As an association, events are your bread and butter. Whether you’re hosting a virtual conference or an in-person meeting, bringing your members together provides them with a valuable opportunity to make professional connections. But, once your event is over, you might be wondering what to do in the meantime to increase your turnout for the next one. Fortunately, you can use your event content to attract attendees to your next conference.
Documenting an event through high-quality photos, videos, paper and poster presentations, and transcripts of speaker presentations and panel discussions, and transforming it into marketable content can drive future event signups and membership acquisition.
We talked to digital marketing agency Fifty & Fifty who provided these tips for using your event content to establish your association’s thought leadership and attract new attendees.
1. Make an event microsite
Microsites are a useful tool for building an online information hub that’s separate from your main website but still under the same root domain. With a microsite, interested attendees won’t need to parse through your unrelated website content to find information and sign up for your event. With an event microsite, you can:
- Include links to other important resources, like your RSVP page or virtual event portal
- Provide a dedicated space for posting updates and details about your event in real-time
- Include a link to a searchable library of session content, including presentations and speaker bios
Providing visitors to your website with all of the necessary information can make the difference between them attending your event or not. Using a microsite makes it easy for your attendees and prospective members to find everything they need to know while taking the strain off of your main website.
2. Start an event content archive
Updating your association’s event microsite leading up to and during the event is helpful for potential registrants and attendees to find useful information. But, they’re seldom used after the event has ended.
To consolidate information about your past events, consider starting a year-over-year library of event content on your main website. A well-maintained event archive full of professional development resources provides value to potential members and can help drive non-dues revenue. This can be a tab in your navigation bar containing short descriptions of your events. You can use one page to report information, such as:
- Notable guests
- Attendance analytics
- Event activities
- Educational takeaways
- Past conference proceedings and presentations
Publicizing everything that made your event great in a short, scannable pamphlet can attract attendees to sign up in the future. Plus, you can free up space on your website by removing unneeded event microsites.
3. Embed photos and videos on your website
Your association might already record webinars and panels for your team to reference in the future. But, you can use event photos and videos to attract prospective members. To pique your audience’s interest, spread both posed and candid media showing your attendees and guest speakers at your events.
By integrating media from your event on your homepage, microsite, or archive, you can:
- Display the comradery and connections built at your events
- Establish thought leadership
- Show the types and scales of your events
- Tease future events
All of these media subjects elevate your association’s brand by portraying your organization as valuable, credible, and personable. That being said, you should be careful about which media you publish to maintain your brand’s reputation. Maintain your association’s professionalism by only posting appropriate and relevant content. This includes only sharing photos and videos that you have permission to use from the subjects.
Additionally, prioritize accessibility when you input or embed your media into your site. You can start by adding alt text to your media with your CMS. Alt text allows screen readers to read the media for people with visual impairments. Making these little changes goes a long way in allowing any user to benefit from it.
4. Make SEO-friendly blog articles with event content
Climbing the ranks on the search engine results page (SERP) is a surefire way to get your website more attention. And, fortunately, you can repurpose event content as educational blog posts to boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) value.
According to Google, your first priority should be making your website content high-quality and helpful. This means that useful content made by humans, for humans, performs better on the SERP than pages created by robots. Your association’s events are meant to connect experts in your field to learn from each other and establish your thought leadership, making them perfect candidates for SEO-friendly content.
For instance, say one of your association’s events is a webinar featuring several professionals in your industry. Someone on your team can record the meeting and report on the key takeaways in a blog-style post. Or, if a loyal member of your association is passionate about a certain topic within your field, interview them about their focus area and publish it. Both of these options save you time by eliminating the topic selection stage and some of the research stages.
Blog-style educational content is an excellent marketing strategy that ticks all the boxes for SEO. Plus, it’s a great way to show your members that you appreciate their contributions to the organization.
5. Keep some of the content behind a lead-capture wall
Recordings of your virtual events, panels, and webinars can be helpful to capture membership leads through your website.
Start by publishing pieces of content on your website and giving them appealing, SEO-friendly names that attract prospective members to click through. Then, give viewers a limited, engaging view of the content (a minute for video and a few pages for pamphlets) to get them hooked before hiding the rest behind a lead-capture wall.
A lead-capture wall is a tool for acquiring prospect contact information by requiring visitors to fill out a brief form to access content. It’s normally used to collect your site visitor’s name and email address.
That being said, you should craft your lead-capture form with user intent and in mind. NPOInfo found that asking prospects to fill out many data fields could be viewed as an inconvenience and dissuade them from filling it out at all. A best practice is to ask for the prospect’s first and last name and email address so you don’t invade their privacy.
Additionally, make sure you follow data privacy standards to safeguard the data you collect during the lead-capture process. The best way to protect the reader’s personal data is to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)’s standards, which include:
- Understanding the types of data your business collects
- Storing your data in a secure software solution
- Informing the reader about why you’re collecting their information
- Getting the reader’s explicit consent to send you event materials
- Appointing a data protection officer to oversee and evolve your association’s data privacy policies
- Swiftly report all data breaches
- Implementing data privacy standards across your entire association by educating your staff
- Regularly auditing your association’s data privacy policies and making improvements
Once you align your association’s data privacy practices with the GDPR’s standards, you’re ready to add captured leads to your prospect email list and start recruiting them to join your association.
Remember that leveraging event content on your association’s website should serve both to attract new members and to offer them a reason to stay: your association connects thought leaders in your industry and promotes collaboration, and attracting talented and passionate members is what will help you thrive in the long term. By providing educational resources from past events for potential members to engage with, you give them the foundational knowledge needed to join and innovate the conversation at future events. Keep in mind that it’s important to ensure your association continues to provide the most relevant event content, and by monitoring changes in the sector you can leverage resources when they’re topical and provide value to your association’s members at the same time.