is one of the most rewarding things you can do. The sense of satisfaction that comes with watching throngs of attendees interact with what you worked so hard and long to create keeps us coming back for more, despite the sometimes-crazy hours, stress and hard work. But, as we all know, planning a conference is also a huge project not to be taken lightly. To help you in your journey, we’ve created a quick and dirty high-level guide on how to plan a successful conference. This guide provides a solid foundation for those who are new to conference planning, and veteran planners should find a few new tips and ideas, too.

Conference call for content

Did you know that 66% of conference attendees make their decision to attend a conference only after learning about the session content and speakers for the event? The call for content, also known as “call for speakers” or “call for submissions” is part of your very-important content workstream. Your event content is the stuff you gather while building your conference program, like session abstracts, speaker profiles and presentation materials.

You’ll want to launch your call for content (or speakers) early—ideally 6 to 9 months before your event so you have ample time to market your event with your content.

Here are the steps for a successful call for content process:

Choose Your Content Team

Pick people who represent key products, topics and stakeholders to help you brainstorm and plan the themes or tracks. This team can also help you structure your call-for-content submission form. As part of this research, consider holding a call-for-topics, which is basically asking your attendees which topics are most relevant to their work and lives.

Build your call-for-content form

This data helps you select your speakers, but it also helps attendees plot their journeys once they’re at your event. The fields you select on your form should also allow your content team to categorizer their sessions. Best practice for forms is to keep them as simple as possible, opting when you can for single-select or multiple-select drop-down menus. Here are a few of the content fields you might consider:

  • Track category
  • Presentation type (keynote, breakout, demonstration, panel, paper, poster, professional development, roundtable, etc.
  • Audience (Again, this is where your attendee personas come in handy so you can create these drop-down selections)

In addition to your form, your call-for-content page should also include basic information for potential conference speakers, like:

  • Conference goals and audiences
  • Compensation for speakers
  • Criteria for evaluating proposals
  • Deadline for submissions
  • Date for acceptance/rejection announcements

Here’s a good rule of thumb: Aim to have 75 to 80 percent of your content ready to go 3 to 4 months before your event.

Check out 8 smart strategies for perfecting your call-for-content process for a closer look at how to promote your call for content, manage your graders, and analyze your results from your call-for-submissions process.

You know what else can help you crush your content process? Hubb’s content management system.

Perfecting Your Call for Content Guide

Perfecting your Call for Content Process

Hubb’s Perfecting your Call for Content Process Guide can help you:

  • Define your conference goals
  • Get your content team on board
  • Target the right speakers
  • Promote your call for maximum success