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Content Marketing for Events

Creating content for your conference or event website is not an easy thing. I know. I do it every day. Day in, day out, week after week, month after month, year after year… the slog never ends. We type, we search, we look for anything that might allow us to feed the machine……

Ahhhhhhhhh.

When I say it like that, it sounds freaking dreadful, kinda like being locked in a K-Mart for a week. Let’s step back from the abyss for a minute and look at where you are.

This may be how you are feeling about your own content marketing situation. Maybe you have not put anything up on your conference website for a week, a month, or even a year. Maybe the thought of getting started scares the crap out of you. Maybe you are just so sick of putting out sub-par content you just want to scream/cry/jump. Maybe you just want it to be better but don’t know how. Well, you are lucky because it is not as hard as you might think.

I believe that creating content for a conference blog or website should be one of the better parts of the meeting and event planning experience. Creating content can be a fun, educational, and dare I say…. an exciting part of our job description. Remember, content marketing is what you make it. You can make it a prison sentence or you can start making it something that you will actually enjoy. The choice is up to you.

One of the first steps to making your content job fun is understanding that Content Marketing does not need to be some stripped down, sterile, business poo that not even your PR company or mother would want to read. You (and the content) can be interesting. Interesting is remembered, boring is forgotten.

Some of the ideas below might not work for you. That is OK, don’t chuck the rest of the list because one thing does not fit. Adapt as you want. Make it better. Make it more simple. Ramp it up. It is up to you but know this; If you are not happy with the content that you are putting out, it is not going to change unless YOU change it, even the magic internet fairies can’t fix some shit….

Content ideas for any conference or event blog.

The News

The latest headlines must impact your industry. Use it. Find a top story and find a way that it impacts the industry you serve. I laugh every night at 10 PM because our NBC Affiliate has a Chicago Angle for every story, even if it is something taking place in Chile. They will find someone’s brother’s, cousin’s, aunt’s, mother’s best friend twice removed who may have known/seen/screwed/loved the victim and possibly had a connection to Chicagoland twenty years ago and they will put her on the air. Do the same.

Lists

Lists. Did you know that you will get more traction from a list post than from any other? Here at PlannerWire, all of our most trafficked posts start with “The Top 10 Whatever”. This post will soon be on that list…

You just need to make some lists that serve your audience. If you are producing the International Sheep Shearers Convention you can do the “Top 10 Scissors”, “The Top 10 Sheep Blankets”, “5 Ways to Calm Sheep”, or flip it and go “The Top 10 Reasons your Sheep Hate to be Sheared”….. Whatever, just make it interesting, fun, or better yet….make it controversial.

Curate Content

Site A puts up an article about your industry. Write about their article and link to it. Sites A,B,C,D, and E write articles about a subject that is hot and happening in your industry….Write about it and link to them all…. Do a weekly roundup of awesome posts from around the industry. I do one and so does the Busy Event… you should too because it works.

Use your Research

You must do research on something. Share it, don’t Bogart the good stuff. Research costs you money. What happens now? Use it once or twice and lock it away or publish some bloated paper that you average attendee will never read… that is dumb and a waste of money. Take all of that hard work and put it into posts, infographics, charts, and videos.

Social media

Yes. Become a social media troll. Not a comment troll, more like a fisherman trolling to land the big Kahuna. You troll social media for interesting stuff that people are taking about in your industry. If you are already following 1000 Sheep Shearing Professionals, someone must be talking about a new brand of clippers, or a new way to get the wool to market. Take the idea and run with it.

Event Staff

Your event staff is a treasure trove of content just waiting for you to ask. You can talk about new hires, new milestones, new births, and new marriages. You can ask the staff what they would want to hear about and give them credit for the idea. You can write it up, video it, or record it for a podcast. You can even have them draw pictures or sing a song. Showcasing your staff makes your conference human and likable and people want to buy from companies or associations they like. Period.

Attendees and Exhibitors

Your attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors, just like your staff, have a story to tell. Why in the hell are you not helping them do what they want. Catch them on the show floor, on the phone, or in their office. Talk about how much they like your conference or what that big news story means to them. Ask them about their new products, services, or their new CEO. If you are not tapping this resource, you are an idiot. Get their story and tell it… it wants to be set free.

Potential Attendees / Sponsors / Exhibitors

Think of all of the reasons why someone is NOT coming to your conference and talk to them directly through your conference blog. You can do a list post that is “the top 10 benefits of becoming a first time Attendee / Sponsor / Exhibitor”. You might make a video of attendees talking about the first time they attended and their reactions. You could have some old pros talk about why they want newbies to attend. Make your event or conference welcoming to the outsiders and new folk. New blood never hurt. For the potential sponsors and exhibitors, think of their objections and answer them in an FAQ post. Why not…. you were hurting for content, here it is, gift wrapped.

Industry Experts, Influencers, and Speakers

Get the big guns and blow-hards in your industry to sit down and talk for half an hour and then write it up or ask them to do a Google Hangout. If it ends up being a really long video, break it up into 10 minute sessions… now you have a series, people will return to see chapters 2, 3, and 4.

Competitors

Wake up Johnny Sunshine, your competition is poaching your content and your attendees; Now repay the favor because it is dog eat dog out there. You should have your competition in your RSS Reader of choice and you should be aggressively going after their territory. They do the top 5 reasons to attend, you come back next week with a top 10. They write an article about a speaker, you come back with a video of that speaker’s greatest hits…

Do not delude yourself into thinking that all is nice and right in your marketing world. Your competition will bury you if they get the chance so grab your shovel and beat them to it.

Guest Bloggers

Everyone wants their moment in the sun, help them catch some rays. Just ask everyone in your industry if they want to wraite a guest post and you will find that you have superstars among your flock… it could be an attendee, industry expert, speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, or staff member. Find them, promote them, and you will be rewarded.

Your RSS Reader

This one is probably the biggest no brainer on the list but what the hell, if you don’t know, you don’t know. I have my Feedly account that delivers over 200 news and blog sites to me daily… I use it for all of my content marketing…. you should do the same with your RSS reader of choice.

Get Going

Now is the time to start producing better content because content marketing is never, ever, going away… and you might find that you actually enjoy it!

<<UPDATE>>  Here is a good companion piece to this post with the title “More is not a Content Marketing Strategy” and it is over at Jeff Korhan’s site…. now that you have read this post, check out Jeff’s.