We just launched a new group within our larger community that's for this year's conference attendees. Our conference in is June so we have a couple of months to build up anticipation. I'm working on some content calendars for myself, so many thanks to @WouterS for the inspiration on a couple more items I can add!
So bit of a backstory for you... I'm new to CMing and although our community is almost a year old, it hasn't had a dedicated CM until me. So I'm definitely researching/experimenting and don't have much internal data to back up my event strategy at the moment. But here's my basic plan:
1) Launch dedicated conference community (done!)
2) Create and share content in the months leading up to conference [some of the things we're doing are an "Ask the Expert" series featuring 10 of our speakers; seeding questions about the conference location like best coffee spot in Nashville, best happy hour spot in Nashville, what tourist spot do you most want to visit; and content that inspires people to get to know one another...struggling with this a bit. Our "Introduce Yourself" thread is doing okay, but people aren't really jumping on their shared items of interest, so I'm brainstorming ways to seed content that will get them more excited about meeting one another.]
3) Hosting a networking giveaway (we're going to give away a couple gift cards to people who make plans to get together in Nashville)
4) Develop post-conference content that will gather and implement attendee feedback
Our main goal with all of this is to enhance the pre-conference networking + get members more familiar with the Community. Already, we're seeing people who don't participate in our main forum dipping their toes in the event group. Since our members constantly say they love the networking opportunities at the conference, I'm trying to augment natural, spontaneous connections that will make it easier for them to reach out to one another in person once they're in Nashville.
We're also going to have a "Social Networking Lounge" at the actual conference. Our main goal here is to lure people in with fun games that are designed to inspire them to use the community.
Still coming up with my post-conference plan. Digging through the Internet for ideas. Hope this gives you some helpful ideas. Please keep me updated on what you decide to do!