By Diane Attanasio
I am looking forward to attending this year’s iConnect User’s Conference May 19-23rd in Minneapolis. I find that it is a terrific event, well worth attending, for several reasons.
Keeping current on trends and tech
First, it is a great opportunity to help stay on top of what’s going on in the publishing industry. Since the publishing world is facing increasing challenges, it is important to know:
- What can we do to stay competitive?
- How can we get the most from our technology to do things more efficiently?
- What new products and services do Newscycle and their participating vendors offer?
- What are they working on for the future?
- What can we, as Newscycle customers, do to maximize readership? To attract advertisers? To provide better service to our customers?
- How can we keep our industries as modern as possible, leveraging the internet? Social media? Digital technologies?
- What can we do for our legacy core business, the publishing operation which is still at the heart of what we do?
Many experts from Newscycle attend this conference, as well as their vendor partners. All have plenty of information to share with you on these and many other topics, including fascinating, insightful and entertaining presentations. And, just as importantly, all are very interested in listening to what you have to say to them, as well about both their products and their service.
Networking with members in the media industry
networking at iConnectSecond, and most importantly for me, this is a great industry networking event to share valuable ideas.
This conference has a lot more to offer than a trade show would. This is where you can get into a much deeper discussion of the issues. The most intelligent minds are here from around the country and from other countries.
These smart people include not just executives who seek an overall high-level picture of where they want to take their companies. This conference does have plenty to offer for them. But in addition to that, the majority of attendees are hands-on personnel, those who use the systems every day, and those who set up and maintain them. These are the people who know their inner workings and have specialized knowledge gained from their particular experiences. They have weathered all kinds of challenges and are very happy to share their insights with their fellow travelers. They know how to get the most from the systems in their area of expertise.
Gaining insights from actual product users
These are things you would never be able to learn from any of the system documentation, and it’s much deeper than what you can find out from Newscycle because it comes from the user community. Whether it’s Advertising, Editorial, or Circulation, the subject matter experts are here to exchange information with you. And it’s a two-way street. I’m happy to share what I know, and many others are as well.
My recommendation is to come armed with your list of questions you want to ask because this is the forum for that.
There are both formal and informal areas for you to exchange information. As for the informal events, there is the Sunday evening icebreaker event, which happens the night before the official start of the conference. You get to mingle in a cocktail-hour type setting with everyone: the staff from Newscycle, the attendees from other publications, plus the participating vendors.
My advice is: don’t be shy. Introduce yourself to those in the room and tell them about what you do. You’ll find that we are all friendly and want to talk about our mutual interest in this industry. In addition to this event, there is also one evening event during the conference itself, to provide more networking opportunities.
Learning opportunities and training
Over the course of three days, there are presentations given by Newscycle staff, as well as breakout sessions on a variety of specialized topics given by your fellow iConnect members, by Newscycle staff, and by vendors discussing their products and how your industry colleagues are using them.
You can choose the sessions you wish to attend from the iConnect schedule app since the days are packed with several sessions at one time.
If you happen to be so inclined, you can, as an iConnect member, volunteer ahead of time to conduct one of the sessions being planned for the event. Those interested can contact the iConnect Board for more information.
In addition to the Newscycle user family, don’t forget to visit the vendor booths. My company has benefited a lot from working with several of the vendors who appeared at the iConnect conferences. We never would have known about these products without having attended this conference.
Attending the iConnect member-only meeting
In addition to the informational sessions, don’t forget to attend the iConnect members-only meeting, which is where we, as Newscycle customers, have a forum to discuss topics without Newscycle present.
You get to provide your own honest feedback to the iConnect Board members, as well as to your other fellow iConnect members, to express your opinion about any aspect of the conference, plus provide your company’s vote on matters such as electing new board members to replace those whose terms are expiring. Since this conference is planned by the iConnect Board in partnership with Newscycle, providing your input to us is how we help keep the quality of the conferences high year after year.
Getting additional training from Newscycle staff
Geoff Keher teaching at iConnect users conferenceThis year, as requested by our members, the conference will be extended by an additional half-day. Newscycle staff will also be conducting optional training sessions on various topics, for those who wish to stay for the final morning.
This will take place on Thursday, May 23rd, free of charge to conference attendees. Any time that has been offered in the past, I made sure to take advantage of that. It’s an extra bonus on top of the value already offered from the conference. If you can spare the time, and you think the topics are of value to you, I recommend it.
After the conference is finished, you will have plenty of information to take back to your company and share with your colleagues. Additionally, all slideshow presentations from the breakout sessions are posted so that you can download them for your colleagues to look at.
All in all, the iConnect Conference is an event that you will find well worth your while, and a great value and benefit to your company.
About Diane Attanasio: Diane Attanasio is a Business Systems Manager for Newsday Media Group, based in Melville (Long Island), New York. She has been working with media publishing, advertising and accounting systems for over 30 years. She has a BA in Economics from CUNY Brooklyn College and an MBA in Business Management from Dowling College.