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Four reasons you should attend an industry conference

By Stine Holmgaard on September 21, 2022

Most day-to-day networking happens behind a computer screen, and that's okay. But nothing beats a real-life meeting with like-minded peers. We'd argue that prioritizing the face-to-face meetings, knowledge sharing, and content opportunities that come with attending industry conferences is a win-win both for business and personal growth.

Attending an industry conference like the Native Advertising Days is a great idea on several levels. More than the takeaways you get from the speaking sessions themselves, you also get invaluable networking time, opening up the door for new business, new partnerships, and new perspectives.

What's more, making an appearance at events within your event is a great way to build credibility and perhaps even establish thought leadership. Let’s take a closer look at the top four reasons you should be going to industry conferences.

Reason 1: Increase your knowledge

Whether you’re just starting in your industry or you’re a seasoned pro, there is always room to grow. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a different perspective or a better approach. Whatever the takeaway, industry events bring people that are all doing similar things together, to talk and learn from one another. The setting is ripe for the sharing of insights, epiphanies, and breakthroughs.

Industry conferences present several learning opportunities. Whether you’re learning from inspiring keynote speakers, track sessions, workshops, or simply from the audience’s questions and perspectives, you’re bound to pick up new valuable knowledge from a conference within your industry. This is particularly true in newer industries where traction is still being built and industry practices are still being formalized, which is certainly the case with native advertising.

Another thing to consider is the number of disciplines that fall under a particular industry. Take, for example, the native advertising industry. A native advertising event brings together those who place native ads, such as publishers or advertisers, the brands that commission them, and even the marketing technology companies that help facilitate the process.

There is a lot to be learned from other players in your industry who operate in a different discipline than you. For one, you can learn what’s of interest to those you do business with. In these instances, industry events act as a means to build shared language and understanding, making it easier for everyone to do their jobs well.

Reason 2: Networking & Brand Awareness

One of the biggest arguments in favor of attending a conference within your industry is the unparalleled opportunity to network. Whether you’re getting the chance to put in face time with potential clients, partners, or competitors, there’s a lot to be said for getting out from behind your computer screen and speaking face-to-face with these people.

In our increasingly digital world, a little personal interaction goes a long way in building trust. One in-person interaction, for example, may be just what it takes to win the business of the client you’ve been emailing back and forth with forever.

Because conference organizers have increasingly come to recognize the tremendous networking value of such industry events, they’ve begun to place networking opportunities front and center, offering more inclusive presentation styles and meet-and-greet opportunities between events and after the day’s sessions. Native Advertising DAYS, for example, works hard to build a community around the event, offering a networking gift that keeps on giving.

Further, by simply being at an industry event, you're ensuring that your company is out there being seen. In other words, participating in an industry event builds brand awareness. Keep in mind, though, that this can be for better or worse. Pay mind to the way you represent your brand when at such industry events. While it may seem unimportant, it’s a good idea to put some thought into the way you and your employees present themselves and whether or not that aligns with your brand identity.

Reason 3: Tons of content possibilities

Being in the business of content, it’s hard to ignore the content opportunities that industry conferences provide. Here are just a few:

  • Cover the event live via SoMe posts: Photo ops and video ops are great for Instagram and Facebook, making your presence at the event known, and associating your brand with the event and thought leadership in general. X or LinkedIn is a great place to quote some of the speakers you’ve heard. In addition, LinkedIn may serve you well if you decide to do a LIVE summary of the conference for your peers and serve you the latest insights and reflections from your conference experience and newfound knowledge. Make sure to use the event-specific hashtag; this is a great way to make sure you get more eyes on what you put out there from other event-goers and their network. And if you are on TikTok, nothing wrong with doing a little 'conference dance' or a vox pop if that suits your content strategy on this media.
  • Get great video footage: industry events are a great place to get evergreen video footage—from live-streaming and interviews to simply capturing high-energy moments or getting great B-roll, no question, these events are great for video footage. Just be sure you have the proper permissions to film!
  • Create follow-up blog posts and articles: Another way to repurpose your conference experience into content is through blog posts after the event. There is no shortage of opportunities. You can highlight the best moments from a particular speaker or summarise the general themes and takeaways of the event.

One thing is for certain, you won’t leave an industry event without tons of content opportunities. One piece of advice, though: create a content plan before the conference begins. Take a peek at the event agenda and see which events would make for good content and plan your conference experience accordingly.

Reason 4: Get inspired and motivated

Let’s face it, being in the office week in and week out isn’t exactly good for motivation and creativity.

It’s important to step out now and again to seize new inspiration. You and your employees need to get inspired and get the creative juices flowing.

There are always different experiences that conference attendees get energized by. For some, it’s inspiring sessions and keynotes. For others, it’s the palpable energy of the event.

Many conferences these days are geared toward creating these inspiration-worthy moments, by facilitating different session formats, such as workshops that allow for greater audience participation and engagement.

Another great way that conferences can help build this energy and inspiration is by recognizing great work within the industry. Such can be accomplished through special award ceremonies. At previous Native Adverting Days, for example, we have hosted the Native Advertising AWARDS, which acknowledge the best work in native within several different categories. The 2024 AWARDS will be hosted as an evening party on the same day as the Native Advertising Days conference. That way, all conference participants get an additional chance to register for some serious social networking.

A final piece of advice. When you return to the office, sometimes there can be a dip in energy and it can be difficult to determine how to put all your great learnings into practice. We suggest taking the time within your organization to debrief on learnings, create a list of takeaways, and make an actionable game plan on how to get the most out of what you learned at your industry conference. 

NOTE: This post was originally published on June 20, 2019 and was updated on February 23, 2024.