How Can Content Marketing Complement My Events?
In planning a business event, content marketing will serve as a crucial step for connecting with the right audience. In this article, we’ll walk you through the various ways to successfully integrate content marketing into your next event.
Events are a proven way for business owners to engage with their target audience or customer on a one-on-one basis. As the world begins to open more and more, businesses need to stay memorable, interact in a genuine way, and integrate their seemingly different marketing strategies. In this article, we’ll discuss the various ways to demonstrate and explore how an experienced content marketing agency can help with this integration of content marketing and event management to create a stellar marketing plan.
What Is Event Marketing?
An event is a public or private occasion that usually happens once or can happen in a series. Event marketing is the marketing effort driving potential customers to a particular occasion. This provides an experience for customers so that they can become better acquainted with a brand, service, or product. It should not be confused with event management, which is a process of planning, organizing, and overseeing events.
In this digital world, in-person connections are still important. According to this report, 95% of marketers believe that events are important marketing tools for companies. Additional statistics from the report include:
- 70% of users become regular customers after an experiential marketing event. (EMI & Mosaic, 2016)
- 84% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product, or service being promoted after the event. (EMI & Mosaic, 2016)
- Facebook has 2 billion active monthly users and utilizing their Facebook Live video will provide a noticeable boost in the feeds of your followers. (Statista, 2017)
- Almost everyone (96%) is using social media event marketing to increase awareness about their events. (Aventri & Little Bird Told Media, 2018)
As you can see, event marketing is an important marketing strategy to promote one’s brand. As part of the digital marketing strategy for your event, content marketing strategy is a key component for success.
Creating Content Ideas for Your Events
When beginning your content creation, the first question to answer is why? Why are we trying to attract attendees to this event? Is it to attract more attendees in general? Is it to create new sales opportunities for exhibitors? Or is it to cross-sell current attendees into other products and services? Understanding your marketing and event goals is the first step in creating content.
Then it is important to come up with a buyer persona for your event. It is likely that you have more than one type of customer that you would like to target, so it is smart to create several personas for your event. Creating personas means understanding the demographics of the clients, then creating a backstory of what this person may or may not be into.
For example, if your event is to launch your new sports drink, you need to understand who the persona that would buy this product is. It is likely going to be someone who would like to drink a sports drink, and who would like to do this? Athletes. However, athletes are a broad category. What age, race, ethnicity, economic background, geographic and athletic specialty are you targeting?
Once you have a persona created for your event—it is time to come up with a story to support your marketing campaign. What are you looking to portray to your target audience? Using the sports drink example, let’s say that you want to sell a sports drink that is all-natural and with every drink bought, $1 is given to organizations that support ending sexual abuse in sports. You have just created a unique selling proposition for your buyer. There are many stories that can be created from this, including creating positive change in the community to encourage young people to keep their minds and body healthy.
Now you need to decide on the type of content you want to share your content and stories for your event. This includes articles, email marketing, ads, blogs, videos, interviews, graphic designs, infographics, podcasts, social media channels, and more. In the scenario we have pictured, the buyer persona likely leans on the younger side, so using story-driven content platforms is ideal, like blogs and short videos on social media like TikTok or Instagram. Using an influencer to share event details will also grab a larger audience.
It is also important to focus on SEO and Search Engine Marketing when creating your content. SEO and content marketing are part of a greater whole of successful digital marketing—driving your business to convert leads to sales. Your content strategy for your event should include SEO best practices including optimization, creating landing pages, and google analytic algorithms best practices.
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Considerations for 2021 and Beyond
Events have been forced to rapidly evolve in the last 18 months. As a result, the content that businesses and marketers create has had to shift appropriately. When creating your content, it is important to keep the following considerations in mind.
Why Should They Attend in Person?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, events were becoming increasingly digital. However, the pandemic made virtual events the norm. And even as things are starting to open up, customers like the option to attend an event in person or virtually. However, creating an event with in-person and virtual options takes a lot of resources. So, it leads to the question, why should people attend an event in person at all?
As this Forbes article explains, there are issues with virtual events: communication or technology issues, lack of spontaneity, and short attention spans. Customers are also more likely to buy a product or use a service if they see the item in person. According to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, B2B events contributed $101 billion dollars to the United States GDP in 2019. The reality is that customers miss in-person events for all these reasons, economic and psychological. There is a connection that cannot be replicated in virtual events. At the end of the day, while the pandemic has made virtual options increasingly important, people still crave in-person interactions with others. However, they will not risk their health unless they believe that the event they attend is worth their time and will support their mental health.
Virtual and Video Components
Prior to March 2020, teleconferencing software like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and GoToMeeting was used typically for work-related meetings or webinars but was not used by the larger population. Remote working became more popularized so this software was built to connect colleagues to each other. However, as the pandemic struck, they had to quickly adapt to be used for family calls, larger meetings, and virtual events. While in-person events are slowly coming back, virtual and video components are not going to go away, and will likely continue to evolve.
Regardless of whether you are having an in-person event or virtual, using apps on mobile devices has become a key factor for an event’s success. For virtual events, it is a necessity to use applications because the event itself is virtual, but for in-person events, people like to be able to connect with other attendees on a large scale, stay up to date on the event details and stay connected after the event ends. Eventbrite has curated a list of relevant apps here. It is also important to stay on top of social media platforms. Popular social media channels like LinkedIn provides event tools, but this is constantly evolving. While the use of hashtags is relevant now, it may not be in the future.
Events are an experiential opportunity for your customer to better learn your product. What if you could provide an experience to your customer that takes them to places they would normally never go? Virtual reality is becoming a popular tool at events to take the event experience to the next level.
When your attendees come to your event, they want to feel special. This is not unique to event or content marketing but is nevertheless true. There are ways to personalize the experience for your attendees, through apps, the virtual reality experience, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Using demographic and personal information gathered from attendees, AI matchmaking can also be used to create personalized recommended networking experiences and product connections. Using valuable content with your viewers via social media posts and relevant marketing channels will make them feel invited and connected to your product, ultimately feeling unique in the process.
Questions to Ask Yourself
As you begin your content marketing efforts, it is good to prepare yourself by asking questions. By answering these questions, you can ensure that you will create relevant content to boost event marketing engagement.
- What are my metrics of success?
- If this is a live event, what social media channels am I using?
- Am I building brand awareness?
- Do I understand who my target audience is?
- Are there opportunities to use a thought leader or speaker?
- Are there partnerships that I can leverage in my content?
- What is my google analytics ranking when doing a google search of my event?
- Am I taking advantage of all content opportunities at my event to market throughout next year?
As with any marketing strategy, quality content is important to event marketing and success. Events provide an opportunity for current and potential clients to get to know your product or service more. As we have stated in this previous article, content marketing provides trustworthiness and ultimately loyalty from your customers. By providing your clients with the space to learn insights and knowledge, solve the problems they may have, and ultimately get their attention, you can build a real tribe around the brand of your event. For further assistance, check out UpCity’s marketplace of the top Content Marketing agencies to get started.