In a previous post on HeadBox, we outlined how event marketing is the most effective marketing channel for companies looking to build their brand, generate revenue, and create and strengthen partnerships. However, bolstering events with content marketing can strengthen your marketing efforts substantially.
What makes content marketing a favourite among marketers?
For starters, it provides a more affordable alternative compared to more traditional strategies in promoting events. It also offers a greater reach, taking into account the number of people who are online daily. Using content marketing allows you to talk to a broader reach, which then multiplies your chances of getting more people to your event.
Another Headbox post provided an example: Honest Tea used the #refreshinglyhonest hashtag to encourage people to contribute content to their experiential campaign. Through this hashtag it enabled the brand to engage with their social media followers and get more potential customers involved in the campaign.
However, content marketing is not just about posting as much content as you can on social media to encourage people to attend your event. A clear, step-by-step content marketing plan should be created and deployed.
The campaign should not simply outline how to maximise one social media platform. Use as many channels as possible to have greater reach. Take the case of the 2016 Brit Music Awards. The Search Engine Journal discussed how multiple social media platforms were utilised. Content that matched the respective user habits of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat were regularly uploaded months before the event to generate support and interest. During the occasion, the second phase of the strategy was deployed, and the same channels were used for specific purposes. YouTube streamed every moment; red carpet shows were featured on Facebook and Instagram; a Brits Live Story was released on Snapchat; and original content was constantly released through the official Brits Vine channel.
Just bear in mind, however, that the more tools used, the higher the costs for an organisation. Companies need to be careful when determining which and how many platforms to use. Furthermore, it can be tricky to come up with unique content per channel, although the payoff is worth it. Many users are engaged in two or more of these channels, so tailoring your content for each one can go further into drawing more interest. In other words, you need to invest in the platforms and their audiences. Content marketing experts Ayima suggest that the goal of any marketing strategy should be to guarantee companies a return on investment (ROI) from their efforts. The efforts and resources of the organisers gave the official Brits Vine channel over 10 million views, while the official Facebook page got 81% more likes.
Another good example is the action plan used to gather financial professionals for an event at the British Museum. The Guardian shared details on how it was achieved, despite multiple challenges. The steps included having to simplify technical financial information in terms that could be easily understood. The organisers also presented the data, facts, and figures in an entertaining, yet informative, way. Pre-planning alone took six months.
Their social media tactics included mentions of the event’s meta tag, heavy use of Twitter, and engaging influencers to participate in the digital campaign. These efforts resulted in 300 attendees to the event, 600 Twitter contributors, and a social media reach of nearly 2.5 million.
The event, as well as the social media campaign, was not only a success in terms of numbers and engagement. It also proved that firms – even those that belong to traditional industries – can tap into modern marketing tools and strategies to generate high interest.
The Trade Show News Network provides some tips on how to develop a content marketing strategy to support event marketing initiatives. They recommended thinking of the event as a product in itself. As the marketer, what kind of content can you produce to make people interested in your event? If you’re planning to hold a concert, releasing teasers about the headline acts can help. On the other hand, you can generate interest for a conference by providing the profiles of the speakers for the event.
All things considered, the role of content marketing is not just limited to generating hype for the event to entice people to join. It can also be used during the event itself to stimulate engagement among your attendees and increase their affinity to your brand. For instance, encouraging them to continue using the event hashtag during the big day creates a sense of community and makes them feel directly involved in the event. You may also set up polls or ask them to send questions and/or comments via social media channels. Lastly, live streaming can entice non-attendees to tune in.
Use the strategies we recommended on ‘Great Social Media Ideas for Events’ if you are looking for marketing tactics that you can employ before, during, or after the event.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Drucker is an SEO specialist with a background in public relations and events management. While he may have put the PR world behind him in favour of digital marketing, he occasionally takes hosting stints.