Thanks for the excitement. So this question comes from the requesting team, who is asking us to help them organize their ATE event, perspective. This is actually a common questions and one I'm greatful that you ask as many could benefit from this advice. It is however difficult for me to norrow down my answer to the top 3 things. As in with any type of virtual community events there are many factors that could potentially influence to the success of an Ask the Expert event. With that said, here is my take on what I believed has worked with us in the past.
Topic - As with any type of event, most people are interested in getting something out of the event they chose to attend. Either by learning something new, being able to solve a problem they had in the past or simply by getting the chance to be heard and acknowledged by an expert in the subject, the topic of your event needs to be interesting and trending. Coming up with a topic that is current and proven to be of interest for your audience is pivotal to the success of your ATE event. Something to consider is to observe any common themes on questions posted in your community. Later, once you figure it out you could broaden the topic a bit and make that the topic of your next ATE event. The way you present this topic on your title is also important, so be sure it portrays the essence of the topic while making it worthy of people’s attention.
Expert Selection – People follow their idols, those individuals who they heard from in the past at a conference, a blog post, or even the ones whom they received helped from in the community, someone they recognize and respect. When selecting the SMEs for your next event, be sure to select the ones who are socially active and are known for what they do. These SMEs are also most likely to be active on the thread, provide proactive content and give their own special secret ingredient that everyone loves in the discussion.
Advertising – This is the area where many may just rely on the premises of their community. Obviously, if your community is rather new and does not yet have enough followers you know you will need to be a little more inventive as to where to promote your ATE event. Even those communities that are well stablished need to go outside of their comfort zone to advertise the event. Advertising outside of your comfort zone isn’t only using social media to promote, but also email and lots of WOM are necessary. Once the event is live it should be featured in multiple communities and at least once you’re community followers should receive an invite on their inbox.
I hope this helps.