A Stirring Place for Ideas
For the last several years (maybe five), the American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference has included a feature called the Idea Marketplace. Different vendors who want to reach writers have a little exhibit and pass out information during the conference. I've always found my interaction with these people stimulating for ideas and research.
Many of these exhibitors try to stir interest with interesting giveaways that make an impression. This year Memorial Hermann Health Care Systems was giving away jump drives or memory sticks which contained their press kit. It was not a hard sell to get me to put one of these little boxes into my bag and then use it. The New York Public Library gave away a beautiful full-color bookmark along with information on their services. Pharmavite was handing out vitamins with their information plus they gave out a DVD that shows how vitamins are manufactured. The American Academy of Osteopathic Surgeons were back with their writing pens that look like a large bone (always a conversation piece and a functioning writing instrument). The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing people were handing out small Teddy Bears along with ornate luggage tags and a reporter's notebook (each item included their website address and contact information). Even the United States Government was exhibiting with their little red, white and blue uncle sam hats (a stress relieving device). The Society of Professional Journalists were handing out plastic mugs which asked the question, "Has your career gone cold?" Then when you add a hot beverage, it changes and shows logo for journalismtraining.org (part of their society).
Ok, I picked up a bunch of different gadgets and stuff. What's the pay off for that exhibitor? They are stirring ideas and resources for writers. Months down the road when I need some bit of copyright information, I can turn to the USA.GOV website and search for it because I have a little uncle sam hat stress relief gizmo. Or if I write about health and need some resources to interview, I can contact Memorial Hermann because their press information is on a memory stick that I carry with me.
The payoff for the writer is stimulation of ideas for magazine articles or books. It was a terrific spot to walk around and collect information and another one of the benefits from attending the American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference. As writers, we have many different ideas. The key will always come in the execution. How can you take one of these ideas and carry it into action?