Event marketing is a great way to generate both publicity and sales leads. Whether it’s your own event or an industry conference or trade show, generating a buzz around it helps get people through the gate and interested enough to stick around. But with the dozens of events happening at any given time, how do you make your event stand out in their minds and appear interesting enough to attend?
That’s where content marketing comes in. Events provide great fodder for content, as we can see from research results from the Content Marketing Institute that show 69 percent of B2B marketers use events as a content marketing tactic. It works both ways, however, and strong content can actually drive event attendance—and revenue—in return.
An Invitation Is Not Enough
Sending out an invitation isn’t going to bring feet through the door. It’s a great place to start and certainly generates awareness about the event, but only real die-hards are going to register and potentially pay an entrance fee based on an invitation. Use email marketing to connect with your database by all means, but use content marketing to build your brand and drive engagement before, during and after the event.
Get the Conversation Going
Blend the online and offline components of your event. For one thing, events are one of the most popular types of content marketing on Facebook, and the second most popular on Twitter. Give your event a prominent place online by:
- Writing blog posts about it
- Running polls and surveys to get input before the event
- Offering contests and activities that begin online and continue at the event and showcasing the winners afterwards
- Creating Twitter hashtags and offering prizes for the highest number of tweets
- Encouraging user-generated content about the event, such as inviting attendees to post their own photos or opinions by offering a prize
At the same time, you need to give your online presence visibility at the actual event. Have a staffer or volunteer attend the event for the purpose of tweeting and posting live throughout. Display a feed from your social media where attendees can see it. Add your website and social media URLs to programs and giveaways. And make sure everything is optimized for search using your primary keywords.
SEO Your Event Listings
It’s easy to overlook this aspect of content marketing, but in fact it’s a no-brainer. You’re so busy trying to fit the details into the allowable listing word count and follow all the other rules you forget to include your keywords. The result is that the only people who will find the online listing are a) those who look at the directory, and b) those who are searching for the event by name. You preaching to the choir, in other words.
Use these tips to make sure your event pops up front and center in any search on your keyword:
- Include the keyword in the heading if possible
- Use it in the first 20 percent of the body text; assuming you get at least 40 words, that means in the first 10.
- Don’t neglect the opportunity to add it as a tag, if possible. (Yes, there are still instances of people publishing whole blog posts without adding meta tags!)
Using content marketing to drive your event promotion will help you rank higher for keywords, provide quality material for your—or your client’s—website and delivers improved attendance at the event.