Q2 is here and things are looking… interesting. We’re taking a step back to think about the #1 priority event marketers should have for the next couple of months. Events have been postponed or cancelled. Virtual and hyrbid events and digital ‘add-ons’ are being created and launched at lightning speed. But budgets are frozen. Many B2B event marketers are feeling uncertain about what they should focus on in the coming weeks to deliver value to their business and prove their worth. They are so used to be being pushed every day to deliver results in the form of revenue or ‘hot leads’ for the sales team. The job they may feel they have been hired to do cannot be done. So, they’re sitting at home, probably feeling quite anxious, in a makeshift – yet now permanent-feeling – home office, wondering what do to. For marketers looking for something to get their teeth into, that will deliver great value for their businesses in the next few weeks and over the longer term, content marketing via digital channels is the one true path. Digital content’s new role The value of content marketing to drive growth in B2B events and subscriptions has long been known, but until a few weeks ago seldom properly thought about or invested in. For years speaker interviews, industry reports and podcasts have been a powerful way to grow engagement, reach new people and capture data of individuals who find most value in our products. B2B community marketers now need to get very comfortable with the process around creating and distributing strong, engaging digital content to their communities. This will not only solve the short-term problems around maintaining engagement of valuable communities – but more importantly, will prove to be a great asset that can continue to be leveraged as we push ourselves into recovery mode in a few months’ time. Digital content, and the marketing of this content, is an asset that needs investment – now more than ever. And this investment should pay off in the short, medium and long term. Who wouldn’t see that as an attractive place to put their money right now? What makes content so valuable At its core, content solves problems. People watch webinars not because of a flashy social post or catchy name, but because the subject addresses a challenge they face in their working lives. It’s fair to say nearly every worker in every field is facing a myriad of challenges in our working lives right now! When community members ‘purchase’ our content, they pay with us three valuable things: 1. Their time 2. Their attention 3. Their data These three things are the currencies we’re trading in right now when dollars, pounds and euros are being kept firmly in companies and investors’ zipped-up pockets. What does good content look like? Now is the time for producers and event content specialists to use their knowledge of the most pressing pain points and burning needs of their community. At a time when people cannot gather together at events, or their companies may be limiting how much they can spend on the most valuable information sources, your content is a life raft. Faced with huge uncertainty over their flagship events series Money20/20, industry titan Ascential put their community’s needs first. The Moneypot addresses the issues the fintech community faces right now in short, engaging pieces. Frequently updated content incentivises community members to subscribe while also referencing their event series to keep their conferences top of mind in a smart, customer-friendly way. Social Media Week has always been a leader in content marketing. Their latest #5Things podcast covering some incredible work being done by some of the giants in the world of marketing in response to the Covid-19 challenges the world is facing. How should marketers promote & amplify content? For optimal results – marketers need to treat their digital content as their product. That means deploying all the usual marketing strategies and tactics in promoting it: Use your audience personas and map out your community to understand who the content best serves and how it solves challenges they are currently facing. Create a messaging strategy that communicates the USP and benefits of your content consistently across channels. Deploy a multi-channel comms plan to achieve strong reach within your community. Host the content in a dedicated spot on your website, announce new pieces via email and social media and re-target past users to pull them back to your site. Collect data and segment accordingly to create the most relevant and welcome communications. The data you collect now can also be used later to push subscriptions and events sales – so make sure it is collected, stored and structured in the right way. Thinking of digital content as a product may feel strange to many event marketers, especially those used to be focused on revenue. But this new mindset is absolutely essential in maintaining your brand & position, and in ensuring you are doing all you need to for your community right now. If you look after your community now, they will look after you when things get back to the new normal – however that may look. You can read more about our advice on winning in the new world here.