Briefing Media: content marketing is now part of the overall experience

Tim Headley

Tim Headley, Head of Marketing at Briefing Media

Events companies now understand the important role content plays in their marketing activities. We spoke to Tim Headley, Head of Marketing at Briefing Media, about why content marketing has become such and important tool for event marketers. It’s all about “giving your audience what they want” according to Tim. Where hard sales messages fail, quality content can create real engagement. Read the full interview here:

Events companies have always used content. What’s different when we talk about content marketing today?
I think a lot of event companies are now waking up to the fact that their customers demand relevant content. Content marketing is now part of providing an overall experience and value to your audience. On the flipside a lot of companies are just not set up to produce content all year round or even to the run-up to the event. I used to work at IPQC and there we had a content production team around 5 years ago. They understood very early how important it was to produce engaging content in event marketing. The main reason we were able to grow so quickly at Briefing Media was through quality content. One of the crucial factors in making it a success is to get your editorial staff on board and align editorial and marketing messages.

Is there a conflict between editorial standards and event marketing?
It shouldn’t be a conflict. It all comes down to your approach of staging an event. Any event should be a good event. It should address the main issues and challenges within the industry. So really your editorial team should be pretty aligned with the themes of your event. I think it’s all about getting the teams to work together. The editorial team also profits from the event by having access to an impressive line-up of speakers. It really is a win-win situation if you get the approach right.

So are events companies now becoming publishers?
Yes, in a way they do. I don’t think their primary business will ever become publishing, but they need to understand the important role content plays in supporting their event. You just have to look at the engagement rates you get from a traditional sales email, like speaker announcements or early bird rates promotion. Events companies need to give their audience what they want. And when they start producing interesting and relevant content, people start to listen and engage more. It’s as simple as that. In our experience, engagement rates are three to four times higher when you follow this approach. It just adds up. If you want people to buy your product you have to showcase what you’re selling and there is no better way than doing this than with content like speaker interviews or videos. It’s about giving your audience a flavour of what the event is going to be like.

All year round engagement seems to be a new trend in the events industry. How important do you think it is to keep the conversation going throughout the year?
I’m going to be a bit controversial and say that you actually don’t need to engage your audience all year round. I think it can become quite confusing when your customers keep getting messages that are not in any way focused on the actual event. It’s all about building your content strategy around the event, which means you really want to talk a lot to them in the run-up when you have a lot of important things to say. I’m talking purely from a B2B perspective here, by the way. I just don’t believe you need to talk to your audience all the time.

This interview was conducted as part of a series for the Event Marketing Summit.