Stack of paper (courtesy placid casual on Flickr CC)Although our Tourism Currents online learning community is a pretty new startup, we decided this month to sponsor an event for the first time.

Now we’re in the “big leagues,” right?  🙂

It’s the Get Smart professional development conference run by the very active Austin, Texas WCA (Association for Women in Communications) chapter.

I’ve been an AWC member since 2006 (my journalist Mom is an Member Emeritus, ever since it was an honors journalism sorority in the 1950’s) and it is chock-full of a lot of very networked communicators, many of whom are involved in some aspect of tourism or hospitality.

One benefit of our sponsorship is the chance to provide “collateral” – some swag, a printed handout or something – to be distributed to conference attendees.

Now, I was as clueless about this as I was about how to run a trade show booth on a budget, but after some thought I realized that no one wants yet another brochure or piece of paper with pretty pictures.  They want useful information.

So, I rejiggered a simple Word document handout that I’d done for the Texas Travel Summit on social media resources for CVBs to attract conferences, and made it a more general “Tourism Currents favorite resources and tips for social networking.”

Our favorites for finding blogs? (here’s the Alltop Tourism Industry channel) and Google’s blog search engine.

Our favorite parts of LinkedIn?  The Groups and Answers sections.

Our best tip for Twitter?  Follow one or more of the many regularly scheduled industry-specific hashtagged Twitter chats.

Why are videos and images important?  Because they are great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) if fully titled, tagged and described.  There is less competition for them than for text in universal search.

None of these are blinding revelations, but if every person who gets one of our handouts learns some tidbit they didn’t already know, then we’ve succeeded in not killing trees simply to get our name out there.  If they contact us for more training….well, so much the better!

Tourism Currents logo, URL, Twitter names and email address at top, helpful info, all on one page  —  BOOM.  We’re done.

What sort of ideas do you have for printed collateral that best benefits your event sponsorship? I’d love to hear from you down in the comments.