No matter which new marketing tactics arrive on the scene, events will remain a go-to strategy—and budget item—next year. The good news is that the advancement of content marketing can give your events—online and in-person—a real boost.
Specifically, there are three ways content can be a shot in the arm for events:
- By driving registration and attendance,
- By sparking engagement and interaction,
- And by producing leads and sales opportunities.
To experience these benefits, you need a solid pre-plan that includes high-level strategy and in-the-weeds details. Yeah, just like planning an event.
There are five steps for putting your content strategy for events in place.
1. Use a Checklist Approach
One thing I’ve learned from event marketers: speak softly and carry a big list.
Pulling together a top-notch event usually lives or dies by actually listing off every need or task, and carefully checking them off. Content is no different.
As you devise the content you’re going to develop around an event, use actual checklists so every detail, large and small, is visible. This ensures nothing falls by the wayside.
2. Treat Content (and Events) Like Campaigns
Consider your upcoming campaigns—there’s almost always a beginning, middle, and end.
The same is true for content and events. Think of the content that supports your events in three categories: before, during, and after.
The content distributed before an event is designed to drive attendance. Whatever you create should be valuable, whether the person shows up for the event or not. But be sure the content is related to the theme of your event, and include clear calls-to-action to the registration or event page.
Content scheduled for during an event is designed to give attendees a useful, educational experience. This content should drive awareness and engagement. In other words, it gets people talking with you on social channels, and ultimately, in person.
Finally, post-event content is all about delivering leads and opportunities. This includes the valuable emails and theme-related assets that will entice attendees to share more info and time with you.
3. Gather Your People
Putting on an event and planning content can feel like herding cats.
Many different people are involved in getting your content out there, and they fall into two main categories: collaborators and approvers. Collaborators are the internal or external people who will help make stuff (i.e. writers, editors, freelancers, agencies, etc.). Approvers are the people who need to sign off on your content (i.e. executives, lawyers, partners, etc.).
The important thing is to gather all these people in one place (most likely online) where they can see your checklist, you can assign tasks, and everyone can keep track of the project’s progress.
4. Create Workflows
Once you have your people and checklist in one place, set up workflows to organize deadlines, tasks, and approvals.
The idea is to establish a standard workflow that is also customizable. This way you’re not reinventing the wheel for every piece of content or campaign, and your team can check off tasks when completed and notify the next responsible party.
5. Track What Works (and What Doesn’t)
Here’s an often neglected step. When the event wraps up, analyze the results of your campaign.
How many people registered for the event after seeing a blog post? How many people viewed or shared the event presentations on SlideShare? What kind of engagement did you get on the event hashtag? What kind of opportunities were sourced back to the event and its content?
Answer these questions with data, and use it to duplicate success and dump the stuff that didn’t work.
Content marketing can boost any event. But, just like a campaign, it comes down to creativity and planning. Follow these steps and you’ll have a template that works for before, during, and after your next event.