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Published March 10th 2020
The events marketing industry is a big economy in itself, whether you’re an event organizer an event sponsor or an event attendee, the commitment requires significant investment of both time and money.
With Coronavirus COVID-19 running amok in the events industry, your KPI’s likely haven’t changed, you’ll just need to re-think how you achieve them.
We ran a Twitter poll asking our audience of marketers how they anticipate re-allocating their events marketing budget: would they be putting more resources behind paid media, content marketing/SEO, demand generation or “other”?
The results of that quick poll showed 60% of marketers were looking to invest more in content marketing as a result of the disruption.
Without further ado, here’s how you can pivot your event marketing strategy into content marketing.
First off, let’s break this into the three relationships you might have with event based marketing:
If you’re sending your team to events it’s likely for the following reasons:
Fortunately, all three of these can be achieved through content marketing!
Get your team to think about the conversations they would be having at the events and encourage them to have those same conversations in the social arena.
Thought provoking linked posts, Twitter threads encouraging responses and even playful interactions on more consumer orientated social platforms (we hear agencies such as Rise at Seven are broadcasting marketing tips on TikTok) will get your staff out in front of a global audience, especially if you put that events marketing budget behind promoting the content to your target personas.
Much of sales process is anchoring the problem you’re solving, this can be done through conversations at conferences, but it can also be achieved through the written word.
Creating blog posts that address the problems you solve will add evergreen value to your online presence.
Stuck for blog ideas? Try browsing Quora, Reddit and relevant forums for questions your audience are asking around the problem and answer them in your posts. Does all that browsing sound like a lot of hassle? Our Question Analyzer does it for you! Just type in a keyword to get started.
See what I did there?
Problem (Ideation) > Suggestion (Browsing) > Pain Point (Takes too long) > Solution (Question Analyzer)
Blogs aren’t for every industry, but the same can be applied across video marketing, podcasting, etc.
Ask the team members who were going to an event to spend that time finding equivalent information online and curating it for each other to browse. You can then open source this curated feed to the rest of the industry to collaborate around, exchange opinions and feedback.
Your team will be learning while adding value to the content ecosystem and hopefully building a tight, focused community akin to a reading group.
(P.S. You can curate news relevant to your industry using the BuzzSumo Trending tool and share links to the curated feed across your organization.)
You had earmarked 5, 6, maybe 7 figures to sponsor that event and now it’s on hold or cancelled. How are you going to re-allocate that spend to achieve the targeted visibility you were looking for?
The obvious move here is to drive more visibility with top-of-funnel ads across social, but there are more nuanced, value led, ways to get in front of the same audiences that would be attending the event.
Collaborate with researchers in your niche on projects that will add value to your whole industry and you’re likely to get in front of the people this research will affect. If you haven’t worked with researchers before, using our Influencer tool can help you find and collaborate with the right people in your field.
Podcasts and audio content are a growing phenomenon and a relatively effective way of reaching audiences in a similar fashion to how you would have through an event.
If you had arranged a speaking slot through sponsorship, get this same talk track online and share through your channels with paid promotion to support. This is likely to be in the form of a video or blog, or both!
It’s a tough call canceling or postponing an event, a call our parent company Brandwatch had to make last week on their flagship digital consumer intelligence conference “NYK”.
All is not lost though! You (like us) will probably have budgeted resources that are now available to deploy elsewhere, working on exciting projects that would never have otherwise got done.
If you choose to double down on content marketing as a substitute for event marketing there are plenty of ways to do it:
Keep a similar agenda but bring it all online, host webinars or upload videos. Get the network of speakers to share each others’ videos for maximum reach.
It’s been a while since the Twitter Q&A boom, but it’s time for a resurrection. Don’t forget the newer formats such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Live, too. Choose the best format and then hit your mailing lists with the details, make sure your roundtable participants are vocal about the occasion and engage any partners who can amplify the event.
Depending on the size of your event you could consider creating a Slack community, with channels in line with your event themes and attendees (split into industries/job titles/etc.) and nurture conversation in this environment. Not specifically a content marketing strategy, but community is important nonetheless and can help to create conversation around the content you do create.
If you’re running an event as a non-events company (for example Brandwatch’s “NYK”, Qualtrics’ “X4” or Xero’s “Xerocon”) one of the high profile moments of your event would be unveiling the exciting roadmap and product innovations making their way to your customers. You can take this online, too.
Other companies such as Monzo have graduated from using Trello and now host their roadmap on their site natively
There are so many ways to remix your events strategy and blend it into the rest of your marketing activities to ensure you achieve the same outcomes.
Content marketing is an obvious choice to generate the thought leadership, top-of-funnel interest and excitement that you were looking for from your event.
Simply enter an industry keyword into the search box below to see what content works in your niche and take it from there!
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