Content marketing has grown by leaps and bounds during the past five years.
Unfortunately, too few event organizers fully embrace the long-tail, pull benefits of content marketing. Likewise, many conference professionals have no idea what embracing the long-tail, pull benefits of content marketing even means. It’s a foreign concept to them.
Most marketing and communications teams agree that content marketing serves as the foundation to their conference marketing strategy. Still, very few have made any significant progress in creating or repurposing quality, meaningful content that attracts potential conference customers.
Securing a speaker’s presentation before the event is difficult as it is. Involving those presenters in a pre-conference marketing process to drip out their content is even more challenging.
A Poverty Of Conference Content Marketing Success
So why are so few conferences successfully using content marketing techniques to attract prospects?
The main reasons vary. Two of the most common include a shortage of time and strained resources. A lack of strategy and the absence of leadership support are also common reasons. Competing departmental priorities; a deficiency in content marketing skills; and the inability to provide a conversational and emotional voice are additional barriers to implementing content marketing.
Atomizing Your Conference Content
For most organizers, the annual conference is their profession’s most premium offering.
The conference content presented and co-created is the highest form of content marketing.
Success is not about making more content. It’s about atomizing the content you’re already creating said Convince & Convert President Jay Baer during his 2018 PCMA Convening Leaders session—The 365-Day Event: Using Digital Content to Drive Year-Round Engagement. Your event is the raw material for a year-round content marketing strategy.
One model Baer suggested for atomizing conference content is the 1 x 8 rule: for a keynote, develop eight content pieces that frame your narrative. These may include Slideshare uploads, video highlights, livestreamed interviews, blog posts, tweets, and quotes or graphics from Twitter or Instagram.
Four Phases for Crafting Your Conference Narrative
Understanding your attendee’s journey can provide a helpful framework for creating your conference narrative. Here’s a framework our team developed:
1. Awareness and consideration.
This is where and when you should deliver high relevance to your target market.
Focus on narrowcasting instead of broadcasting. Get specific. Specificity creates relevancy, says Baer.
This content should tackle the biggest challenges of the profession and demonstrate how the conference will address them. Less call to action, more relevancy. Segmentation helps greatly.
2. Optimizing the experience.
This phase helps your participants get the most out of your conference. Content developed should help them design each day they attend your event, build anticipation, plan and prioritize, and, most importantly, grow their network.
3. Capture and amplify.
FOMO (Fear of missing out) is best achieved during and immediately after your conference. Help conference participants help you by providing share-worthy content, images, and videos. Be generous with access to handouts. Don’t be old school and ban photos in session rooms.
4. Memories and learning prompts.
I attended Baer’s session five months ago. You can still see his message by subscribing to premium content and watch the video at pcma.org/premium-content. Or try the take-aways found in this article.
Watching online recordings is high-tech. Low-tech is reading this post and harvesting the low-hanging fruit.
Want additional information on content marketing and your conference? Read Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing Trends to Watch for 2018.
What advice would you give others about successfully implementing a conference content marketing strategy? What additional obstacles stand you your path hindering your ability to use conference content marketing techniques?
Adapted from Dave’s Forward Thinking column in PCMA’s Convene. Reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. ©2018.