The business of marketing your event has changed from the days when you could just throw money at a big advertising campaign and expect to get reasonable results. Today, marketing an event is about building and nurturing a community around the effective distribution of useful content.
Because of that, event marketers are now having to hire people to create that content or learn to be content creators themselves.
If you have a natural ability or a journalism/communications background, content creation isn't a big deal. You just have to jump in and start doing it. But if you are missing that background, learning some basic writing/journalism guidelines can help.
I began blogging with a background in journalism, but I still had to educate myself about this new form. After 3 years and a few hundred blog posts under my belt, the process has become more or less instinctual. But for those of you just starting out, here are a few guidelines that I use every time I sit down to write a blog post.
Monitor Your Community Where They Engage
It's very important that you know your audience well. Social media allows you to eavesdrop on them and learn what they are interested in and what makes them tick. Do keyword searches on topics related to your event. You can conduct these searches on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in addition to general internet search engines like Google. For instance, when I was trying to find potential clients for my audio visual company, I searched for "event planners" on Twitter and I found the #eventprofs community.
Choose a Topic They Are Talking About
Once you have been monitoring your potential attendees on the platforms they are engaging on, you'll be able to identify topics that are hot. If you have expertise on those topics, you can share them in a blog post. But if you don't, consider taking a journalist's approach by researching the topic and sharing what you learn.
Choose a Format for Your Blog Post
Choosing a format before you start your post can make it easier to proceed. Here are a few that I use on a regular basis.
List Post - like this one. They are usually the most popular type of post I write and they virtually write themselves. They can be a how-to, a list of favorites, a list of tips; you're only limited by your imagination.
Interview. The easiest involves sending a list of five or six questions to someone who is an expert on a topic, via email. They respond and I post the interview in the form of a Q&A. I have also done Skype interviews that I've recorded and posted on my blogs. I try to keep those under five minutes whenever possible.
Picture/Video/Repost. This one is a no-brainer. Post a picture or video that your readers may enjoy. It may be a picture from a previous event, or an interview with a speaker from your upcoming event. Or it might just be a TED talk that you found on YouTube. You can also partial-post an article from another site that you think your readers might enjoy with a link to read the entire post on the original site. (I like to get the author's permission when I do this.)
The biggest hurdle to blogging is just getting started. If you accept that you will make mistakes and that nothing is the end of the world, it will be much easier. In fact, I would say that perfection and the pursuit of it is more of a hindrance in blogging. Your readers will relate to you more easily if you seem human and if you embrace your fallibility, you'll be a much more courageous and capable writer.
(Photo by jmoneyyyyyyy)