Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seven Quick Ideas on Event Curation

Most people associate “curation” with the art of museum management. Some might mistake it for a method of meat preservation. But curation is now is the term de jour for the process of selecting organizing and presenting content in media and, more broadly, merchandise and even food. Lately it has been used to ennoble the process of making any set of choices that create an experience.

The term “curation” originally appealed to media mavens as a way to impart museum dignity to the process of aggregating online content. In the fashion trades, where your humble blogger suspects the modern usage originated, “curate” is used interchangeably with “edit” as a fancy way to say “select carefully” (see a humorous article about this by Alex Williams last year the NYT).

“Event curation” is worth thinking about even though it might sound a bit pretentious for show biz. After all, creating good events is a lot tougher than lining up a few links or arranging the soft goods “just so.” Whether your event content is entertainment, participation, or information, or some combination of the three, here are seven quick thoughts about event curation:

1. Content ain’t king. It’s a noble and necessary part of a winning event. However, the score of the game is rarely kept in content measures. Know how the score is kept and what your content is expected to accomplish.

2. Start early. Good content takes time to develop and the details cascade into countless other aspects of event execution, especially marketing. You are working to a fixed date. Rushing greatly increases risk.

3. Don’t proceed linearly. Not every avenue of content exploration will pan out. For instance, in an informational event, invite more than one speaker per slot simultaneously so you have options as the program develops.

4. Stay flexible. Take full advantage of the live, real-time nature of events. Build quick reaction into your curation process. Make room for hot developments around your content as well as for the usual problems.

5. Know and believe in your own content. Don’t be afraid to invest in learning. “Content farms” and “conference mills” operate on the theory that content is a low value commodity that is not worth deep consideration or appreciation – it shows in their products.

6. Be a media utilitarian. Incorporate whatever it takes to move minds (and hearts) effectively and make sure every media you use - print, live action, visual display, online, mobile, etc. - works together and really contributes. Don’t waste effort on conventional or wiz-bang stuff that isn’t clearly useful.

7. Focus on the experience. A great concert is tough to enjoy if the seats are uncomfortable or the room is too hot. You may not have control over all elements of an event experience but use your influence to integrate the content into the full experience.

Purposefully creating a full experience is the essence of event curation. Feel free to comment with your ideas and questions.

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August 27, 2014 at 7:16 AM  

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