Content Marketing: Keeping Your Event Ahead of the Pack

September 01 2015

As social media evolves and mobile phone usage continues to increase, content marketing trends change. What worked three years ago in doesn’t necessarily work today. But the trick to getting noticed through content marketing isn’t about making sure you are keeping up with the pack with your content, but to lead the pack. Having superior content will take your event from being lost in the crowd to leading the pack. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your content marketing is a head above the rest.

 

Professional Custom Photos (But not just photos).

 

Every article you have ever read about content marketing has told you that you need high quality images, yet, we keep repeating this rule over and over. Why? Because images are critical to your success.

As you are planning around which images to use in your content marketing for your event, you need to keep three things in mind:

  1. Make Your Photos Custom and Professional. We include both custom and professional in the use of photos because a low quality image will turn people away from your event. People trust high quality images and if you use them, they will view your event as reputable and real. A quality image says you are hip, modern, and in touch with what people want. People will not question the legitimacy of your event if you show them professional grade photos. However, professional isn’t everything. You can’t just go around using stock photos for content that you publish. If you want to see real results from your content marketing, you need to have custom photos, or photos that are unique to you and your event. This should be a simple step, as your event provides countless photo opportunities. It will be worth the investment of hiring a photographer to capture the highlights of your event so you have content to publish on social media channels for months after your event. Instapage wrote an article about the importance of using professional custom photography on landing pages, and after analyzing thousands of landing pages concluded that the landing pages that get the most clicks have custom and professional images on their page. The same goes for any kind of content marketing you are doing.

  2. Images ≠ Photos. Photos are not always the most engaging image you can share with your potential event attendees. You have a plethora of options to choose from including memes, gifs, video, infographics, charts, graphs, data, graphics, and more. These images can draw different reactions from your audience because they tap into different emotions. One of the most powerful ways to connect with a potential audience is to connect with their emotions and intellect. Providing data may appeal to different types of people than a gif would, yet each is relevant and should be used. There is no wrong answer for which of these mediums to use in your content marketing. The images that you choose for your content marketing should help the viewer understand more about your event and what they can expect to learn, feel, or gain from attending your event. There is also room for images that simply build excitement for your event.

  3. Avoid negativity. How many times did your mother tell you to treat others the way you want to be treated growing up? It’s the golden rule, and it applies to content marketing as well. Don’t ever post anything that could make you appear to be a bully or rude. People get turned off by that behavior and you will only hurt your event brand image. We would even say stay away from anything that could be controversial. News hijacking is a popular way to try and catch the wave of what’s trending, however, you need to make sure that the images you post are smart, creative, and likable. You see it in the news all the time, but people lose jobs and ruin their reputations by making one ill advised comment or post on social media. There is more damage to be done by posting the wrong thing than you could ever make up for in years worth of posting the right thing. Content marketing should be enjoyed by your audience, so post wisely.

 

Let’s take a look at a couple examples of great image use in content marketing:

 

  1. Business2Community added a relevant infographic into their blog post. It engages, is easy to understand, and provides an insight into what they are discussing, all while giving a visual representation of what they are talking about. The infographic adds value to the what they are already discussing in an interesting and informative way.

  2. Custom Photo - This custom photo looks professional and very attractive. Grain & Mortar uses great custom photos in their landing page background to make their website appealing. The images fits into their brand and gives you an understanding of who they are. The same can be said about The Simple Sol, a travel blogger, who uses high quality, bright pictures that fit into her identity as a travel blogger. The same can be done for your event.

     

  3. Oreo won the content marketing game when they took advantage of the power outage at the Super Bowl a couple years ago. They made a happy, funny, and creative take on event that fit into their brand. Oreo's good natured post didn’t make fun of the blackout or people who work at Super Bowl, but turned the experience into a winning piece of content marketing. Oreo's tweet got over 14,000 retweets within a couple hours after the game ended, and all for free. 



    You can easily imagine how this could work for an event as well. The Electric Run, for example, could have used this image and said practially the same thing: "You Can Still Run In The Dark." 

 

Fresh, Timely, and Relevant.

 

You need to deliver your content at the right time and in the right formats. For your event to be successful, you have to take the time with content marketing to understand the needs of your potential event attendees. What is it that they are searching for? Are they looking to get a break from the house this weekend? Are they wanting to make memories with friends? Do they want to be brave and try something new? Your content needs to speak to your attendees. If you create a connection with them, their interest in your event will pique.

