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Six Reasons You Need Event Content Strategy

In an increasingly competitive environment, brand marketers are investing more in their event content with the aim of attracting attendees and creating powerful engagement around their key messages.

To help you understand just that, we’ve put together this e-book outlining six steps (and their associated benefits) to implement a content strategy for your events.

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Six Reasons You Need Event Content Strategy

  1. 1. Dana Larson | VP, Content Strategy | Opus Agency Six Reasons You Need Event Content Strategy
  2. 2. 2OPUS AGENCY 2 WHAT TO EXPECT IN THIS EBOOK »» Introduction »» Event Content Strategy: What Are We Talking About? »» Six Reasons Content Strategy is Important 1. Create Internal Alignment 2. Target Your Content 3. Attract Your Audience 4. Enhance Audience Engagement 5. Improve Brand Recognition 6. Increase Purchase Intent
  3. 3. OPUS AGENCY 3 INTRODUCTION Event Content Strategy for Everyone In an increasingly competitive environment, brand marketers are investing more in their event content with the aim of attracting attendees and creating powerful engagement around their key messages. Add to that an industry all abuzz with predictions on how data-driven, personalized content is going to change the way people experience events, and the need for content strategy becomes much clearer. But what will you ultimately gain from it? To help you understand just that, we’ve put together this e-book that outlines six steps (and their associated benefits) to implement a content strategy for your events. And, to get you started on the right foot, you’ll find a quick explanation of what event content strategy is coming right up.
  4. 4. OPUS AGENCY 4 EVENT CONTENT STRATEGY What Are We Talking About? The unique value that events provide over any other marketing communications medium is the opportunity for live interaction. And, certainly, content strategy for keynotes and breakout sessions—carefully planning the messaging and delivery—is part of that. However, we define event content a bit more broadly. It includes more comprehensive brand messaging that might be reflected in the event branding, agenda design, pre-event content marketing, and on the event and company websites. It includes the articulation of the event’s value proposition, which is integral to audience acquisition planning and the sponsorship prospectus creation. And it also includes all of the internal and stakeholder communications that are so essential for gaining consensus and support for the event. EVENT CONTENT STRATEGY IS APPLIED TO: » Audience Segmentation / Personas » Brand/Event Messaging » Pre-Event Marketing » Audience Acquisition » Agenda Design » Keynotes » Breakout Sessions » Communications Planning » Digital/Social Planning » Post-Event Marketing
  5. 5. 5OPUS AGENCY Conventions and events are expected to expand 44% from 2010 to 2020. USA-Expo
  6. 6. OPUS AGENCY 6 SIX REASONS Content Strategy is Important Given everything it encompasses, content strategy is an essential step to ensuring your content is accurate, coordinated, consistent, timely, and most importantly, relevant. That's the strategy part. Sounds pretty good, huh? Keep reading if you want to learn six more reasons content strategy is important.
  7. 7. OPUS AGENCY 7 Create Internal Alignment ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT “GIFTS” you can give your event content is alignment. Invariably, there will be a host of different elements that need to be created—from internal communications and demand gen emails to a keynote script, website, and signage (and more!). Engaging in some early planning, even before you get into the strategy, will help ensure everyone is driving towards the same goal. Keep reading to learn 3 ways you can gain internal alignment. 1 BENEFIT #1 Ensures everyone is driving towards the same goal while utilizing the most efficient resources. “#ContentStrategy keeps your #events accurate, coordinated, consistent, timely & relevant. @OpusAgency #eBook: bit.ly/EventContentStrat”
  8. 8. 8OPUS AGENCY 8 1: CREATE INTERNAL ALIGNMENT We like to start creating alignment by: »» Establishing goals for the event. Maybe the primary goal is to increase brand awareness with a certain audience. Maybe it’s to launch a new product. Or maybe it’s a combination of both. But until you know the goals, you can’t develop a cohesive strategy, so take time to get everyone aligned on this.» » Determining how success will be measured. What KPIs will indicate success? Will surveys be fielded? How will you know if you nailed it? Be sure you can answer all of these questions.» » Identifying roles for everyone on the project. Consider creating a RACI chart to identify who takes the role of being Responsible, Accountable/Approver, Consulted, and Informed. For example, will the agency be responsible for sending out and tracking emails or will the client’s internal team take on this role? Does an executive need to be the final approver? RACI MATRIX Responsible Approver Consulted Informed
  9. 9. 9OPUS AGENCY A goal without a plan is just a wish. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  10. 10. OPUS AGENCY 10 2 Target Your Content IF YOU GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE CONTENT they care about, then you can consider your strategy a success. Without a personal connection to content, people will tune out. With it, they will engage, and potentially even amplify your content by sharing it. To increase relevance and make a connection, you must first understand the audience’s needs, wants and pain points across the lifecycle of your brand and services. And since everyone is different, you’ll want to segment your audience so you can target the content. BENEFIT #2 Targeting your content makes it more compelling and engaging to your attendees. “Audience segmenting & content targeting key to engaging, shareable #events. @OpusAgency #ContentStrategy #eBook: bit.ly/EventContentStrat”
