When it comes to planning a conference, how often are you asked to do more with less? More food and beverage options, but for less money. More speakers, but in less rental space. More information, but in less time. (OK, I get the hint! I’ll get to the point…)
Marketing for your conference is no different. The web creates many opportunities to promote your event, but creating new marketing materials can be a time-consuming task.
As an event planner, you have a secret weapon.
You are sitting on a gold mine of information that can cut through the clutter, allowing you to:
- Connect with professionals looking for industry-specific information
- Remind members of the value your association provides year-round
- Build awareness of your conference and other events
- Extend the life of the materials you worked hard to collect
These shiny knowledge-nuggets aren’t something you have to go mining for; they are already at your fingertips.
Repurpose your conference content
You know that the secret to attracting people to your conference is having the educational content they want. Let this valuable information take on a second life! There is no reason it should sit dormant for 51 weeks each year. You worked hard to collect this material, it’s time to put it to work promoting your conference.
Existing conference content is effective as a promotional tool. Images of last year’s event can only go so far in conveying the value your conference provides. Using actual event content gives potential attendees a glimpse of the kind of material at your conference. This allows attendees the opportunity to see for themselves why yours is a “can’t miss” event.
Recent shifts in the perception of advertising also make a strong case for content marketing. Think about how you respond to the advertisements you see online. When was the last time that “celebrity secret” actually turned out to be “shocking”? The result of this quick-click obsession is a skeptical consumer. Your content inspires confidence by providing a tangible example of what your conference has to offer.
The event planner advantage
Content marketing has become one of the most popular ways for corporations to promote themselves online. In fact, according to a 2016 Content Marketing Institute survey, 88% of businesses use content marketing. You may even have given it a shot yourself, and for good reason! Association conference planners have some unique advantages when it comes to content marketing:
- You have existing material: The biggest barrier to content marketing is creating new material. Your existing library of content gives you a head start.
- Your review process provides authority: You can be confident that your peer-reviewed materials are insightful. This can be especially handy if you are not a subject matter expert.
- You have access to the latest thinking: Your conference is an industry leader in providing timely, relevant information. Continue your role as a thought leader throughout the year.
- You get feedback from the industry: Your conference feedback can provide insight into which topics are most in demand. Think of this as “focus group” input on the material in your collection.
Putting a plan in place
The first step in launching a content marketing campaign is assessing your existing materials. Determine what kind of content you have available and decide where it will be located. Your association’s website may seem like a good idea at first, but as time goes on, content can get lost or buried as the site gets updated. It’s best to create a standalone site that will contain all of your current and past event content. This will give visitors an idea of the broad range of information they can rely on your conference for.
A dedicated digital publishing platform is a well-suited home for storing your existing conference content. In addition to housing all your current and past content, it provides a flexible viewing experience for any kind of content. Its easy navigation, search capabilities and modern design will reinforce the positive impression attendees have about your conference.
It’s also important to determine a schedule that you will be able to follow. Be realistic. Will you be able to consistently post two pieces of content each week? Or is one piece of content every two weeks more likely? The rate that you choose is less important than your ability to stay on schedule. Readers stay engaged with a blog or social media profile that is updated on a regular basis.
A look ahead
So now that you’ve identified the most relevant material on your online content and thought long and hard about how much time you can devote to posting content online, now what? What are the best ways to get this great material in front of people?
Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at some tools and tips to make your content contagiously-clickable by those on your social networks. We’ll explore creative ways to use your existing conference content before–and after– the event. Stay tuned for tricks that will help generate interest in your event and attract new members.
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Interested in learning more about promoting an event with your existing conference materials?
Check out the other entries in our Marketing with Conference Content series for more ideas:
Part 2: 3 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd by Using Images
Part 3: How to Learn From Your Own Content [Infographic]
Part 4: Promoting Your Conference with Twitter