Omni Nashville Hotel

KEEN Digital Summit: the Content and the Venue

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This week, I’m knee-deep in accounting work, tying up all loose ends (and invoices) from #KEEN2013, as well as measuring our social media metrics, completing interviews (it’s funny to be on the other side of the reporter spectrum for a change) and fielding requests from potential sponsors for next year (already!). I’m also back to a full freelance load for the meantime until #KEEN2014 really picks up steam after the holidays. But what was the first year of our digital media and networking conference all about, you may wonder? Glad you asked.

KEEN Digital Summit at the Omni Nashville Hotel The purpose was to gather an eclectic group of influencers, media, small business owners, and professional marketers all in one space to bat around ideas and figure out ways to collaborate and apply successful models to our existing business structures. Strategic partnerships are all the rage right now, after all. Mission accomplished there, I’d like to think!

KEEN Digital Summit at the Omni Nashville Hotel Keen Digital Summit Nashville TN Day 1-29We talked about so many things, from Millennial marketing to using social media for philanthropic causes to creating an impactful Kickstarter story and mining social media data. We also listened to Nashville bigwigs like Mayor Karl Dean, CEO of the CVC Butch Spyridon and FLO {thinkery}’s Mark Montgomery talk about how Music City is thriving in the creative and entrepreneurial space. (Bottom line: Want to start a company? Move to Nashville.)

Mayor Dean at KEEN Digital Summit Nashville Our 70 speakers came from all over: LA, Silicon Valley, New York, San Francisco, Birmingham, Atlanta, Colorado, Delaware, overseas and, of course, Nashville. We had nearly 400 attendees registered and a whole lot of awesome sponsors.

KEEN Digital SummitWe couldn’t have been in a more gorgeous space either.

Omni Nashville HotelThe shiny, brand-new Omni Nashville Hotel was just the venue we needed to make a killer first impression for an inaugural event. Plus, having the support staff from a huge hotel like Omni definitely contributed to the success of the event as manpower on our end was limited.

Omni Nashville Hotel(I’m still only marginally bummed it was too cold to make use of the pool. And that somehow I didn’t allot a spare moment for a cocktail in the hot tub.)

Omni Nashville HotelSo where do we go from here?

Omni Nashville HotelAs is always the case, there were areas in which we could have improved and things we wanted to do but couldn’t implement this year due to financial restraints and limitations of operating with just a four-person team. That’s fine; we want to save some tricks in our back pocket for year two anyway. We want more networking opportunities, more “breakout groups” and room for discussion, more one-on-one time. And from the feedback we received from our year one attendees, that’s also what they’re craving.

Omni Nashville HotelAnd whiskey. There’s always room for more whiskey.

Omni Nashville HotelBut we’ve still got 11 months to figure it all out. First things first, our next steps for #KEEN2014 are to secure a venue and work on the content format. Instead of having multiple arenas, we’re thinking of possibly doing a “professional track” targeting CPAs, lawyers and others who are required to accrue continuing education hours annually and a “lifestyles track,” which folds food, travel, entertainment, family, social for good and other areas all into one arena.

KEEN Digital SummitBut I’d love your input: If you attended #KEEN2013, what would you like to see more of next year? If you didn’t go, what are you seeing from a conference that aims to further your professional development in the online space?

A huge thanks to Nashville events photography Kerry Woo for capturing the conference and providing all the images in this post.

  • November 13, 2013
    Beth Boyer

    No, I wasn’t there, but it looks like you did a great job arranging the conference. Beautiful venue!
    I’m Katy’s Aunt Beth and I end up getting many interesting things like this. Love reading about Katy’s new home city. Take care of her. I miss her like the dickens!!!
    Keep up the great work. I’m sure next year will be even bigger and better!!
    Beth Boyer

    • November 13, 2013

      Hi Aunt Beth!! You should definitely be proud of Kristin and KEEN…and be sure to brag to all your friends in PA that you met her (briefly) one day, long ago, in a little town called New York City…

    • November 14, 2013

      Aunt Beth, we are taking good care of her down here, and she was a huge help for KEEN! Hopefully, you’ll get to visit her(/us) soon since our NYC meeting was so brief 😉

  • November 13, 2013

    Well done Kristin!! Make sure to pencil in cocktails in the hot tub for your 2014 event schedule 🙂

    • November 14, 2013

      Good call. There can never be too many “cocktails in hot tubs” blocks on a conference schedule 😉

  • November 13, 2013

    I had such a great time at KEEN, I’m ready to register for 2014! I went to the conference looking for a personal spark and I found inspiration and motivation from the sessions. Can’t wait until next year! Thanks for everything, Kristen!

    • November 14, 2013

      I’m so glad you came and that we got to meet! And also that you found it worthwhile, as well, of course 😉

  • November 14, 2013

    Kristin, I had SUCH a blast at KEEN 2013 and it was so nice to finally meet you (and SVV) after following C&C! 🙂 The venue couldn’t have been more gorgeous and I learned a ton that I actually applied (and even racked up the nerve to present at Barcamp Philly this past weekend, including a line from Meghan’s SEO talk!).

    My only suggestion would to create an online message board or something where people can place takeaways, quotes or interesting things they learned in sessions. I love checking the Twitter feeds and there were a few presentations I wish I knew more about. Maybe there is a way to a “KEENers” takeaways webpage/message board? (Google Group?)

    Hats off to a conference well done and thanks for organizing a great event! 🙂 Hope you get a well-deserved chance to relax.

    • November 14, 2013

      That’s a great idea! We are pretty limited with our current site due to the platform it was built on (couldn’t even integrate a proper blog feed!) so we will definitely add this to the idea pile as our new developer starts to work on the new site and moves it to Wordpress over the holidays. And it would probably be a good idea to start a FB group for attendees, too–Blissdom did this the year I went, and it was fun interacting with attendees before and after the conference. If you think of any other suggestions like this, definitely send them our way!

      Also, there’s a small chance I could be in Philly in May so I’ll let you two know if that happens! Congrats on your BarCamp presentation!

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