Ben Cole explains how to create event content to engage audiences
Whatever your event it is crucial to create great experiences for your audiences that are engaging, memorable and inspiring. But how do you attract people to come to the event, and how do you go about creating a powerful experience that captivates the audience and remains with them long afterwards?
Essentially, you need to develop great content for your event that relates to and connects with the audience. To do this, there are three key factors you need to consider; 1) how to turn your event into an experience, 2) having the right mindset when planning and event, and 3) following the rules of engagement.
The power of experience
Everyone enjoys great experiences, whether at a corporate event or in their private lives as a consumer. Whatever great experiences we have, they can trigger light bulb moments that remain with us and influence the way we think and feel in the future.
Making events memorable is fundamental if we want to attract an audience to attend an event, to keep them engaged during the event and to ensure they remain motivated about the product, brand or key message afterwards. We have to transform events into experiences!
To do this we need to think about how people consume information, whether it is through real, live experiences or the written word. We can then develop a story for our audience and bring it to life to create empathy among the delegates.
But, whatever the story, it needs to be authentic and it needs to provide real value for the attendees, so they feel they have been a part of the experience and that it is their time well spent.
‘What’ versus ‘how’
The approach to planning a successful and engaging event is based on having the right mindset from the very start of the process.
The ‘how’ part of event planning, such as deciding on the venue, the catering, and the running order for the day, is so often the start point.
However by focusing on ‘what’ the purpose is for bringing people together at an event, such as the brand and the messaging, you are much more likely to produce a consistent and compelling experience that is tailored to the audience.
Whatever the event it is essential that the audience understands the message or they may not turn up. If those that do attend can’t engage with the content, they won’t connect with the message or remember the key points, and they won’t become advocates for your brand or product.
Of course it is important to think about ‘how’ you will organise the logistics of any event, but if you’ve got to get the ‘what’ bit right first.
The rules of engagement
In order to engage with an audience you need to know who they are, what they do and what experiences would relate to them. It is only once you know this that you can develop ways to attract them to attend the event and effectively engage with them throughout the experience.
Our four rules of engagement are:
1. Great events are not about selling
They take a question or challenge that is relevant to an industry, and invite an audience to engage with it.
2. Recognise the importance of personal value
Make sure delegates understand what they would gain from attending the event.
3. Build a community
Create opportunities for attendees to engage with your brand, your content and each other before the event.
4. Content is still king
Ensure the content connects with the audience or it won’t be memorable.
When these three factors are brought together, a good event becomes a great experience – intelligent, engaging and memorable – and creates real advocacy for your brand
Ben Cole is MD of Inspired