What should you do after a WordCamp?

WordCamp Hamilton 2016 has come and gone. Once again we were hosted at McMaster Innovation Park, a wonderful venue that’s perfectly situated just off the QEW. It’s a quick bus ride from Toronto — just take the 16 Hamilton Express from Union Station — and the GO stop is just up the road from MIP. (Tip: It’s the second stop on the route.)

In the past, my WordCamp experience would’ve ended at the after party. I would’ve had a quiet trip home and left it at that.

Not this time.

During the ride back to Toronto I pulled out my notebook and scrawled out follow-up tasks for the following week.

Then I thought that my list would make a good blog post. So here we are. Hopefully, these will inspire you to take action after¬†your next WordCamp. ūüôā

Things To Do After a WordCamp

What should you do after a WordCamp?

  • Contact speakers that you liked.
  • Contact attendees that you met.
  • Thank the organizers and volunteers.
  • Thank the sponsors.
  • Complete the feedback survey.
  • Write a blog post about your experience.

If you presented at a WordCamp, additionally:

  • Post your slides and send the URL to the organizers.
  • Find and thank people who tweeted about your talk.

Elaboration below! Read on.

Contact speakers that you liked.

You may not be able to get a hold of a presenter immediately after their talk. They may be busy — too many other people asking questions — or they may have to rush off to sit in on another session. Finding them at the after party can also be hit-or-miss.

Don’t let this discourage you. Find the list of speakers on the WordCamp site and look up their contact details, e.g. Twitter handle. Give them a shout and get the conversation started.

Contact attendees that you met.

You may have met some cool people in the audience during a session, at the afterparty, or in the hallway.¬†Did you grab their business cards? If you’re like me, you probably did, because business cards are still easier to work with than jotting down an email address.

But let’s be honest here:¬†You know, and I know, and everyone who’s ever been to a conference knows that those cards will end up in the recycling bin.

So make a point of looking into those contacts before you toss away their cards. Check out their site and social media profiles. Send them a friendly “nice to meet you” message. Who knows? If nothing else your paths may still cross again.

Thank the organizers and volunteers.

WordCamp organizers and volunteers don’t make any direct money from a WordCamp — ticket and sponsor revenue goes straight to covering overhead like venue and food. Compensation comes in the form of experience, and how we feel about organizing the event.

Speaking as a former WordCamp organizer (Toronto, 2011-2015), I know how much it means to hear positive feedback and stories from attendees. So go ahead and pass along the good vibes. Let the organizing team and volunteers know how valuable your WordCamp experience was.

Thank the sponsors.

In addition to the organizers and volunteers, give some love to the sponsors, especially local sponsors or sponsors who attended the event in person. Their financial support covers a huge chunk of overhead and is why tickets go for $50 or less at most WordCamps.

Complete the feedback survey.

The feedback survey is stupidly useful for organizers. Seriously. During my stint with WordCamp Toronto we relied on the feedback survey to guide every subsequent WordCamp. The responses provide¬†qualitative data (stats) and quantitative insights (comments) that we can’t gather during the event itself.

So do the organizers a favour and complete the survey. It’ll make for better WordCamps in the future.

Write a blog post about your experience.

It’s what I’m doing right now. ūüėČ Writing a post about your WordCamp experience helps spread the word about the WordCamp, and it gives new/potential attendees context about the WordCamp experience. It’s also fun to look back on your thoughts from years gone by.

If you want to step it up, include photographs you took during the event, then share those photographs with the organizers. (Creative Commons FTW!)

Speakers: Post your slides and send the URL to the organizers.

Most — or at least¬†many — WordCamps will link back to the slides and posts provided by speakers. If you’re smart, you’ll prepare these in advance and reference them throughout your presentation. (I did that with my Content Creation Regimen talk.)

Keep this in mind: Interest in your session is strongest immediately following the WordCamp. Don’t fall victim to the law of diminishing intent. Waiting to post your material = you’re less likely to post it = others are less likely to view it.

Speakers: Find and thank people who tweeted your talk.

Having attendees share your content is one of the most valuable things you can get out of presenting at a WordCamp (aside from the good vibes of giving back to the community, of course). Find the people who shared takeaways from your session and give them a big e-hug in the form of a tweet or Facebook shout-out.

What else could you do after a WordCamp?

P.S. Props to Brian Hogg and the entire WordCamp Hamilton organizing team for putting together another great event. You guys killed it. Looking forward to next year!

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