#8 | Content Marketing For Events: It’s No Longer Optional, It’s Essential
The best events succeed because of two kinds of quality content. The most obvious is the presentations made by your speakers, experts and sponsors at the event itself.
But just as important for event marketers is having quality content to help attract an audience in the first place.
In this blog we will address some of the key ways event marketers can build an effective, content-led event marketing campaign that will help to publicise an event and get the bookings streaming in.
The soft sell will beat the hard sell
How do you get someone to choose your event over the other dozen that likely popped into their inbox in any given month?
Let’s say you are running an event about a new technology, like self-driving cars, and need to target local public-sector workers.
One option is to simply identify the contacts you wish to reach and include them in an email campaign. It’s unlikely though, that most will click on the email – especially as most are unlikely to see any connection between self-driving cars and their job in, say, town planning.
However, creating a blog post about how self-driving cars will eliminate the need for car parking in city centres and free up space for town planners to redesign public space, build more housing or cut pollution – and suddenly they have an interest.
Give someone something they want to read, watch or listen to – because they can learn something new and useful – and you are halfway there. You have their ear.
If they’ve visited your blog on your event website they suddenly have brand awareness. Then, when you follow up with a more straight-forward marketing email they have a connection and are more likely to purchase.
It’s ‘content-marketing 101’ really. But unfortunately, still generally poorly applied for the marketing of events. Why is that? It could be that the resources and skills needed to create content are not available to most event marketers. But they are…you just need to know where to look!
Tap into your speakers and partners
Creating fresh, insightful content can be tough. While your in-house team might be able to generate some great blog posts, videos and articles, you should look to leverage the expertise and credibility of your event speakers, sponsors and partners who are the main attraction for your event. Even members of your advisory board may have expertise to offer.
Ideas can include:
- Publish a Q&A with a respected, well known industry specialist you have lined up to speak – giving a readymade audience a sneak peak of what they can expect if they attend your event
- Have a key media partner offer a thought provoking white paper exclusively to people who register an interest in your event
- Have sponsors share a survey they’ve commissioned on a hot industry topic – highly relevant to your event
A diverse blend of quality informative content will be more impactful than relying solely on your own marketing team who may be very capable writers, but lack in-depth industry knowledge.
As a bonus, those you get to help create content will often be willing to share this with their own networks and communities too – helping you instantly reach an even wider audience.
Content must be ‘pure content’
Your target delegate is smart. He or she will know the difference between content that educates, gives insight into a topic of interest or helps him or her do job well, and content that is overtly trying to sell a product or service.
Sponsors and partners are the most likely to supply content that isn’t in the best interest of your campaign. You need to be disciplined and make it clear that content must add genuine value to the audience and can’t be a poorly disguised sales pitch. Your sponsor is likely to have lots of data and expertise to share that makes for insightful content. Help them find it.
Besides, in the long run, quality content will better serve your sponsor’s brand as it helps establish them as professional and trustworthy.
Make sure you get the content out there
Creating fantastic content is only one part of an event marketing content plan. You need to get it in front of the right eyeballs too.
Establishing multiple channels through which you can deliver your content is key. From the right social media platforms to email and direct mail, make sure you can broadcast to your audience via the medium most likely to reach them.
If you have the budget, strongly consider supporting your best content through paid promotion on social media – to ensure it reaches as much of your target market as possible. Sponsored posts on LinkedIn are usually the most effective way to do this.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that not all content you create needs to be 100% original. Often there is plenty of content that can be combined, reworked or enhanced that’s still relevant to your audience.
Take a look at what existing content your organisation may already have produced and if it touches on the themes of your event then find ways to enhance and reuse it.
This is particularly true for media or publication brands who run events and may have access to a large library of material, such as event presentation slide decks and videos from events.
Putting out good content is like putting money in the bank. It generates interest over time, and that interest generates more interest. So, content marketing can be great for immediate impact and results – but more importantly, it will help you strategically build up your event brand over time, continually growing awareness and educating your target audience about the value of your event.