Upcoming Live Events: Do You Still Need a Program Book?

An attendee used the daily schedule page to keep track of the sessions he attended.

Program books have been the “go-to” for attendees at live events. But with the growth of mobile apps, many organizers have questioned the necessity to still provide a printed program book. If you’re planning an upcoming meeting, there may be more to consider in regards keeping or eliminating the onsite program book. New factors to consider include the lead and staff time requirements, the cost and the potential inaccuracies.

But before you move to eliminate the onsite program book, consider that will attendees still be seeking the daily schedule and exhibitor list/floor plan in printed format.

Use your show daily’s centerspread to publish a full size exhibit hall floor plan and company director.
Use your show daily’s centerspread to publish a full size exhibit hall floor plan and company directory.

Show dailies are much more than a daily newspaper: content can include daily schedules, the exhibitor list/ floor plan and event highlights, along with session previews and recaps, association news and conference photos.

Here are a few things to consider, and how to pivot away from a traditional program book, but still provide an onsite printed communications tool and maintain an advertising revenue stream.

Program book considerations: 

  • Will the lead time to produce and print the program book be a challenge this year?
    • Program books are typically finalized 3-6 weeks prior to an event’s start date. How accurate will your program be, at that stage?
  • Will your staff have enough time to devote to production and editing?
    • Producing a program-book can be labor intensive. Could you eliminate that need, as their plate may be full with other responsibilities?
  • Does your event have a mobile app?
    • Apps can be updated as needed, making them more accurate than a preprinted program book.

Why a show daily?

  • Shouldn’t we just eliminate all printed materials?
    • Attendees still see a printed schedule – for quick reference rather than always referring to the mobile app.
    • Exhibitors still seek opportunities to communicate their messages to attendees.
  • Isn’t an overnight print show daily expensive? How would it be financially supported?
    • Not as much as you may think: there are different page size and paper options.
    • Under our royalty agreement, there’d be no cost to your organization for the publication – we’d share the revenue with you.
    • Or your organization would sell advertising and sponsorships to support the publication.
  • How much staff time would be required?
    • That’s up to you – it can be minimal, with direction on what content to include and onsite editing; or your staff can assist with session coverage.
    • CustomNEWS can also provide onsite reporters and photographers to assist with content curation.
  • How does our organization benefit from publishing a show daily?
    • You’re adding a new resource that both attendees and exhibitors will find valulable.
    • Show daily content becomes yours to repurpose throughout the year.
  • Are there any digital offerings to complement a print show daily?
    • We will provide digital flipbook and PDF versions of each issue, for sharing via social media, and posting to your website and mobile app.
    • CustomNEWS can produce and distribute a daily email newsletter highlighting each issue of the show daily, and send to a wide audience, to reach non-attendees.

Interested in learning more about CustomNEWS’ digital publishing services? Contact us at info@showdailies.com.

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