Fresh content is the best content. But what does fresh mean? Fresh content implies two things: the frequency of which you post, and originality of your posts. As mentioned above, when discussing professional and custom photos, your content needs to be customized to your event and you need to post that content regularly. As an event maker, the type of content you think about often includes photos and videos, which are both great options that will get your event noticed. But have you ever thought about making a blog, which appeals to audiences in different ways and keeps attendees engaged all year long? Blog posts let you connect with your potential event attendees all year long and keep a connection with them. The topics you write about will keep your content fresh, relevant, and with the magic of the internet, your content can always be timely. 

 

Knowing where content fits in the buying cycle.

 

The content marketing funnel looks something like this: 

 

 

Most event content marketing is done via social media, so it is used to generate website traffic and increase awareness about your event. However, as you are planning out your content, first decide what your goal is behind content marketing. Do you want to find new audiences? Do you want to get the word out about your event? Or do you want people to actually register and purchase tickets in advance?

Once you have decided on your main goal, you can decide what type of content you need to focus on heavily. Maybe you have a long established event, so you don’t have any problem getting people to attend your event, or, maybe your goal is to create loyal event attendees. If that is the case, you could use email newsletters, case studies, customer stories, blogs and more. Take a look at the infographic above to find out what type of content marketing you should do that best fit your goals. We’ll summarize them here for you.

Awareness of Need: Video, infographic, PR, games, surveys, quizzes.

Consideration research: Guides, how tos, white papers, social, ebooks.

Analysis and comparison: Comparison tables, demo, webinars, charts, graphs.

Purchase: Case studies, forum discussions, reviews.

Loyalty: Email, blogs, social.

 

Storytelling.

 

If you want to stay ahead of the curve with your content marketing, you need to become a storyteller. Content marketing is great for posting individual pieces of content, and if your individual posts fit into an overarching storyline, their impact will be more meaningful and help your potential event attendees go down the path that you are creating. They will become involved in what you have to say, waiting for the next chapter of your story to unfold.

Decide what story you are going to tell for your overall brand, and then make sure every piece of content you post falls in line with your brand. You can then create campaigns that you run, which will fall under the same story, but which have their own unique flair. Each campaign tells a different story about your event. Figure out what that story is before you start posting, or else your posts will feel disorganized with no flow to them. While posting unorganized content isn’t necessarily a major problem, sticking to a storyline will keep your content ahead of other events. Just remember to ask yourself before you post if your content fits into your story, or if you should reconsider posting it.

Take a look at Stamped Travel's Instagram and see how they changed their posts to flow and tell more of a story instead of being scattered. 

Before:

After:

Stamped Travel Instagram After

While the before image shows individually appealing images, there is no story behind it, leaving it feeling a bit lacking. The after image shows much more of a story of a travel, and lets you sink into the feel of the trip much more than the original use of Instagram. That was an easy fix for them and something that you can change today with your content marketing.

One other way to improve your storytelling is to maintain the same voice throughout all of your content. Your brand should have a unique voice associated with it that makes sense for your brand. Depending on your event, you may choose to have a fun and hip voice, or a sophisticated and educational voice. Decide what works for your brand and then keep to that voice to attract and reach the right audience. You will see your content marketing reach the correct audience if you use the right voice for your content.


Appeal to Emotion.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

Happiness makes us want to share. As you are posting pictures, videos, or any content (even if it is a blog consisting mostly of words), connect your blog with an emotion. When people view your content, how do you want them to feel? If people feel an emotional connection to a piece of your content they will remember it, be more likely to share it, and have a greater desire to attend your event. One of the benefits of organizing an event is that events cause a lot of emotion and memories. You can use that to your advantage to post pictures, videos, blogs, and other content that capture how people will feel at your event.

Plutchik Wheel

Don’t be afraid to use emotion. Many marketers try to appeal to logic more than emotion, yet people remember how they felt and don’t always remember what they thought. If your content makes people feel a certain way, it will stick with them and they’ll want to feel that way again, in which case, your event is the solution to providing them that feeling and memory. Ecomdash even found that "brands that can forge a strong emotional connection with their audience are able to increase sales, boost customer loyalty and even get away with charging up to 200% more than their competitors." The power of emotion is real, and if you haven't yet strategized how you are going to invoke emotions through your content marketing, it is a great starting point to creating better content. 

People want experiences, not goods.

A study revealed that people would rather spend their money on experiences than material goods because memories get get better over time, even if they were a bad experience to start out with. Take that knowledge and implement it into your content marketing. Make people have enjoyable experiences as they interact with your content for your event. Remember, you already have a head start for your event because people are willing to pay for experiences. Leverage that knowledge and make your event stand out above the rest.