How events companies can grow through ‘good content’

 

At the Confex conference in London we spoke about how events companies can actually grow engagement and visitor numbers by deploying a smart content marketing campaign. The great thing about event companies is that they already produce amazing content. The challenge, however, is how to effectively capture and harness the power of it – particularly when many events organisers (quite understandably)  put most of their efforts into sales and have little resources for content.

So, here are some simple tips on how to fix this problem:

1. Create a content platform

Yes, your content has to live somewhere, so create a section on your website or indeed a completely new website where you curate and publish all your lovely content. Why is this important? Because you need to have a place where you send people to. It doesn’t necessarily have to become a destination site for the industry you’re targeting (although it can), but you want to invite people into your playground where you can furnish the place with lots of call-to-actions.

2. Build a 12-month content plan

It’s really important to have a consistent editorial plan for the entire year. By creating useful content on a regular basis you are driving valuable traffic to your site, you are creating trust and authority and you are re-inforcing your core brand messages. The latter is really important. Before planning your content, decide what the event is about, what makes it different to other similar events. Settle on 3-5 core messages and reiterate them through quality content.

Results speak for themselves: reporting on your own event is excellent PR not only on the show floor, but globally. And a good content marketin campaign encourages early sign-ups and increases visitor numbers.

Stats from our latest project: reporting on your own event is excellent PR not only on the show floor, but globally. And a good content marketing campaign encourages early sign-ups and increases visitor numbers.

3. Involve your speakers in content creation

Spend effort in encouraging your speakers to create content via guest blogs ahead of the event or by interviewing them or polling them. These are the thought leaders everybody wants to listen to, so give them some airtime before and during the event. We always schedule interviews with speakers during the event and post them on a live blog. Before the event you want them to talk about their ideas – this is great PR, but delivered in an editorial voice.

4. Implement a smart amplification tactic

There is tons of content out there, so you need to be smart about how you amplify your content. Yes, use SEO and most of event organisers have a pretty good direct marketing database, so email is going to be a really powerful tool. But you’re only going to reach people that already know about you. Also invest in using speakers and key social influencers in amplifying your content. How do you do this? Quite simply by creating high quality features and interviews with them and let them distribute it to their followers.

5. Make it easy to share content

This is simple, but not everybody gets it right. Make sure your wifi is working and everybody knows the password. Ask speakers to display their Twitter handle and the conference hashtag at the beginning of their presentation. Maybe you should think about creating a dedicated space for bloggers with high-speed internet connection and nice coffee.

6. Take charge of reporting on your own event

The event itself is a great opportunity for you to leverage amazing content to market your brand – not only on the show floor, but globally! Our latest live blog at ICE attracted 50% of visitors and 63% of readers came in from outside the event. These are next year’s visitors and these are also people that help you amplify your content even further. When it comes to live blogging we prefer a mixture of fun things – often curated from social media – and serious reporting on the main panels and discussions.

Ice live blogVideo is also an important format, but it has to be succinct and meaningful. Our recent research with our partner Wochit has shown that the ideal length is 42 seconds(!). Nobody wants to watch through lengthy videos of people talking about themselves. Get an interviewer to keep it short and snazzy.

After the show – instead of just putting slideshow online – create some slideshow mashups of the main threads and publish them on slideshare plus on your own website. Just be smart and always keep in mind that everything you produce should be useful and relevant.