“We had a specific case for using video,” said Mary Jo Larson, Publisher/Vice President of Franchise Times, “we had a specific reason. We didn’t just use video because we think video is cool. It’s easy to think you should do it just because everyone else is doing it.”
The specific reason, according to Larson, if the company’s brand message. “We want to be the hub for franchising information,” she said. Larson and her team created a video plan around the company’s spring conference – The Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference – in Las Vegas. With a schedule of 60 individual speakers in overlapping presentations during the three-day event, the conference included too much informative content for attendees to witness first hand. Videos of each presentation would add value for attendees, and for Franchise Times staff. “I was at the conference and couldn’t see all the presentations live,” said Larson.
Franchise Times has held this particular conference (it hosts others as well) for more than 20 years. But in recent years, according to Larson, the conference “wasn’t meeting the true needs of attendees.” The video formula, refined and improved for the most recent conference, was an important part of the solution. “This video content let us enhance the conference experience and better unite attendees – the franchisors, franchisees, lenders, investors, and more,” she said. “Franchise Times is the industry publication for successful business owners in franchising. We want to be seen as the deal makers’ magazine in franchising. The conference is a big part of that, and our video content helps even more.”
The content delivery includes video recordings of every presentation in its entirety, including the speaker or speakers, plus the on-screen presentation they gave, delivered in a split-screen viewing format on the Franchise Times website. Some videos included special guests or extended interviews with speakers.
The end result? Conference attendees could watch presentations they weren’t able to attend, or to re-watch ones they did. Magazine readers could experience the event through video presentations, hearing a speaker’s tone of voice and seeing facial expressions and personality. And presenters were able to share these videos through their own media tools, helping extend the benefit of presenting at the conference. “We think video enhances the benefits for all involved with this conference,” said Larson.
Franchise Times hosts a larger conference annually in the fall, and they use video sparingly there. “We want people to attend and interact at that conference,” she said, “and sharing video after the conference is of less value.”
“We have received a lot of interest from other franchisors who want to be involved next year,” Larson said. “And we’ve heard from readers who appreciated the information shared through these videos.”
For the 2019 conference, Larson hopes they’ll have 90 speakers and presentations, and they plan to record all on video. “It was a ton of work this year,” she said, “and we’ll need to outsource some of the post-production work so they can get all 90 videos posted as quickly as possible.”