However elaborate and extravagant, your event is no different from one of those silly inventions for pet owners (lion mains for cats, everyone?) or a new line of, say, face moisturizers. It’s a product like everything else, and like everything else, it must be marketed and sold using contemporary channels.
The biggest mistake most event professionals make is asking all the wrong questions while planning a marketing campaign. Perhaps you too have been asking yourself how, when, and where. If you want to create a pre-event hype with content marketing without breaking the bank, do ask yourself – why.
It will help you define your goal and understand how to approach it.
And then, why will make your event seem irresistible.
The answer you’ll eventually come up with will most probably be to attract more attendees. Whether your event is supposed to raise an important question, to contribute to society, or simply to make you a profit, you’ll need a room crowded with people who are interested in what you’re trying to convey.
At this phase, you can move from why to who.
Who do you need to invite, and who is most likely to show up?
Think about these people in average terms. If you make an intersection between their individual needs, wants, customer behaviors and identities, you’ll come with a profile known as an ideal buyer persona. This profile will showcase, in rough points, who your attendees are and how to address them.
An ideal buyer persona is a very important concept in this type of marketing, as it allows you to tailor your content based on the specific requirements of the person you want to reach. If the person in case is a devil-may-care Millennial, you’ll use video; if you’re dealing with a manager, you’ll target LinkedIn.
What you learn about your ideal buyer persona will tell you exactly what your content strategy will need to revolve around. The first rule of content marketing is that fluff fails, which means that what you’re going to create must not only be relevant to your message, but also meaningful and valuable.
Think of it as a story in which your event is a prevailing theme.
Note that a prevailing theme of the story is not the same as the main character. Just as a theme needs not to be explicit, your event should not be straightforwardly promoted either. Instead of creating an ad for the event, you should create content that will spark interest in what the event is really about.
If you’ll be promoting a new eLearning tool, for example, you can create detailed guides on how to boost student productivity, listicles with tips for both students and professors, or how-to videos that give advice on studying in the digital learning environment. Make your content relevant and helpful.
In order to choose the right content type, you must answer two questions:
For instance, eLearning topics could be presented in pretty much all content types – written articles, videos, eBooks, or expert interviews and podcasts. But what’s the easiest way to consume them? Most diligent students would probably prefer video over text, as it would take up less of their studying time.
Video trumps text when it comes to complex subject matters too, because it allows you to explain key points with visual cues. Articles and eBooks, on the other hand, are typically reserved for subject matters that require longer elaboration, even though they can be covered just as well in video series.
The same questions apply for choosing a publishing platform for your pre-event content, through social media, AdWords campaigns, blog guest posts, and influencer marketing are all foolproof methods for achieving the goal you’ve set. Here’s how to approach each of them, and when some may serve better.
With everyone being on social media these days, chances are that you’ll be able to reach any buyer persona through this online channel. Of course, this means that you’ll need to figure out which social media network your attendees are frequently using and align your content and strategy accordingly.
As an online advertising service developed by Google, AdWords allows you to publish your content directly in the world’s most influential browser’s SERPs. It is a paid service, however, which means that you need to do the math and find out what will cost you less – organic or paid content marketing.
Presuming you already have a blog (if not, learn how to create one), you can start creating content for both your own and somebody else’s online page. When you are a guest contributor, you can publish content on others’ blogs, link it back to your page, and drive more traffic to your event website.
Influencer marketing is a super powerful technique that leverages recognizable names in the industry for your own advertising goals. Find an online influencer who is followed by your ideal buyer personas and make an agreement with them to recommend your brand. You’ll be expected to return a favor.
There are a couple of content marketing metrics you should stay on top of in order to see whether or not your campaign is making any difference. In case it’s not, these metrics will also provide you with an insight into what isn’t working and what should be improved. Here’s what to track before the event:
With both your event and the content you’re promoting it with being reflections of your brand, you need to pay attention to consistency as well. Whatever content type and publishing channel you’re using, make sure to highlight them with a custom-designed logo and your brand’s mission statement.
Marco Mijatovic is a blogger and one of the guys behind FirstSiteGuide. Make sure to check out his other work, including in-depth guides and posts that can help you run, start, and grow your online presence.