There are a number of ways to get people interested in your event. Whether it be location, speakers or offsites—there’s no end to the possibilities when it comes to getting potential attendees not only interested, but excited about your event. But where does it all begin? Social media? Email? Blogs?
If events are the human, face-to-face side of marketing, content is the conversation in between those engagements. It’s not enough to plan a killer event; you need to get your attendees, speakers and industry influencers on board. How do you do this? By using thoughtful, creative content to build an event community. This is where the real buzz lies.
But before all of the outreach and excitement kicks off, you need a solid plan—and that plan shouldn’t just be limited to topics and schedules. It’s important to ensure that your content strategy incorporates all the players that will be involved in developing, contributing to, or sharing your content. This will not only improve your opportunities for reach, influence and conversation, but will help guide your strategy as it develops.
Before the Event – Find unique ways to engage attendees, speakers & influencers
- Find the influencers – Figure out the influencers who have attended these events in the past. Then create a plan to engage the influencers in advance of the event. Get their help to crowd-source or at least share with their audiences your pre-event content.
- Engage the presenters – Anyone presenting at an event likely wants to make sure their room is full of attendees. Interview those presenters for pre-show “teaser” content you can use as part of your marketing.
- Help first-time attendees know what to expect – Create new-attendee orientation content such as how to survive the crowds, where to find the best outlets to recharge cell phones, and which parties to attend.
- Write a “what to do around town” guide – Even if you don’t know the city the event is hosted in, work with others who live or used to live there to get recommendations on where to eat, drink, hang out, get a good breakfast, etc.
- Crowd-source more event recommendations from past attendees – Capture and publish the “wisdom of the crowds” in a variety of contexts, featuring survival tips from those who have been there before. This can be about anything— hotels, transportation, bathroom breaks, etc.
During the Event – Give writing assignments
- Assign “summary” content from key sessions and keynotes to get published ASAP – This is where an editorial calendar and resource plan comes in handy. Know exactly which sessions you’ll want to summarize in a blog post afterward, ensure someone attends and takes notes, and carve out time right afterward to draft and publish the piece.
- Give writing assignments – One great tip is to dedicate a full time resource to write content on demand during the event. Another opportunity is to give blog writing assignments to people throughout your company, especially from the product, marketing and engineering teams.
- Shoot on-scene video – Video doesn’t have to be fancy. You can carry around a basic camera or use your phone to shoot video and get “man on the street” reactions of the event from attendees. Schedule time with influencers and get them on camera as well.
After the Event – Track lessons learned
- Crowd-source takeaways from other attendees -This is a great way to engage leads immediately after the event, and inform your post-event content. If you want your sales team to increase qualification conversations from booth attendees, have them start with a simple question to capture a key takeaway for a post-event blog post.
- Do an internal postmortem, and make adjustments for your next event – Take a quick look at what aspects of your content strategy did or didn’t work—especially those related to your immediate post-show metrics—and figure out what you might do differently next time.
- Create a templated process for content marketing at future events – After all of this, take what worked and make it a precedent for your future events rather than recreate the wheel each time. Write down the whole process so that it’s easier for you, but also so someone else can take it over… and get it right.
Content is one of the most valuable ways to ensure that your event’s lifespan is not limited to a single day or week. Getting all of your event participants involved in the process will help set the tone going into your event, and will inspire your planning for events to come.
For more insights on developing your event content strategy, download our Event Marketing Playbook: Content Strategy.