December 18, 2013

Wistia’s First Video Marketing Conference

Kristen Craft

Business Development

In case you haven’t heard the news, we are planning our first-ever Wistia conference, and we are super excited! We want to give people more comprehensive guidance on the entire video marketing "lifecycle," but also, we’re excited about the chance to bring people together, creating a stronger in-person community. Not only will this give us a chance to hang out with and get to know people who also care about video, but it also gives everyone else a chance to meet up and learn from one another.

In some ways, this has been a long time coming. People ask us for guidance a lot, and there’s a real dearth of information out there for marketers who want to use video. There isn’t really a major event out there for the community of people who care about video marketing. We’ve tested the waters with various past events, like parties, workshops, and talks, so it finally feels like it’s within our wheelhouse to do something like this. These were the "pros" in our decision-making process.

But we bumped into one question we weren’t sure how to answer along the way: could we put on a conference and still have it feel as warm, convivial, and action-oriented as possible? Most of us have been to a "typical" conference, where the norm is talking heads in front of PowerPoint screens. These presentations are interspersed with impersonal "networking" sessions that leave you with a million business cards but very few conversations and connections that feel genuine. Though these events offer snippets of helpful information, they can also feel cold, corporate, and impersonal.

We struggled with this question (and even debated whether we should move forward with a big conference, for fear of falling short), but ultimately decided to trust our guts. We’re working hard to create an event where we teach and share useful information, while still remaining true to ourselves and our own wacky way of doing things.

So, what does this actually mean? For one thing, we’re obsessed with empowering people to take action, so the event will be very hands-on. We’ll be doing a day of workshops where people can actually try their hands at scripting or lighting set-ups, for example.

Second, we’re always striving to align our content with what people need, so we want the conference to be as user-driven as possible. Some of the content will be curated in advance, but some of it will be determined by the attendees themselves. We’re taking a tip from the BarCamp book and letting people vote on the topics they find most interesting.

Finally, we want this to feel personal. We’re not just inviting people to our awesome city, but also into our home — our new office in Central Square in Cambridge. The event will go beyond a hotel ballroom; we’re excited about our new space and want to share that excitement with others. We’re throwing parties and hosting hands-on workshops here at our new spot.

We know this is going to take a lot of work, but we couldn’t be more excited. I mean, what’s going to happen when we put a bunch of video marketing enthusiasts together in one place? We don’t know, but we bet it’s going to be awesome! Plus, we have a great line-up of confirmed speakers: Rand Fishkin, Phil Nottingham, and Mathew Sweezey. And selfishly, we become a stronger, more cohesive team when we do new things together. It challenges us to reflect on how we can best work together, and it gives us the chance to push ourselves.

So, save the dates: May 20-22! Boston and Cambridge are beautiful in May, and it’s going to be an awesome time. Sign up for more information when tickets go on sale in 2014. You’ll be the first to hear about early bird pricing, as well as the agenda and list of speakers. Can’t wait to see you here!

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