Interview About Starting OKC’s Confluence Conference

I recently got a chance to spill my guts about my favorite topic of conversation – putting on Confluence blogging and digital influencer conference, here in Oklahoma City.

As you can tell from the interview, it’s a subject I could talk about all day long. The conference was very definitely a labor of love.


Here’s an extract:

Confluence conference selfie contest Can you talk us through the process of taking your concept for Confluence and turning it into a reality and any challenges that you encountered along the way?

David: For the first three months of planning the conference I was just trying to meet as many of Oklahoma’s digital influencers as I could. I met them all face-to-face and for at least an hour, usually over coffee or lunch, and I gently probed into what actionable tips and tactics they knew and how comfortable they were speaking in front of big audiences.

Every time I pitched the conference to a new potential speaker I got better at pitching it. Every time another influencer agreed to be involved, I incorporated them into my pitch. When it came time to build the website, create the brand and start marketing, I knew exactly what Confluence was and why someone would want to attend.

Attendees mingling at confluence conference

The conference cost $6,500 to put on, not including all of the time we put into it, so buy-in from the executive suite was crucial.

They’d just released a new mission statement with community service at its core. A local creativity conference like Confluence struck them as a perfect expression of that sentiment, and they agreed to back it, even though my intention was only ever to break even. They understood that the relationships we’d build and the prestige we’d gain by association would be our reward.

We also scored a great sponsor in Remington Park, a racing track and casino in the city. They helped us out with an amazing $1000 racing suite prize that we gave to the winner of our #bestracehorsename @remingtonpark Twitter competition.

The biggest resistance came from other marketing agencies. One social media marketer told me he didn’t trust the event, that he thought it was bound to be a sales stunt. I told him he was wrong and to come, that he stood to gain as much from the event as we did, with much less time and money spent. He didn’t show up.

I only met one other marketing agency employee in the audience, which was incredible considering we had speakers from national events like SMX, State of Search, Pubcon and Altitude Summit speaking, and for 10% of the ticket price.

It actually couldn’t have worked out better: we exceeded our year 1 attendance goal by 40%, without also helping to train our competitors.

David Cristopher talks at Confluence Conference in Oklahoma City

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Visit the Confluence conference website to learn more about the conference, or apply to be a speaker.

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