Online presence may be the best reason to employ a content marketing strategy for your event. The reality of the digital age can render event marketers without one, nearly invisible.
Yet the more you look at it, the advantages begin to compound. Content marketing offers more opportunities for exposure that is less objectionable than traditional methods and it is uniquely designed to reach, charm and engage today’s attendees.
Here are 11 more reasons content marketing makes sense for events today:
1. It’s Specifically Designed for the Digital Age
While versions of it have been around for ages, today’s content marketing takes advantage of search engine algorithms that favor fresh, quality online content. You might visualize it as a wheel: the hub representing fresh quality content posted at least weekly on a website blog and the spokes, the supporting promotion and community building you employ on social networks where your potential attendees hang out .
2. It Improves SEO for Event Websites
In 2013 your event needs to be found online. But if you appear on the second or third page of online search results, your chances of that happening are greatly reduced. Content marketing is specifically designed to take advantage of proven search engine optimization tactics. So it greatly improves your website’s chances of appearing near the top of search results lists.
3. It Builds Community
Whether yours is association-related or not, events are often very much about strengthening ties between those who attend them. In other words, building community. A core element of effective content marketing is working to build ties with individuals online throughout the year. As you engage on the various social media platforms where your potential attendees spend time, you have the opportunity to converse with them, help them and expose them to useful information. You build relationships that result in more registrations.
4. Events Already Generate the Necessary Content
Meetings, conferences and events are prolific producers of content; be it pictures, session videos, written summaries or social media posts by attendees sharing their own experiences. At a time when “content is king” it is near tragic to let it all go unused.
5. It Spreads the Joy of Spreading Joy
One of the most attractive attributes of social media is that it easily allows people to share what they like and what they are doing with their friends. This can be a great boon to event marketers, as attendees are often eager to share what they are doing at your event. The more you facilitate their ability to do this through event apps, mobile access and other methods, the more powerful your marketing becomes.
6. Word of Mouth Works Best
When your attendees use social media to share about attending your event, or to recommend it to their friends, you benefit from the power of word of mouth. And it’s well known that word of mouth recommendations are more compelling than traditional marketing or advertising.
7. It Allows You to Give Your Audience What it Wants
Do they want an e-book filled results of your industry study? A video interview of your keynote speaker? A Twitter chat after the event to discuss their takeaways? Content marketing allows you to give your event community members what they want, when, where and how they want it. And if you don’t think this is important, check out the Kevin Spacey speech regarding Netflix that went viral a few weeks ago on the internet.
8. It Facilitates Feedback & Crowd Sourcing
Social media opens a two way dialog between you and your attendees before, during and after your event. This allows you to gain valuable feedback anytime. Such feedback can help make you aware of problems as well as preferences in a timely manner. It can also allow you to get useful ideas for session topics and speakers. Yes, it can expose your warts to the public at large. But it also gives you a stage on which to demonstrate your stellar customer relation skills. Such interactions have the potential to gain you many loyal fans.
9. It Builds Your Reputation for Thought Leadership
When you use content marketing to build your event website as an information resource for those interested in your event topic, you build what is known in the online world as “thought leadership.” This lends your event great credibility and serves to attract those who are the most likely candidates for event registrations.
10. It Facilitates Improved Networking at Conferences
When you create an event hashtag for your attendees, you provide them with a powerful tool that can greatly enhance their onsite networking. They can use the hashtag to post invitations to informal meet-ups or individual meetings without having to go to the trouble and privacy issues of locating and using phone numbers. In addition, use of your hashtag serves to spread your messages to wider audiences.
11. The Hard-Sell is Dead
The hard sell has gone the way of the “wet head” of the 50’s. It’s dead. Today’s public demands value not only in the events it chooses to attend, but in the marketing created to entice it. Content marketing provides value at no cost and over time, serves to build real relationships with your audience. It’s voluntary and symbiotic and well suited to a public that has grown bone-tired of marketing manipulation.
Written by Jenise Fryatt