Content marketing is now established as the premier digital tool in the marketing mix toolbox. For event professionals, it’s about creating, curating and distributing content online, to change or enhance consumer behaviour, pre-, during or post-event.
A recent study by global PR agency Edelman showed that nearly 90 per cent of global online consumers want brands to share content. The trend toward building and engaging an audience through creating or repurposing content is apparent, so it comes as no surprise that event professionals need to understand the underpinnings of content marketing and how it can enhance an event or conference.
Richard Hingley, Creative Director at the DRP Group, sees content marketing as part of the overall conference planning lifecycle. “There is a real desire by delegates to know more before they arrive at an event. Knowing it’s going to be a worthwhile experience for them begins with this engagement process”.
Content as editorial
But, what is content? Simply it is an amalgam of editorial – in the form of text, photos, video and other digital media – with you, as an event professional, as the editor.
As an editor you need a strategy, just as magazines or newspapers need an editorial policy. Colja Dams, MD of live marketing agency Vok Dams, proposes the ‘Moments of Success’ framework to plan for live events. This framework can be adapted and used as a tool within which to locate a successful content strategy.
Firstly relevance needs to be considered, and how the content suits the needs of an audience. Understanding those needs and creating content based on them is paramount to a successful strategy.
Second, content needs to be authentic. It needs to demonstrate the characteristics and attributes associated with the event. For example, sharing (repurposing) an article written by an expert via social media, which has relevance to the information that will be presented at a conference will underpin this moment of success.
By creating relevant and authentic content, the event professional will evoke an emotion.
As the content editor, event professionals must ensure that they create positive emotions such as curiosity, desire, passion and satisfaction. These positive emotions lead to the motivation to consume, but the content must also convey value in terms of the benefit of attending an event.
But what about the content strategy itself? Relevant topic strands that are authentic, create emotion and add value to the content experience need to be honed down. Examples, such as education, fun, entertainment and news are common strands mobilised by content curators.
Next to consider are the resources available to create the content within those topic areas.
Repurposing content is a way of keeping costs low while providing visibility. However, creating original content places the content provider into the position of ‘an agent of behavioural change’.
“Consider what you want the audience to feel and do as a result of this event, then build your content from there,” says Kevin Jackson, VP Sales and Marketing at George P Johnson.
Original content in the form of articles, blog posts, expert opinions, research findings and visually rich mediums, such as photographs and video, are examples of content that can be relevant, authentic, emotive and create value for your audience. But Jackson advises: “You have to create content that encourages sharing and amplification”. This will ensure greater visibility and the success of an event and the message the event is tasked to convey.
James Morgan, PhD, is Principal Consultant at: jamesmorganassociates.com
This was first published in the March issue of CN. Any comments? Email email@example.com