Promotional Videos Can Help Your Association Spread the Word
In this age of shortened attention spans, a short 2 - 3 minute video is sometimes the best way to get your association's message out there. Your target audience can see first-hand the benfits of attending your events, and hear directly from your members on the benefits of joining.

A short video posted to social media can increase website traffic, spread your message, and attract potential members. Many social media services offer the option to share posts to targeted demographics outside your pre-existing base of followers, for a small fee, providing another method to market your association.

However, as technology has made it easy for anyone to quickly record and distribute their message via video, it is crucial to ensure that your video appear polished and professional. Spend the time to discuss your video project with a video production company. While everyone can record video with their phone, often lighting and audio quality is sub-par in such recordings. Costs for professional level recording and editing vary dramatically depending on the experience level of the production company, the number of locations at which filming will take place, and the length of the video.

If a production company is outside of your budget, video editing software provides many post-production options, such as on-screen titles, music, and simple transition effects.

Creative Benefits Can Attract Sponsors for Your Association
Sponsorship is one of the biggest revenue generators for an association event. Associations must perform a crucial balancing act between keeping sponsors happy, and ensuring that your event does not appear to be too heavily influenced by corpoate donors.

Agentis has worked with many clients on developing creative ways to promote their sponsor partners during their events, outside of the typical tradeshow environment.

While all conferences typically feature stand-up signage, there are other options to show off your sponsors. Window clings placed prominently on glass doors and windows provide a more customized, personal touch than the traditional vertical foamcore signage. Floor decals can be printed and die-cut for an eye-catching promotional option that is sure to attract attention; decals can be placed strategically to lead your attendees to specific onsite events.

Consider holding an exclusive cocktail reception for sponsor representatives to meet with your Board of directors or other key decision-makers within your association.

Offer sponsors the opportunity to contribute an article to your association's newsletter or website. Be sure to encourage submissions that are informational and not blatantly sales-oriented.

Offer bespoke sponsorship opportunities, with sponsorship of specific give-aways or small attendee gifts. These options can often be priced competitively, making it easier for smaller companies to be able to afford to participate.

Contact Agentis for more information on how to attract sponsors to your upcoming events.

Ethics in Lobbying: Why “Trust Me" Just Doesn’t Cut It
While the tired Hollywood trope of the shady beltway insider certainly sells a lot of movie tickets, in reality it could not be further from the truth. If there is one commodity that a successful government relations professional deals in, it is trust — from your clients and policy makers alike. If your partners and colleagues can’t take you at your word, no amount of access or connections can make up for it.

It should go without saying that you should never lie to a legislator. Even a seemingly innocuous omission can dig you a hole too deep to climb out of. Addressing objections from opponents can provide you a valuable opportunity to defend your position as well as reassure legislators that your organization has done its due diligence before your meeting. Gaining the support of an elected official is often about providing them the political cover to make the right decision. Knowing all of the facts going in will make them more comfortable in that decision.

Equally as invaluable is the trust your clients place in you. The whole purpose in hiring a lobbyist is to represent the interests of your association in front of policy makers, while your board and individual members tend to their other responsibilities. So maintaining an open and candid flow of information between your clients is crucial in building this trust. That can often mean delivering a frank assessment of the “facts on the ground” in the legislature without sugar coating. Telling someone that their bill is dead in the water may be uncomfortable in the moment, but it prevents a feeling of being blindsided later on.

While the machinations of the characters on “House of Cards” make for more entertaining drama, a truly effective government affairs professional acts with integrity and an openness that leaves little room for surprises. Endeavor to act with honesty and your outcomes will be much more predictable, and successful.

The Importance of Music Licensing
They say that music soothes the savage beast. Now, we aren’t saying our convention attendees are beasts – but music does add to the overall meeting experience. If you are playing music at your convention, you will need public performance rights. However, your convention manager would go insane trying to obtain public performance rights from every label and publisher. Simplifying the process are two organizations — ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated). Each one managesa catalog of more than 4,000,000 songs.

An association can purchase licenses from ASCAP and BMI for conventions and meetings to broadcast music. The fee is based upon the number of attendees and is paid annually. A report of events held is required to be filed so that the fee can be calculated. The fees are not terribly expensive, i.e., for a meeting of 500 attendees, the cost is approximately $200.

Do you have to obtain these licenses? You certainly don’t. You can obtain music that is produced specifically for meetings and events that are not included in these two organizations’ licenses. However, the music is not easily recognizable and is often similar to elevator music. But if you plan to use popular music by famous artists, you will need to obtain the licenses to avoid paying stiff penalties if you are caught playing music without a license. So, why take the risk? Spend a few hundred dollars to protect your organization and comply with the law, and have happy, rocking attendees!