WordCamp Europe 2021 Online concluded with huge success last month on 7-9 June. This was the second edition of online WordCamp Europe and it received a lot of love and support from WordPress enthusiasts from around the world. Despite it being an online event, WCEU2021 organizers managed to pull off the event professionally with an organized system for attendees and everything went sleekly. Similarly, sponsors also play a vital role while organizing a WordCamp. The support from various sponsors enables organizers to deliver a smooth and well-organized WordCamp, enhancing the WordCamp experience for all the attendees. We had the privilege of interviewing one of the WCEU2021 Sponsors Team Leads, Laura Sacco.
In this interview, Laura shares her experience as the WordCamp Europe 2021 Online Sponsors Team Lead. We would like to heartily thank Laura for taking out time from her busy schedule for this interview.
So, with that being said, below is the full interview with Laura Sacco, the Team Lead of WordCamp Europe 2021 Sponsors Team.
Please introduce yourself to our audience and please tell us your role in WordCamp Europe 2021.
I’m a Support Engineer at Yoast. In the Italian WordPress Community, I’m mainly volunteering in the Polyglots team. Also, I organize the local Meetups and WordCamps in my town, Turin.
How do you think WordCamp Europe 2021 Online was different from the previous year?
In 2020, the COVID pandemic caught us all off-guard. A few months before WordCamp Europe, we decided to cancel the WordCamp in-presence and transform it into an online event. It was the first time I organized an online event. I was on the Sponsor team in 2020 as well. We all were pretty new to managing this kind of online event. That edition was great, but we couldn’t replicate the attendees’ engagement, as in the in-presence event. Also, our biggest concern was to create an accessible event. And we didn’t find any software fully accessible at that time.
So, this year we worked hard to search for a platform more accessible to screen readers and keyword navigation. Therefore, we used Hubilo, a new platform for managing events online. It was good, but still not the best, IMHO.
As a part of the organizing team, what’s the most difficult part when it comes to online events?
An online event has several differences from an in-presence one. Actually, because WordCamp Europe has an international team, most organizations are handled remotely, via Slack and with video meetings. But, some days before the final event, we work together in the WordCamp venue. This is a significant moment. Because, you know? When we meet in person, we are more spontaneous and relaxed. We work hard many hours a day, side by side to manage all the final things. And, in the end, we become friends.
Also, even if you attend an online event with hundreds of people, you are alone in front of your computer. You can smile and nod, but it’s not the same thing.
And, finally, when you organize an online event as a volunteer, it’s hard to find time for that. I was lucky because Yoast sponsored part of my WCEU shift. But it was hard as well to see all the time I needed to carry on the sponsor managing shift at my best.
Can you enlighten us a bit about sponsorship at WCEU2021? What are the perks of sponsoring a WordCamp?
As the first thing, I want to mention that sponsoring a WordCamp is a way to help the WordPress community grow. A WordCamp cannot exist without sponsors. They cover most of the costs, making the event accessible to everyone. This year, then, we could grant free access to everyone, thanks to the sponsors’ generosity. We are so glad about that. And I want to thank our WordCamp Europe 2021 sponsors, once again!
About the perks, you know, when you sponsor a WordCamp, your brand is front and center among thousands of WordPress users seeking to take their online projects to a new level. That helps increase your brand awareness and develop stronger relationships: You’ll connect with people who can accelerate your awareness. If you aim to generate better leads, then you find your ideal prospects online, in one location, and have a chance to talk with them.
Also, during a WordCamp, you meet your customers in real-time: Imagine meeting some of your best customers and have the opportunity to ask them questions.
Finally, by sponsoring a WordCamp, you establish your brand as part of a broader family. In this way, you can make a difference by proudly engaging with an open-source community.
How does sponsoring a WordCamp help different companies to grow?
WordCamps offer high-quality talks and training. Also, you can meet great professionals and companies, and you can learn a lot from them. During a WordCamp, you get in touch with new ideas, best experiences, and, most important, with your audience (and with potential ones).
If you run a business based on WordPress, sponsoring a WordCamp is really a good investment. This article explains well the value of sponsoring a WordCamp from a business company: https://wptavern.com/the-value-of-sponsoring-a-wordcamp-from-a-business-perspective.
As you’re leading the Sponsors team, what responsibilities did you carry, and what’s the most difficult part?
As a sponsor team, you have the responsibility to communicate with sponsors. You need to collect information from them, manage all the administrative stuff, and most importantly, you have to take care of all sponsors’ needs.
I could say that if a sponsor has or not a great experience at a WordCamp, it is mainly due to how the sponsors team worked.
At a local WordCamp, you have around 10 Sponsors to manage. At WordCamp Europe, you have more than 40! It’s a lot of work, and emails, and messages, and questions from sponsors. Each sponsor is valuable, and you need to take care of its needs at best.
The most challenging part is coordinating all the tasks, be timely, and don’t lose any information. This year, my main concern was related to the new platform, Hubilo. I used it for the first time, and I didn’t know it well.
Would you like to suggest anything to those who’re concerned about sponsoring a WordCamp or any event alike?
WordCamps are excellent opportunities for companies that benefit from free and open-source software like WordPress to give back to the project that’s given you so much. So, if your company is built around WordPress or uses WordPress for your business, don’t be shy! Support the WordPress Community through WordCamps and Local WordPress Meetups and allow your employees to be involved in the WordPress Community at all levels. There is a lot of work to do, and everyone can find a team where they can share their knowledge!
More than 40% of sites worldwide are built with WordPress. And beyond WordPress, there is a great community made by thousands of people all around the world. Share your love and gratitude by sponsoring the WordPress community event like WordCamps!
And, that’s that! We would like to heartily thank Laura for joining us for this interview. We got to know a lot about sponsors and their importance in WordCamps. And we’re sure our audience felt the same.
We wish Laura all the very best for her future endeavors.