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Content Marketing for In-Person Events: 15 Ways to Extend Your Reach

b2b-content-marketing-usage-events-315x230Last month we talked about public speaking and presenting tips for business and professional speakers.  The response to this post was excellent, but I received a number of comments from corporate event producers on how they could effectively extract content from an event to drive pre- and post-content marketing efforts.

According to CMI/MarketingProfs B2B Content Marketing research, 56% of companies hold some kind of education-based customer or prospect event during the year. Events are a treasure trove of content marketing opportunities, but unfortunately, many companies don’t make the most of capturing content throughout the life of the event. Here’s some strategies and tactics (in no particular order) to help extract the most content from your customer or prospect event, giving you the ability to drive your content marketing efforts throughout the year.

  1. Twitter and Hashtags – Be sure that all speaker presentations display both the speaker’s Twitter sign and the hashtag (i.e., #cmworld) for the event on as many slides as possible. This promotes customer and prospect sharing.
  2. Wi-Fi Access – First, make sure Wi-Fi is free, available and fast.  Second, make sure you post the access code and directions in as many places as possible.  You’d be surprised the number of events that only discuss Wi-Fi access at the beginning of the event and then never mention it again.  You want people to share the event content, right?  If so, give them the tools to do so.
  3. Report on Your Own Conference – Make sure you cover your own conference with your own reporters and journalists.  I’m shocked by the number of events I go to where a content creator from the sponsoring company is not in the room to help tell and shape the speaker’s story. Also, your event is PRIME TIME to get customer quotes, testimonials and feedback.  Have a roving reporter go around and get that on tape (and get their permission sign off in the process).
  4. Scheduling Speaker Interviews at the Event – As part of all speaker deals, make sure they are aware that you wish to interview them immediately after their presentations.  After they finish with conversations following their talk, pull them aside for two conversations: first, have them share their take on the conference (for use as a testimonial) and second, have them share the core concept with a few examples from their presentation that you can use in a conference follow-up post.
  5. Move Away from the Normal Event – Think about mixing up your format to gather better content assets and engagement.  Here are 20 different types of conference formats that may work.
  6. Cater to the Blogger CommunitySXSW did a fantastic job catering to the bloggers their with the Samsung Blogger Lounge, a place where bloggers could meet and, most importantly, charge their devices.  If you don’t have a blogger lounge, make sure you know who the bloggers are and give them access to pretty much whatever they need.
  7. Market All Year Long – The biggest mistake I see corporate events make is that they don’t start marketing the event until just a few months before the event.  With Content Marketing World, we start marketing for the next event as soon as (or even before) the next one is complete.  If you can convince your staff that event marketing actually never starts or stops, but is in continual motion, you’ll be MUCH better off.
  8. Develop a Content Platform – In the same spirit as #7, if your goal is truly to be a leading thought leader in your space, then you should be developing THE content platform for your event.  That means creating content EVERY day, just like we do at CMI or they do at SXSW (note that even though the event just finished, SXSW continues to create fresh, relevant content that is in line with their event EVERY day. They also send copies of SXSW – The Magazine to core attendees throughout the year.)
  9. Record the Presentations – Make a decision whether you are going to live stream the content, or record and post after the event…but regardless, record them (all of them).  It saddens me that the majority (yes, majority) of conferences I attend still do not videotape their sessions.  Unbelievable.  Have a plan ahead of time for how you are going to use the assets.
  10. Engage Your Speakers in Content Creation – Many of your speakers love to share with their audiences that they are speaking at your event, but they may need some prodding.  Make sure you continually reach out to them with exciting event news that will give them ammunition to blog or tweet.
  11. Q&A with Speakers – For the most part, speakers will be happy to complete email Q&A’s or even podcast interviews with you for promotion on your site.  Prepare this in advance and make it a part of your editorial calendar for the event.
  12. Slideshare Mashups – Why not take the content from the event and put a visual spin on it leveraging Slideshare.  One very successful piece of content (50,000+ downloads) came from this social media predictions package (many of the contributors were Content Marketing World speakers).
  13. Create Conversations Online – Give people the tools to chat and schedule meetups before the event begins.  Leverage your Facebook and LinkedIn event pages, as well as post listings on Plancast and Lanyrd.
  14. Leverage Live Event Tweeting – Rachel Foster details multiple ways to leverage twitter with live tweeting and wrap ups distributed via Twitter post-event.
  15. Event Videos that People Want to Share – For Content Marketing World, our goal was to create a video that people would want to view and share beyond the event (see our 2011 event video below).  Exact Target also does a great job of this with conference videos that are humorous and beyond shareable (this video of Joel Book is priceless).

What additional ways have you used that work?