Each year, approximately 20 percent of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurse’s membership base attends the organization’s annual face-to-face meeting. Kay Campbell, EdD, RN, COHN-S, FAAOHN, Executive Director of AAOHN, says this figure is very strong, especially considering the time and budget restrictions many nurses face. However, Campbell and the AAOHN team wanted to make sure they were doing everything possible to engage the remaining 80 percent of members.
“Some of our members are on a rotation where they can come one year, and one of their colleagues can participate the following year,” Campbell says. “Other members may face challenges getting their companies to offer financial support, or they might not be able to travel due to a family situation. In 2016, we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to experience the education.”
The answer? A virtual live stream of the conference’s eight plenary sessions and the association’s annual business meeting.
“Before the meeting, we had no idea how the technology would impact the on-site experience, but integrating the digital production team was so simple,” Campbell says of AAOHN’s partner Digitell. “You didn’t even know they were filming. It didn’t disrupt anything.”
Engaging Viewers, Driving Revenue
Away from the meeting venue in Jacksonville, Florida, the filming was making a big difference as 60 members tuned in for the live broadcast. Many meeting professionals experiment with free and tiered pricing structures for virtual meetings, but Campbell and her team made a bold move: charging the exact same price for the virtual experience as the face-to-face meeting. “We view this as another revenue stream for the organization,” Campbell says. “Our education includes more than 40 sessions that appeal to a range of specialties, and it gives everyone the opportunity to earn valuable continuing education credits.”
In addition to the 60 paying members behind their screens, one major sponsor paid to make the program available to all its employees, which welcomed 62 more attendees to the virtual audience. While consuming educational content came with a price tag, Campbell says AAOHN made its annual business meeting available free of charge, and 350 members tuned in for key updates from leadership and previews of future projects. “We want to make sure the entire AAOHN community is in the know about what’s happening in the organization,” Campbell says.
With a successful inaugural streaming event in the books, Campbell is excited about the future possibilities to engage AAOHN members with virtual content. “As we look ahead, we’re planning to do more marketing to promote these virtual experiences,” she says. “It will be especially powerful to leverage the people who watched the stream this year. Conceptually, I think a lot of our members may not understand the opportunity to earn education credits online, so we’ll rely on attendee testimonials to help spread the word.”
As Campbell and her team work to create awareness around the live streaming experience, they’re also sitting on a stockpile of additional educational content and potential revenue. “We captured nearly every session on-site, and it allows us to sell the entire conference experience to members or bundle specific packages targeted to specialty segments,” Campbell says. “This expands our library of learning opportunities and our ability to monetize the meeting.”
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