How to integrate technology into your events

By Angela Gibian, Marketing & Event Manager

The tech trend is expanding all around us. Every day there is a new platform, app or tool launched, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. The event world is no different. Most consumers are now acclimated to quick, clean, easy and responsive technology in their every day life and the expectation is set for that to carry over into their experience at events.

Streamlining events by integrating new and different types of technology is a great way to keep attendees informed, excited and engaged. Below are just a few of the many different types of technology that are on the rise in the event scene and some of their various applications.

Event registration platforms are a great way to incorporate technology into your event even before you get onsite. There are several popular platforms that allow you to build custom websites where you can email, register, track and profile event attendees. Many of these platforms also allow for simplified check-in processes, attendee mobile apps and important post-event reporting/analytics.

Event mobile apps are considered very mainstream in today’s event world. Many registration and event management platforms transfer over to mobile. In addition there are great independent applications to engage, inform and communicate with your event attendees. Text reminders, maps, itineraries, sponsor advertising/profiling, social media posts and more can be at the tip of any event-goers fingers.

Tablets/iPads are a great way to showcase material and capture user information during events. These portable devices allow you to maiPadintain and organize real-time data while on-site. They also gives your event a sleek and modern look, rather than having paper and pens for staff and guests to use. Going digital can also save money on print costs and allow for unlimited registration or subscriptions. In addition, iPads or Tablets can be great to feature your product or product website. Staff and guests can use onsite devices to peruse your website, view your products or read targeted content.

Social media is a huge way to impact your audience before during and after an event. Whether you are attending a large trade show or hosting a roundtable, sharing these opportunities and experiences with your audience using social media platforms is increasingly important. Creating an event hashtag, posting photos, live streaming or creating social giveaways or contests can keep your company in the social stream of consciousness.

Video and live streaming is now more popular than ever. With the advent of Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram Live, YouTube Live and other streaming tools, event activities can be promoted to audiences outside of the on-site attendees to a broader group, creating a buzz and allowing people could not be there an opportunity to get in on the action. Other ways to leverage video at events include using drones or Go-Pros to show unique, exciting perspectives on experiences, giving the viewer a first person view of what’s happening. Outside of live applications, filming attendee testimonials or interviews are another great way to engage your guests and also provide use post-event as a way to continue the connection with your audience, educate others and encourage attendance next year.

However you decide to integrate technology, it is a sure way to enrich your event. With the variety of options available it will not only benefit your guests, but also you and your business.

Angela holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Promotional Communications from Cleveland State University. Angela has more than 10 years of experience planning and managing events, ranging from product launches to non-profit galas. Prior to joining North Coast Media, she was in charge of fundraising events for the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio, where she remains a volunteer. Her diverse background, along with her knowledge of marketing and public relations, helps her to execute impactful and results-driven events on behalf of NCM’s publications and clients.

Outside the box: Benefiting from consumer-generated content

By Allison Barwacz, Digital Media Content Producer


Not all of your content has to be created by you.

Lego customers produce 20 times the amount of social media content posted by the company’s social media team itself, said Lars Silberbauer, senior global director of social media and video for Lego, during a keynote speech at Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lego’s social media strategy focuses on a number of factors, but one in particular stands out as a fundamental key for audience content creation and engagement: social needs.

Humans are, by nature, social creatures, said Silberbauer, and companies need to cater to those needs.

Sometimes this requires thinking outside the box—a task the Lego social media team frequently takes on.

In one particular instance, during a meeting, Silberbauer instructed his coworkers to take all of the money out of their pockets and put it in the center of the table: They’d use the $100 they accrued for their next social media campaign.

George, born from a $100 Lego campaign, visited San Francisco. Photo by Trevor Hirst
George, born from a $100 Lego campaign, visited San Francisco. Photo by Trevor Hirst

It wasn’t an easy task, but the 2011 meeting resulted in the conception of George, a simple Lego human-like figurine. The goal of the campaign was to encourage consumer engagement, so the team posted an image of George on Facebook, encouraging viewers to build their own “George” and post pictures of him in unique destinations in the comment box. The contestant with the most “likes” won a Lego prize. The simple campaign resulted in its own Facebook page, its own hashtag (#legogeorgetravels) and hundreds of consumer-generated posts. Content is still posted on the Lego George Travels Facebook page today.

Another Lego campaign featured the “Kronkiwongi,” a made-up word designed to stimulate creativity in children and adults. In 2015, Lego asked a number of children what a “Kronkiwongi” is and videotaped them constructing it out of Legos. The campaign grew to a point where the company began selling “Build your own ‘Kronkiwongi'” Lego sets.

Leveraging success

Of course, brand managers and social media coordinators often struggle with allowing consumers to drive content production rather than constantly produce it themselves. The strategy often can take away the control managers have over their social media pages, but it’s something the Lego team has accepted as normal—and as a part of its formula for success.

“We don’t control everything,” Silberbauer said. “We basically don’t control anything. We can leverage what is happening.”

So how does the company leverage its success? It all circles back to one factor: catering to social needs. And using multimedia is an integral part of that task.

