By Brona Banville, Senior Content Editor and Strategist
Consider this – if you were planning your own party and inviting all of your best and most important friends, would you wait until the day of the event to get the word out there?
During the party, you’d probably want attendees to check in on social media and show those who couldn’t make it what they’re missing out on.
And to be heralded as a true party planner extraordinaire, you’d want to see your event being talked about for days – even weeks – afterwards, as attendees and non-attendees share and view all the amazing pictures, videos and stories from your celebrations.
So why should it be any different for a major brand planning an event?
Live social is important
According to a recent report from Forrester Research, in-person trade shows, conferences and events will occupy the largest share of B2B marketers’ budgets in 2015. An event is an incredible opportunity for a business to raise its profile as an industry thought leader, while engaging with and learning more about its target audience, promoting products and services, and generating leads.
For your business to realise these benefits, you need to complement your event with compelling and highly relevant content.
Content is the key to successful engagement at events
An incisive content marketing strategy and plan can help you increase attendance numbers, boost brand awareness and promote engagement long after the closing keynote speaker and finale celebrations.
So, how do you go about using content to make your event more successful? King Content divides strategy for events into three phases: a pre-event plan, live event plan and post-event plan. This three-way approach allows you to target your audience and alter your KPIs depending on the different times the content is reaching them.
The content you create pre-event needs to drum up awareness and encourage the target market to register to attend. You can do this with content such as blog posts, videos and infographics that tie in with the event’s key themes in the weeks leading up to the relevant dates.
Profile event speakers by inviting them to write guest blog posts or by conducting interviews, and encourage them to share the content with their networks. Interviews with experts are great traffic drivers, so in any pre-event content, ensure you include a call to action that drives to the event page or website for registration, and where all the content is hosted.
Pre-event content can also involve:
– Engaging with industry influencers to create and share content.
– Co-creating content with event partners or sponsors.
– Sharing teaser content with event details and images.
– Providing advice-led content offering tips on how to get the most out of the event.
Tip: Depending on the size of your event, you can start pre-event content production and publishing at least 12 months out. Increase awareness and consideration for event registration in the days leading up to the event by posting content daily.
2. Live event
During the event, focus on providing real-time information for attendees to use and share on social media so non-attendees can see what they’re missing out on. Live tweeting is crucial for engaging with attendees in real time, so ensure your Twitter stream is filled with interesting content throughout the event.
Attendees and non-attendees will be following your event hashtag, so make sure you share plenty of:
– Content on the morning of the event with final event revelations and details.
– Tweet quotes from speakers.
– Pictures and videos from around the event location.
– Blog posts from keynote speakers
– Any product or industry news announcements.
– Competition details or giveaways.
– Webcasts and podcasts of interviews with speakers.
Once the show is over, attendees and non-attendees will be interested in hearing about the highlights and learning the key themes speakers raised about your industry.
Publishing content related to the topics covered during the event and summaries of the best presentations can position your blog as an authoritative, informational resource on key market trends. Sustain the dialogue with attendees post-event by publishing content such as:
– Feature articles providing insights from keynote sessions.
– Behind-the-scenes video content and exclusive interviews with speakers and sponsors.
– Summary infographics revealing interesting statistics from the day.
– Wrap-up SlideShares outlining highlights and choice quotes.
– Photo and video galleries from the event which allow attendees to tag themselves on social media.
Tip: Ensure you are tracking and nurturing strong leads that are engaging with the post-event content, and sharing this information with your sales team.
For the best event content put yourself in the shoes of attendees and consider the types of information they want to know at each stage of the journey, whether it is pre-event, during the live event or post-event.
Every event has the potential to be a powerful marketing tool. All it takes is a little planning and the rewards could be colossal.