With all of the details we have to manage when planning a conference, abstract management can seem more like a distraction than a crucial planning process. But think about the consequences of choosing the wrong speakers and topics for your event. It could be disastrous. So, no matter how busy you are, spend considerable time building a productive abstract management strategy. The time to do this is before you start calling for submissions. With some forethought and the right tools, you can make the practice less cumbersome.
Here are ten tips to optimize the abstract management process:
Find easy-to-use and comprehensive abstract management software
Eventzilla offers a handy abstract management tool right on your event dashboard. This includes automated calls for collection, a place to store submissions, and a tool to manage reviewers and the reviewing timeline. An abstract management solution is critical to managing the process successfully.
Create a speaker persona
Use this traditional marketing method of creating a profile for your perfect speaker and you will be better able to promote your call for abstracts. This profile can help you identify the best people and places to target as well as the most effective marketing tactics to use. We recently published a blog about writing an event attendee profile, which will help you get started. The concepts are the same. It is the target that is different.
Be strategic in timing your abstract submission process
Build-in plenty of time to promote your ask and then collect, review, and confirm submissions before you need to start marketing your conference speaker lineup. This information is critical to productive marketing. It is important that you start the process early enough to get it all done before your event marketing starts in earnest.
Write a persuasive conference description
Craft an event description that makes your call for submissions an offer they can’t refuse. Include an outline of the topics that will be covered, the intended audience who will attend and any benefits speakers will enjoy.
Write clear instructions for submissions
Include guidelines on the topics and types of papers or presentations you will accept. Do not use industry jargon or acronyms that will not be familiar to the general public. Be as specific as possible with your request in terms of presentation length, intended audience, available technology and any other details that may be important to a potential speaker.
Be transparent in the process timeline
Give submitters an idea of what the next steps are and how long the review process will take once they submit their abstract. Make sure to contact all submitters, even those you are not moving forward in the review process.
Collect comprehensive contact information
In addition to a complete bio and headshot, don’t forget to ask for an address, phone number, email, social media and website information from each potential presenter.
Build a diverse panel of reviewers
This information is critical in promoting your call for submissions. Include industry or business leaders, analysts, influencers, educators and journalists, as well as your planning team, company leadership, board members, and other stakeholders. Make sure each reviewer is comfortable using your abstract management tool and can commit to meet your deadlines.
Create a consistent review process
Draft a scoring rubric for each reviewer to use as they review abstracts. Measure each submission in terms of topic relevance, originality, and clarity. Analyze and rate the corresponding research and conclusions of each abstract. By using the same metrics, you will be able to quickly reveal the most impactful submissions. After each submission is reviewed, create a comparison chart using your scoring rubric to identify favorites and outliers.
Plan a marketing strategy for the submission process
The promotion will help your call for submissions be more successful. Review your speaker persona to direct your tactics. Drive interested submitters to your website for more information or to submit an abstract. Marketing tactics could include email, social media posts or ads, search engine marketing advertising, blog posts, media alerts, or direct mail.
The call for abstracts does not have to be stressful when you build a comprehensive strategy that deploys an event abstract software and a realistic timeline. These ten tips will help you think through the process from start to finish.