As most event planners know, the ability to build momentum is a crucial factor in any event’s success. Events, conventions, trade shows or conferences, they all begin well before the opening session, so generating anticipation requires a coordinated marketing effort over months or even years. Content marketing has emerged as a strategic tool to build excitement around events. Still, event planners don’t always have the time or the know-how to develop a content marketing campaign and thus may end up missing out on the benefits of this marketing strategy. In this post, you can learn why pre-event content marketing works and find tips on how to implement it.
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves the creation of materials that provide information and/or entertainment to a targeted audience. This content can include anything from e-papers to video to blog posts to infographics and including social media, podcasts, etc.
Content marketing is different from advertising or traditional marketing in that it focuses on value. Offering free, relevant, and useful information makes a positive impression on the audience and can influence the decisions, as confirmed by recent statistics: more than 70% of marketers say content marketing has increased engagement and leads. Moreover, content marketing involves lower costs than traditional advertising but has better conversion rates.
This strategy suits the events industry, which is becoming people and experience-centric increasingly. And since delivering value is also the key concept here, pre-event marketing is a natural match that can increase your chances of reaching your target audience. For instance, you can reach potential attendees who don’t know about the event. A content marketing strategy can position your event online, making it easy to find in search engines or social media feeds. Remember that a staggering 96% of event attendees do an online search before attending an event, so this is a golden opportunity to present your event as something that cannot be missed – FOMO itself can be a powerful took motivating people to attend!
Pre-conference content marketing can also reach those who have already registered and build excitement in the lead up to the conference or event. Some attend because their employees send them and not necessarily because they have a strong desire to be there. But if they see the value and relevance of the business event, they’re more likely to spread the word, and word of mouth is powerful marketing. Lastly, content marketing can reach those who are undecided, and a timely piece of content marketing may be just what moves them to take action.
Pre-Event Content Marketing Ideas
Curiosity is an important motivator, and teaser campaigns keep the audience guessing and keep your event top of mind. Here it’s essential to create anticipation without creating unrealistic expectations, so always get the input from a professional with experience in the marketing world applied to events.
Content marketing and social media marketing go hand in hand. You should create a calendar of posts leading up to the event in a variety of formats. Visual content and in particular videos are a must, as new research shows that people remember visual content up to 6 times more than written content. Short-format sneak peek or behind-the-scenes videos do particularly well and reveal a more personal or candid side of the organiser. The videos can feature mini-interviews with keynote speakers too – don’t forget that a well-known speaker is THE reason why many people attend a live event.
Posts promoting your event shouldn’t read like a monologue but should be all about interaction with the audience. Ask questions, request feedback, run polls (there’s a dedicated feature on Instagram Stories) – in short, keep the conversation going. You can also create a LinkedIn group, which works well to promote conferences and other professional events and allow speakers and attendees to interact before the event.
Pre-event content marketing lends itself well to gamification, which can boost engagement since it’s proven to tap into psychological mechanisms like motivation, self-confidence, and purpose. You can achieve this by encouraging potential attendees to share event hashtags and offer them a fitting reward for inviting others to register for the event or conference.
In any case, it’s essential to create a branded and coherent pre-conference content marketing strategy that specifically addresses the interests and needs of your audience. Remember that the scope of those needs and interest may go beyond the actual event, so don’t forget to offer value by publishing content with useful information about the destination, what to do near the venue, transportation tips, etc.
Pre-event content marketing can generate awareness, build loyalty, drive up attendance, and ultimately boost ROI. Inbound marketing one of the most valuable marketing strategies for conference and event planners wanting to reach and engage as broad an audience as possible. If you’d like to learn how a tailor-made pre-event strategy can benefit you, get in touch today. As an expert creating content that generates pre-event hype, I’ll be happy to explore effective content creation ideas for your conference or event.