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The Golden Rule of Content: Speak to Others As You Would Have Them Speak to You
As event planners and meeting professionals working in an increasingly fast-paced and digital world, marketing your event can be a headache. Gone are the days of posting flyers to billboards or relying on word of mouth to garner a wide audience. Digital marketing now leads the way in terms of getting the news of your conference or event out to the masses. There are numerous tools and platforms dedicated to taking your event from an idea to a reality; the challenge is knowing how to utilize their capabilities and differentiating yourself from your competition.
In the third installment of our four-part series, “Digital Marketing for Today’s Event Professional,” we break down the importance of having the right content and how utilizing it in the right context can be a pivotal factor in the success of your event. If you missed the first two pieces, we have you covered:
What is content marketing? You might picture “content” as the paragraph of information that you send out to your clients and customers, but in today’s digital age, content means so much more.
Content can refer to myriad different forms of communication, such as social media captions, videos, infographics, and blog posts (hey, we’re in one of those now!). In other words, anything that you produce that aims to garner interest in your next event can be viewed as “content.”
But enough definitions – let’s get into why the right content strategy is so integral.
Producing and sticking to a winning content strategy keeps your event’s messaging consistent and lets your prospective audience build a sense of familiarity and trust with your brand. If your messaging differs from week to week, or from platform to platform, people might get confused about who you are and what you are trying to promote. The trick with a solid content marketing strategy is to remember to always keep your content:
Let’s break down how each can be achieved and look at some real-world examples.
The content you choose to deliver to your audience should reflect exactly what you want them to know about your event. You designed your event with a set of value propositions, so be clear about what they are! If you have a celebrity chef or famous comedian lined up to wow your crowd, let them know exactly why you were so excited to book them. If this is an annual event that always gets 5-star feedback, shout that news as loud as you can!
People want to hear exactly why they should consider attending an event. Tactics like puffery or clichés tend to get lost in the noise of our busy lives. Everyone claims their event is “the greatest” or “award-winning,” but not everyone can deliver real, tangible details of what a customer will experience when attending your event.
Take this example from one of my favorite marketing conferences: Digital Summit. The image below is a snippet from their official website on why attending this tradeshow is an awesome idea. They have broken down a few different bullet points on why their conference stands out above the rest without relying on run-of-the-mill descriptors and overused clichés.
People’s time is extremely valuable and if they are going to spend it at your event, they need to get a clear picture of what their return on investment will be. This is what Digital Summit does really well. Each bullet point directly addresses the audience, offering access to additional add-on packages of value.
I always liken company marketing messages and content strategies of the past as an Orwellian landscape, directly from his novel 1984. In this example, strict guidelines must be followed to avoid punishment and brands must always say the right thing in a very matter-of-fact way as to not upset Big Brother. Well, the year is now 2022 – not 1984!
Content Marketing today is a vastly different world in which marketers have more creative freedoms and flexibilities, and are given permission to be edgy, unique, and humorous to stand out from their competition. Think about it… if you got ten emails and all of them had some sort of variation of the same headline except for one that was designed to be more fun and engaging, which one do you think you would open?
Make your content stand out from the crowd. Ask questions, engage your audience, or use emojis and popular slang terms if the audience is right – just avoid being cheugy (a term I just recently learned and immediately felt personally targeted by). Understanding your audience is a huge key in the first installment of this series and it rings true for this point as well. Do things that resonate with your target audience. If you are marketing your event to college students, you can afford to use more casual language and those emojis we talked about. If you are marketing your event to senior-level CEOs, then maybe stick to a more powerful, pointed question approach.
- Don’t force your message into a meme that will come off looking desperate and out of touch. Just because there is a meme you enjoy, doesn’t mean that you have to use it in your company’s marketing plans.
- Don’t forget to be cognizant of the ever-changing world around you. What may seem like a funny, lighthearted joke to one person, might be insensitive to another.
Lastly, remember that you are ultimately trying to educate a reader about your company’s value, offer, and brand. If you lose sight of what message you are trying to convey, then any piece of content (no matter how witty or unique) ultimately becomes irrelevant. A research study by the Yale School of Management shows that individuals ultimately decide to cut ties with a brand because of irrelevant marketing messages, and Marketing Magazine reported that 94% of customers have “discontinued communications with a company because they had received irrelevant promotions and messages.” Your ultimate goal is to disrupt the amount of noise that a consumer faces, not add to it.
This is also where we remind you of the importance of “knowing who your audience is” – a common theme across this blog series. What kind of content resonates with your target audience and where and when will they be most receptive to it?
Remarketing (or retargeting) ads are a very popular way to try to capture a share of your audience that you ultimately were in danger of losing. This is also a prime example of tailoring your content toward your target personas. Will your prospective customers appreciate a Facebook or LinkedIn ad? Or perhaps they are more likely to click back to your site via a web ad. There are even options to promote your content via mobile games if that’s something that makes sense for your target audience. Knowing where your audience is and when they are in “buying” or “decision” mode could make or break a great piece of content.
Once you find out the perfect placement for your content, you need to… let’s face it…create some quality content. Gone are the days of word art branding and a reliance on big bold pieces of puffery. Welcome to the new age of the informed consumer!
Today’s consumer has done their initial research and knows what they are looking for in terms of a solution to their pain points. In order to be the company that can provide that solution, you need to present your value propositions in a clear, concise, and tailored manner so that your audience can easily digest and understand your offering and how it will be beneficial to them. Your relevant content should convey that you have a unique solution to your customer’s problem and that purchasing your product or service will make their lives easier.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when creating content, but the key is realizing that no marketing message is ever going to be perfect. It’s impossible to present something that hits home for everyone, all of the time. Your main goal should be to simply craft a message that you think reflects your product and the value it offers, in the voice of the person reading it. Through the use of honesty, freshness, and relevance, you can set yourself up for success when it comes to creating a compelling piece of content.
If you enjoyed the tips listed above, stay tuned for the final installation of our four-part series on “Digital Marketing for Today’s Event Planner” in which we will tackle how to properly and strategically follow up with your attendees.