How to Plan Marketing Content Around Event Promotion
January 12, 2017 | Kaleigh Moore
All too often, marketers under-plan their marketing content for events. They promote what’s coming beforehand, but then they forget to continue the process during, and after the event. Or some combination of the above.
Often, this oversight can result in missed opportunities to educate, engage, and excite attendees and new leads.
This is a problem: By allowing the marketing content to stop at one of these steps, momentum that’s built up suddenly comes to a screeching halt – and the conversation that was started abruptly ends.
So how can you keep the content flowing before, during, and after your event?
In this post, we’ll look at some different types of marketing content you can craft to drive event engagement in three different stages: pre-event, mid-event, and post-event. Plus we’ll show examples of each phase.
Pre-event Marketing Content
Before the event, the goal of your promotion content should be to hook your audience with interesting, engaging material that connects their attendance to your booth or talk.
Why? Because this helps standout from the crowd, and usually, it’s a big crowd. Plus, you build a sense of anticipation and excitement for the attendee (or prospective attendee.)
Whether it’s a blog post promoting sessions to look forward, an email that gives registrants a breakdown of key event highlights, or an interactive piece of content that provides personalized results related to your event based on individual responses, these pre-event efforts can help get people prepared and excited about attending.
There are a variety of formats to go with. It could be in the form of a blog post promoting sessions to look forward, an invitation email to specific talks or parties, or an interactive guide that provides personalized results for key event highlights. These pre-event efforts get your brand in people’s minds, and give more incentive to make time for you.
When creating these materials, consider the following questions:
- What important details would my audience want to know before the event?
- What are some exciting/interesting elements I can promote to build excitement?
- Are there speakers or specific sessions to highlight that fit my product solution?
- What conversation could I begin with my audience to stay top of mind?
To get a better idea of what this looks like in action, let’s take a look at some current examples of pre-event content.
Examples of Pre-event Marketing Content
In this example from Marketo, we can see how they’ve created an informative blog post that summarizes a three-step process to get prepared for one of their events. This helps effectively prepare attendees and builds excitement about what’s to come.
And even though this is content by Marketo for a Marketo event, the same approach can be done from a booth presence, or a session speaker. You don’t have to host the event to promote it.
In another example of pre-event blog content from BAO, we can see how an event is being promoted by summarizing three main highlights to come. Within the post, readers get a better understanding of the value of attending is, while adding to the sense of anticipation.
DemandBase created an interesting piece of pre-event interactive content by creating an engaging experience around the location of the upcoming event.
This assessment has two benefits:
- It allows participants to learn more about the event location and social options
- And, on the back end, provides in-depth attendee insights for the event planners
Mid-event Marketing Content
During the event, attendees are deluged with elevator pitches, short demos, keynote speakers, and a multitude of sessions. But that doesn’t mean they are not available and open for even more engagement.
Participation should be the central focus of mid-event content. At this past year’s Inbound, HubSpot had a group of iPads and monitors preloaded with a “test your inbound knowledge” style quiz. The quiz was timed and had a jeopardy-like format. This area was continuously high-traffic because attendees could compete against themselves or their colleagues and win prizes.
Not dissimilar to just giving away free swag, but HubSpot put a competitive twist to it that got people involved.
In between in-person booth activities, attendees are still checking their phones, checking their emails. So, send them relevant updates. Something as simple as a “What Was Your Favorite Part of Friday” survey will get high opens and clicks because attendees will want to voice their opinion, but also see what they may have missed out on. And they’ll see your company name.
Mid-event content can come in alternative formats:
Live posting: By sharing real-time activity at the event, you can grab the attention of attendees and even create an engaging experience for those who can’t be there.
Giveaways: Everyone loves the chance to win something (especially if it’s free!). By creating giveaways and quick games, you can drive participation and booth traffic
Personalized updates: With the help of interactive content, you can connect with many attendees all at once, steering their attention towards you
Interested in seeing what this looks like when executed? Here are some examples from events that nailed the “during” portion of content marketing for events.
Examples of Live Event Marketing Content
An interactive assessment like this one from Oracle demonstrates how event attendees can be informed of upcoming highlights and get customized session recommendations based on the user’s input. Delivering personalized results, as seen here, can help the participant get the most out of the event and points out highlights that are extremely relevant to the individual.
In this example of ‘during’ content, you can see how we here at SnapApp shared live updates from an event to keep attendees who missed this particular session updated on the action. In a way, this allows event attendees to be in two places at once.
Post-event Marketing content
After the event wraps up, your marketing should encourage an ongoing conversation with attendees. This is the time to continue building relationships, as you’ve sparked a conversation and made a lot of new connections – keep it going.
Why? Because now you have a foot in the door with some possibly, very qualified leads. Keeping the dialogue open means you can keep your momentum moving forward.
You can accomplish this by:
- Asking for feedback. Reach out and see what people liked. They’ll be happy to share, especially if the first follow up content isn’t in-your-face-sales.
- Relevant follow-up content. If you know attendees responded to something specific (remember that survey we suggested?), send them content that is somewhat in line with that, either thematically or subject-wise. Piggy back off big keynote subjects.
- Recapping the successes. Bookend the experience by putting together a recap that reminds the reader of all of the amazing, insightful information that was delivered during the event.
Again, let’s look at some examples that execute this well.
Examples of post-event marketing content
Emma followed up with attendees who stopped by their booth via email after an event to invite them to an upcoming webinar. This helps keep potential leads moving down their conversion funnel and may eventually turn these event contacts into long-term customers.
Skyword recapped the top takeaways from CMW16 and distilled some of the key highlights into a simple blog post. For those who were there and those who weren’t, this is a valuable piece of content.
Plan Your Marketing Content Around Event Promotion
Now that we’re on the same page about the importance of planning marketing content around events, let’s do a quick recap of how the strategy works:
- Pre-event content builds excitement and anticipation around the upcoming event
- Mid-event content keeps attendees participating directly with you while they’re in attendance and swarmed with other distractions
- Post-event content keeps the conversation going and is a time to gather insights from attendees and provide relevant follow-up content
If you can put together a few different types of content (think emails, assessments, blog posts, etc.) that hit all three checkpoints as your regular event strategy, you’ll start to see results. But! Don’t just rely on the same type content each time – get creative, the more out-of-the-box thinking, the more you’ll stand out.