We are pleased to announce we are sponsoring Talk About Digital, the online event founded by Mark Preston and Chris Kuzma. They had their first Talk About Digital (TAD) event on 11th of June 2020 but they started working on TAD branding and website in April this year. We appreciate the work it takes to set up an event as we know from Tea Time SEO. At Authoritas we interview one of the founders, Mark Preston about the TAD event and what is involved.
How long does it take to set up one event?
I must spend on average around 30 hours per month on each event. Considering this is something I do on top of my full-time job and the fact I do not earn one penny from; this is a massive commitment to give our TAD community value.
TAD is a two-hour event. What do you do for 30 hours per month?
Running a live event is not the case of jumping online five minutes before the event starts and that’s it. Over each month I…
- Filter all the speaker requests.
- Communicate with speakers to gather all their information for their dedicated speaker pages.
- Schedule all social media activity.
- Manually interact with the TAD audience via social.
- Update the TAD website with new guest articles.
- Film the live event.
- Edit each speaker talk video.
- Edit every single Q&A into individual videos.
- Upload all videos to YouTube.
- Transcribe every Q&A video and upload them into our Q&A section.
- Jump on Zoom to do our live unscripted TAD interviews, edit them and upload the videos.
And this is just the basics each month. On top of this, we are working on new ideas to increase the value our TAD community receive.
What made you set up Talk About Digital?
WOW! What a great question. I’ve been working in the digital marketing industry since 2001. I’ve trained hundreds of professional marketers and got paid to speak about SEO on a few stages around the world.
There are many great digital marketing events, but I found that you get to a point where you are watching the same well-known speakers talking about the same stuff over and over.
I wanted to create an event where the real truth came out. All you hear at events is the fluffy stuff, but the industry is not like that. My mission for Talk About Digital is to share the Truth About Digital.
What makes Talk About Digital different?
There are usually two type of event organisers:
- The ones who run the event as a business and they NEED to sell a certain amount of tickets to break even and make a profit. If the ticket sales are not going according to plan, you can smell a whiff of desperation.
- The event organisers who have setup the event in the hope that a percentage of attendees will purchase the products or services they provide. They use the event as a lead generation and sales tool.
Talk About Digital is neither. I don’t have any time to take on any paid work if it was thrown at me. In fact, I receive leads on a daily basis that I have to turn down because I am 100% devoted to my full-time job and running TAD in my spare time. This means there is NEVER going to be any conflict of interest between myself and the attendees. I run Talk About Digital for the fact that I just want to make a difference! Call it my way of giving back to the industry for the great life it has given me over the past 20 years.
How do you think we can make sure companies encourage their employees to attend virtual events?
There is a counter question here… By getting their employees to attend an event, what’s in it for the business? The problem here is that event organisers target marketers directly and not the actual business directors. If the CEO’s and Directors fully understood the value to their business, they would indeed allow their employees to attend these conferences.
Do you think virtual events are better than offline ones and why?
I truly believe from an attendee’s point of view; virtual events will never be better than in-person events. Most people love attending in-person events because of the networking opportunities and to get the chance to meet the speakers in person. That’s not to say that virtual events provide less value. When the world is once again safe to travel, Talk About Digital will host both virtual and in-person events. Best of both worlds.
Do you think there could ever be too many virtual events (I have seen some people criticise online events)?
As an industry, we are already feeling online ‘event overload’. Personally, I receive many offers to attend virtual events each week. Event organisers need to ask themselves – What makes my event special and different?
How do you keep the number of viewers high and the viewers engaged with Talk About Digital? (Can you share how many live views you have per session)
For me it is not about the numbers. On an average live Talk About Digital event, we get around 120 people watching. With TAD it is a totally unscripted and go-with-the-flow event. I do not even look at the speaker slides first. I don’t even have a clue what questions I am going to ask each speaker. It is totally off-the-cuff. Being like this often brings out some great golden nuggets.
Touching upon our 120 attendees. This has been achieved with zero paid spend. The TAD community help us to promote our events. Talk About Digital is not a business, nor is it profit making and we do not receive one penny, so we have no option but to grow 100% organically – That is unless a sponsor comes on board with a deep pocket!
Many people sign up for events but drop out at the last minute. How can you ensure this does not happen?
Most events get people to sign up to watch each individual event. Talk About Digital is a community. Once you sign-up as a TAD member, you can login and watch every future event. Unlike most other events, we do not have to start from scratch each month to try and get people to sign-up. Our TAD members are loyal and keep coming back each month as they find value watching the live events.
Will online events stop once we are allowed to attend offline conferences again?
No. The reason being is that many established in-person events has realised that their audience sizes have increased going online because many people just cannot afford to attend their event in-person. I really do believe that there will be a nice mixture moving forward.
TAD’s next event is on November 12th at 7pm BST with Rebekah Dunne and Kristina Azarenko who will talk about “The one about content marketing” and “How to do an eCommerce migration the right way” respectively. Sign up to reserve your place here.