It’s clear that these particular Lego campaign strategies centered around multimedia content. Whether through photos or videos, the company made sure to tailor content to its customers’ desires, interests and needs.

For instance, the makers of the “Kronkiwongi” video keyed in on the interests of its target audience—parents paying for their children’s Legos—and delivered content featuring kids being creative, fun and, perhaps most importantly, cute.


“The first five seconds of a video are when people decide to keep watching it or not,” said John von Brachel, SVP and content marketing executive for Bank of America, during a Content Marketing World keynote speech. Plus, the human mind processes visuals 60,000 faster than it processes text, which didn’t hurt the Lego campaigns, either.

Lego leveraged the first five seconds of its video with a simple question: “What is a ‘Kronkiwongi?'” From there, it focused solely on the kids, their comical answers and their creations. Today, that video has nearly 3 million views on Facebook.

Oftentimes the simpler your content is, the better. In some cases, this particular content comes from your consumers. And sometimes, these two factors diverge to create some of the best content on your social media pages and websites. And the ultimate sign Logo’s campaigns were successful? We’re still viewing them years later.

Allison, who attended the 2016 Content Marketing World conference, holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism with specializations in Spanish and English. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

NCM’s Joelle Harms named top young leader by ASBPE


CLEVELAND — North Coast Media (NCM) is proud to announce Senior Digital Media Content Producer Joelle Harms has been awarded a Young Leaders Scholarship from the American Society of Business Publications Editors’ (ASBPE) 2016 Azbee Awards of Excellence.

harms_jRThe Azbee Awards of Excellence program recognizes outstanding work in magazines, newsletters and digital media — websites, e-newsletters, digital magazines and blogs.

With the Young Leaders Scholarship, Harms will attend the ASBPE National Conference in July at The Poynter Institute in Tampa, Florida. The scholarship brings together five of the country’s top business editors under 30 to learn from each other and industry veterans.

“Joelle is a tough editor and a patient mentor who boosts the skills of everyone around her,” said NCM Digital Operations Manager Bethany Chambers. “She exhibits the kind of leadership-by-example that any team would be better for having — and we’re proud to be that team.”

Harms is responsible for developing the content voice and message for all aspects of NCM’s GPS World and Pest Management Professional brands.

In addition to writing and editing stories for web and e-news, shooting photos, producing videos and multimedia and managing social media accounts, she also edits content for digital media producers in the department and works closely with the technical team on development projects.

Under Harms’ direction, GPS World has seen a 13 percent increase in Facebook page likes, a 12 percent increase in Twitter followers, and striking growth on YouTube – a 122 percent increase in subscribers and a 147 percent increase in views over the course of a year. Harms authored the white paper “Social Media Best Practices for the B2B Industry” to share her experiences in social.

Harms regularly travels to national and international trade shows to report on new products and innovations, constantly posting engaging content. As a part of the trade show coverage, she records, edits and produces interviews with industry leaders, manufacturers and product innovators. Her videos from trade shows have appeared on other industry websites.

She has a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University with a specialization in creative writing, and has been with NCM since November 2013.

8 ways to email like a professional

By Diane Sofranec, Managing Editor

The number of emails I send and receive throughout the workday never ceases to amaze me. It’s a lot. But for that, I am thankful. I would much rather communicate with colleagues via email than telephone.

Mailbox_email_535x518Why? I work in an office of cubicles and sit near a hallway that acts as a megaphone. When I’m on the phone, my coworker on the other side of the office can clearly hear my conversation — and I can hear his.

But keeping the peace is not the only reason I prefer emails. Emails serve as a record of a conversation. There’s no second-guessing what was communicated because it’s right there, in writing. That’s why it’s important to craft succinct messages that convey professionalism. Here’s how:

1. Get to the point.

Keep your message as brief as you possibly can. Stay on topic. Be clear. You are at work, where there’s no time for colleagues to read a 10-paragraph manifesto. Write a subject line that clearly states the purpose of your message.

2. Eliminate private information.

As you write your message, keep in mind that the recipient may forward it to others. Do not include information you would not want others to know. Even if you request confidentiality, you have no control over what the recipient will do with your email. Once you send your email, your message is no longer private. Use the telephone to discuss matters you prefer to keep private.

3. Think before you type.

Say what you mean. Read your message before you send it. Does it make sense? Does it accurately convey your thoughts? Would you be embarrassed if someone other than the recipient read it?

4. Send anytime.

What I love most about email is that it’s available 24/7, so I can send and receive messages after work hours. That doesn’t mean the recipient will read my message at midnight, but it does mean I can cross off a task from my to-do list or handle a pressing issue sooner rather than later. Haven’t we all had a workaholic boss who sent emails in the wee hours of the morning and on weekends?

5. Respond within 24-48 hours.

You shouldn’t have to check your work emails over the weekend. But you should respond to your messages first thing Monday morning. During the workday, set aside time to check your messages and don’t put off sending a response. It’s more efficient to read a message once, respond, and move on.

