NRB 2016 – Digital Media Conference shares latest technology trends


Proclaim 16The NRB Convention, Proclaim 16,  is a four-day event that connects, equips, and edifies thousands of Christian communicators. Outstanding speakers and artists are invited to share their knowledge with Christian media community through networking events, lectures and one-on-one appointments. Things were kicked off on Feb 22nd with a pre-convention event: The NRB Digital Media Summit. This featured industry experts and leaders from some of the Internet’s hottest organizations. Representatives from Facebook, HubSpot,, Christianity Today, and more shared some of the newest trends and what the future holds for platforms used by media and ministry to get their messages out to the public. Justin Wise, Founder & CEO, Think Digital was the emcee for the majority of these learning sessions.

Katie Harbath

Katie Harbath of Facebook

Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director for Facebook, was the first speaker. She shared about some of the new features of Facebook, including Facebook Live, which allows streaming on Facebook. Videos don’t disappear with this option as they do with Periscope & Snapchat. Other new features: 360 Virtual Reality, the ability to embed photos and format text on Notes, Facebook Mentions app that is available for public figures who want to monitor conversations around their name, and so much more. Facebook continues to evolve to meet the needs of users.

Jake Press - Hello Mogo

Jake Press of Hello Mogo

Be Heard Above the Noise was the subject matter for the discussion on Disruptive Technology. Jake Press, CEO and Co-Founder, HelloMogo Inc., is primarily focused the latest digital innovation. His goal is to help publishers, ministries, and organizations to get their message heard amid all of the clamor diverting people’s attention.

Brian Russell, director of YouVersion, gave a talk on the secret of innovation. YouVersion, maker of the Bible App and the Bible App for Kids, is a ministry of YouVersion has quickly grown to be be one of the most used apps by millions of Christians worldwide.

David DeMambro - HubSpot

David DeMambro of Hubspot

The evening speakers included David DeMambro, Principal Inbound Marketing Specialist, HubSpot. DeMambro emphasized the purpose of social media marketing. The process of this type marketing is to choose what goal you wish to accomplish with your post/blog/campaign and to wisely choose your target audience. If you aren’t reaching the people you need to hear your message, you are merely spinning your wheels. 92% of marketers receive higher conversion rates with dedicated landing pages.  Once you get those things in place and have published, it is vital to monitor and measure your success, tweaking until you have a plan that works.

Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff, Author

New York Times best-selling author (“Do Over,” “Stuff Christians Like”), Jon Acuff,  shared four investments every organization needs to effect change. He brought both knowledge and his trademark humor to the platform as he communicated what it takes to connect and build the relationships that make a difference. “Real community can happen and it happens when you listen. Relationships + Skills + Character x Hustle = Career Savings account.” Acuff explained that Hustle does not mean a frenzy of activity, but being focused on what you are trying to accomplish. Listening is a key component in building a relationship. People need you to be empathetic, and approachable.

Discussion Panel

Digital Advertising Panel

The final speakers for the night comprised a Digital Advertising panel discussion. Nate Smoyer (Faithlife), Walter Hegel (Integrated Media Sales Manager of Christianity Today) and Steve Werkmeister (Salem Web Network) collaborated on a discussion, which was moderated by Tom Perrault (VP of Digital Services, Dunham + Company), about Growth and Results in 2016. “What is the difference between sponsored content and native advertising?” was explained to the audience. Sponsored content looks like a blog post, but contains a disclaimer that payment was received for the blog post. This is a popular form of advertising which has great editorial value. Readers at large aren’t affected by the fact that payment was received; most bloggers don’t write about products they wouldn’t really use. Native advertising on the other hand, is within the script of the page and written by the author to match the form and function of the platform.

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Photo credit: Selina Waite