You’ve carefully planned your big event, pouring time, attention and money into making sure that every detail is orchestrated to perfection.
The seating is devised to optimize attendee engagement, you’ve arranged interesting and informative speakers, carefully curated the presentation, and the venue is top-notch in terms of capacity and acoustics.
But what if, despite your best efforts, you plan an event and nobody shows up? Or worse yet, the venue is packed but nothing comes of it?
Either the audience is bored or they’re not incentivized to take whatever action is needed to make it a success.
Not only would any one of these outcomes be humiliating, but a poorly managed and marketed event could damage your reputation as a thought leader, event planner, or project manager.
Whether you’re organizing an industry presentation, a TED talk, or a webinar, you have an expectation for a specific outcome and level of attendance.
However, even the best-planned events will attract very few people unless they are marketed right.
Why Would People Stay Away From My Event?
Short of a mass disruption of epic proportions, event attendance or participation could fall below expectations for a number of reasons.
Perhaps the venue is hard to find or it’s in an inconvenient location. Maybe there’s a conflicting event scheduled for the same time.
In terms of participation or staying power, people could leave or fail to act due to anything from technical glitches to uninspiring speakers or generic messaging.
You can’t control things like missed flights, weather events, or pandemics, and we’ll keep the faith that you’ve crafted an event that’s unique and valuable to prospective attendees.
The main thing you do have the ability to control is how effectively you market and conduct your event to build enthusiasm among your audience before, during, and after.
Here is our best advice for creating a world-class event content strategy.
The Essentials of Creating a Successful Event Content Strategy
A successful event content strategy boils down to three things: getting to know your audience, understanding what sort of content appeals to them and finding ways to present and enhance that content in the right way.
Let’s dive into them.
Understand Your Audience by Contextualizing Your Leads
Before you take the necessary steps to create a content strategy, you’ll need to evaluate your audience and examine what you can offer them and the benefits you bring to the table.
Your strategy should tie together the values and pain points of your attendees and then address how your program, system, or presentation will address them.
- What is my unique concept or idea?
- How do I want attendees to feel during and after my event?
- What do my affiliates, speakers, or industry peers know that I want to pass on to my audience?
- Am I an authority within the industry? Are there industry leaders among my network whose knowledge I can tap?
- What are the goals of the event, and how do I want to influence my audience or industry? What do I want attendees to purchase, pledge, or take away?
These questions will form the basis for a strong program that will enhance value or impact your industry in a meaningful way.
However, you also have to provide the specific answers your audience is seeking.
That involves conducting research into the questions they have about your industry or delving deeper into problems and concerns.
For example, you may have an audience of eager startups who want to know about creative funding methods or novice authors who are looking for an effective and unique book launch strategy.
Know what they want and how you will deliver. Be insightful and specific in your analysis and research relevant topics of interest in forums, on websites, and industry publications.
Strategize Your Research
Drilling down who your audience is and what they want is not enough.
You also need to strategize your research to include those publications and thought leaders trust and follow the most.
Take note of how the information is structured and presented as well as which platforms rank high in search results.
While you’re at it, reach for the stars by relying on the absolute cream of the crop in terms of authority and reach.
Emulate their approach and focus on what content is best suited to leveraging for your own presentation or event.
This is also known as “the skyscraper technique,” and the goal is to create great content and quality backlinks.
How do you leverage content, and what types or parts of the content are worth your time and energy?
If you’re interested in increasing attendance, you want to provide information that appeals to your audience and leaves them wanting more.
You can narrow your focus by doing a little keyword research into trending industry keywords and then finding the related links that are most often used by your target audience.
Use this as the foundation for your content, adding your own spin or filling in the gaps.
Once you have that out of the way, there are several ways you can leverage this content for your own purposes. Here’s what to ask yourself about your content.
Is It Relevant?
Relevance goes beyond trendiness or fads.
Keep an eye out for high-ranking material that’s shared frequently and was posted more than a year previously.
This signifies that the content is somewhat timeless and contains information that drives engagement.
Next, find the most current info related to that content.
Consider the Length and Complexity
Individuals and organizations value comprehensive, detailed insight into topics that impact their lives or businesses.
Read the content you wish to emulate and determine ways that you can add to that information or provide a unique spin.
However, complexity does not equal convoluted. Make sure that your content presents complex information in a way that’s simple to understand.
Look Beyond the Layout
Sometimes, good information is difficult to digest because it’s dense or hard to follow.
Really dig deep into the content and then think of ways to present that information that’s more visually and intellectually appealing.
Break the content into bite-sized pieces and spruce it up with images and infographics that illustrate important points at a glance.
Technology can range from social media platforms to event planning tools.
No matter how much of the planning is done organically using practical means and methods, there’s a technology out there that will streamline the process, conserve resources, and add a more polished, professional veneer.
As for the social side of technology, knowing your platforms and how they will enhance or highlight your content is half the battle.
When it comes to visual content, like images and short video clips, Instagram is great for presenting such content.
Longer videos, live streams, and tutorials work best with Facebook or YouTube.
If you’re interested in professional or B2B networking, it’s hard to go wrong with LinkedIn, while Twitter is great for news briefs and immediate feedback.
When deciding how much time and marketing budget to dedicate to each platform, also consider your target demographic as well as where and how they congregate.
Your success is our success. Our goal is to provide you with a set of tips and best practices to devise an effective content strategy that will help you realize your vision of success.
No matter if you plan multiple gatherings throughout the year or spend an entire year organizing a major industry event, these tips can be tailored to meet your purposes and support positive outcomes on a consistent basis.