6. Remember, you’re on the job.

Your emails are a reflection on you and the company for which you work. Keep your messages professional. Do not write like you text, or use exclamation points and emoticons. Do not use profanity or racist comments. Do not write in all caps (“yelling” in an email is unprofessional anyway). Always say please and thank you.

7. Use a signature line.

Don’t assume the recipient of your message knows who you are (unless you correspond on a regular basis). Create a signature line in your email client and use it every time. Be sure to add your full name, current title, company name and phone number.

8. Address the message last.

Have you ever accidentally hit send before your message was ready? I have, and that’s why I write the message first, proofread it, and then add my attachments if I have any, the subject line and the recipient’s email address. Now recipients always receive the completed message I want them to have.

Diane Sofranec has more than 25 years of B2B media experience. She joined North Coast Media in 2013 as a digital content producer and is now managing editor of the company’s Pest Management Professional magazine.

Photo: ©

6 ways to ensure your webinar will attract an audience

By Diane Sofranec, Managing Editor

DSC_3088Webinars are an excellent lead-generating tool because every person who signs up must disclose their name and contact information. The trick is attracting an audience.

A successful webinar hinges on many factors: compelling topic, engaging speakers, targeted and timely marketing. It IS possible to offer a webinar your audience will want to attend.

As you plan your next webinar, ask yourself these 6 questions:

1. Did I choose an interesting subject?

A hot webinar topic is the best way to attract a large audience. Select a subject your potential audience needs to know more about right now. If you’re stumped, check social media to see what people in your industry are talking about. For example, the next webinar for North Coast Media’s Pest Management Professional will focus on how to talk to customers about the Zika virus.

2. Are my speakers knowledgeable?

An expert speaker will give your audience a good reason to attend your webinar. Choose a speaker your audience trusts and respects. Because your audience is attending to learn more about your topic, be sure your speakers can offer accurate and useful information. They should have no qualms about answering audience questions on the fly, either.

3. Are my speakers good presenters?

When you choose your speakers, ask them whether they have public speaking experience. Those who have typically know better than to recite their notes or talk too fast. Seek out energetic communicators. Hold a practice session so you will know what to expect and can offer advice if necessary.

4. Do my slides convey my message?

Webinar slides should not include every word of the speaker’s speech. Instead, slides should highlight the key points of the presentation. The text should be easy to read and include images that illustrate the key points. Speakers should strive to make the topic easy to understand. They can accomplish this by explaining – not reading — the text on their slides.

5. Is my marketing message accurate?

Your webinar should deliver what you promised your audience would learn. Make sure your marketing materials convey the information your speakers plan to share. Otherwise, your audience will drop off the webinar in droves, and think twice about attending any future events you offer. Use bulleted points and straightforward language (In this webinar, you will learn how to…) to communicate an accurate message.

6. Did I get the word out early enough?

When you’re ready to market your webinar, consider using every marketing channel at your disposal. Print, email, social media, website, and direct mail are all worthwhile options. Don’t delay; you want your audience to sign up and put your webinar on their schedule at least one month in advance.

By planning ahead, you can provide your audience with a webinar they will want to attend and pass along to their colleagues.

Diane Sofranec has more than 25 years experience in B2B media. She joined North Coast Media in 2013 as a digital content producer. Now managing editor of the company’s Pest Management Professional magazine, Sofranec frequently writes about social media and mobile trends and techniques.

Photo credit: Project On Government Oversight via / CC BY-NC-SA

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” – Print

By Scott Gebler, Marketing Manager


As a publishing company, we’ve heard it for a number of years, and still do even today: traditional print is dying or dead.

Untitled-2With the rise of the Internet and digital media, people treated it as if there were two sides to a scale: If more people are getting their news and information online, then fewer must be using print. So the myth grew.

But we knew otherwise. We see it in the year-over-year results of our magazines, and we constantly come across great statistics, research and science that prove print is alive and well.

Further research supporting that fact was released recently by MPA—The Association of Magazine Media. The white paper, What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Why Print Magazine Advertising Works?, was written by Scott McDonald, Ph.D., a Harvard-trained media consultant and professor at Columbia Business School.

The notion that younger generations, in particular, are moving away from print is countered right off the bat, with statistics showing greater demand for many print categories now than in past decades. For example, a greater percentage of Americans 18-24 read print magazines than they did 10 or 20 years ago – and 95 percent of Americans under 25 read print magazines, which is the highest of any age group in the study.

The white paper is an in-depth read that goes on to outline findings from dozens of studies and reports. Cumulatively, they all point to screen reading being a faster “scan,” more prone to distraction and associated with reduced cognition and memory, while print is a deeper, more focused and more easily comprehended read.

Furthermore, McDonald’s research shows print ads activate neural activity that is more closely associated with desirability and reward.

It was actually Mark Twain who said “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” But to anyone who says print is dead, I’ll leave you with another of his quotes: “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as you please.”

As the company’s marketing manager, Gebler is responsible for advancing all of North Coast Media’s brands and their related products to both advertisers and end audiences. He has more than 10 years of experience in Cleveland-area corporate marketing departments and advertising agencies and is a 2004 graduate of Ohio University.

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