  11. 11. 11OPUS AGENCY 11 2: TARGET YOUR CONTENT Segmenting: A Good Time To Think Inside The Box »» Segmenting your audience—for example by industry, role, status (prospect vs. customer), product, demographics, etc.—enables you to create unique and relevant content and experiences that can be measured against specific attributes. Let’s say you have a Functional IT audience (role) within cyber security (industry) who desires hands-on tutorials with tech staff. Knowing this can affect the format of an event, the type of content that you create and share, and the way you promote it. All with the goal of making the experience more relevant and useful to the attendee. »» Let’s Get Persona! One very effective way to define unique audience segments is to use personas—descriptive representations of each of the key audience segments you’re targeting. They provide a snapshot of the needs, wants and desires of each audience segment, enabling you to create a more targeted and effective strategy. Personas can be created using data from personal interviews and focus groups, registration data, surveys, marketing plans and third-party research.
  12. 12. 12OPUS AGENCY More than 80% of tech professionals said they are more likely to visit your booth if they’ve heard about or connected with you before the event. UBM Whitepaper Industry Event Marketing: Adding Pop to Your Strategy
  13. 13. OPUS AGENCY 13 Attract Your Audience ENSURING THERE ARE ENOUGH ATTENDEES to make your event come alive is job one. The trick is to find the right communication medium for each of your target audience segments and match them up to your overall event goals. For example, if you’re planning a free event with a wide-reaching audience, you may want to leverage social media and paid search. However, if you’re planning a private, invitation-only event, then you’ll likely want to stick with a more personal approach, such as email or snail-mailed invitations. You’ll also want to plan for multiple communication tracks—one for prospects and one for registrants. This further customizes the messaging and calls to action. Determine your audience acquisition plan up front to customize messaging by audience, media type and timing. 3 BENEFIT #3 Increases conversion rates and engagement through customization.
  14. 14. 14OPUS AGENCY 14 3: ATTRACT YOUR AUDIENCE Tracks, Timing and Tone As you’re planning your audience acquisition strategy, you’ll want to include: »» Track: Are you speaking to prospects who have never attended your event? Or diehard evangelists who wouldn’t miss it for the world? Have they registered? Or are they still on the fence? Ensure your plan has a way to answer all of these audience needs (and the questions we didn’t ask). »» Timing: Typically, you’ll start out with more infrequent and informal communication—think “Save the Date”—and end up with more detailed and frequent outreach—such as agenda and speaker updates, mobile app promotion, etc.—as the event nears. »» Tone: If you’re speaking to someone who’s not yet registered, your tone will need to be a bit more persuasive. However, once someone has registered, it’s time to be direct and informative while building to a crescendo of excitement leading up to the event. This is your chance to prime the audience.
  15. 15. 15OPUS AGENCY …‘the experiential event practitioner’ must offer technological and interactive events that will capture the emotionality of the audience in order to be successful in an ever-changing and complex global environment. Excerpt from The Future of Events and Festivals
  16. 16. OPUS AGENCY 16 Enhance Audience Engagement ONE OF THE BEST WAYS to enhance audience engagement is to include attendees in the process. Just as you may inquire what someone wants for their birthday in hopes of buying the perfect gift, it’s important to include attendees input into the design and value proposition for the event. You can get this input actively or passively. »» Passive Involvement: Use surveys and data from past events to glean insights you can use to enhance your upcoming event. Also, track the interest, engagement and sharing of sessions on the pre-event website. »» Active Involvement: Invite your target audience to share their thoughts on what they’d like to see and experience. Let them vote on the speakers and content they find most interesting. 4 BENEFIT #4 Drives repeat attendance, higher profits and word-of-mouth advocacy.
  17. 17. OPUS AGENCY 17 4: ENHANCE AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT Once you have a content plan ready, set the stage for your event with: »» Content from exhibitors—whitepapers, video, editorial coverage, website content, etc. »» Interviews with speakers—via website/digital radio and/or podcasts; encourage commenting to drive engagement »» “What to Expect”/”Inside the Event” content—drive engagement and amplification through email and social media that gives users a sneak peak into your event
  18. 18. OPUS AGENCY 18 4: ENHANCE AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT People attend live events for an experience SO IT’S IMPORTANT TO DO MORE than simply talk at them. Make the experience interactive and engaging by: »» Securing a dynamic host and presenters »» Incorporating video, live polling, and audience interaction »» Offering group and networking activities »» Ensuring there is input for all senses (sights, sounds, touch, even smell and taste when appropriate) »» Providing mobile event apps that encourage networking, messaging/sharing, and interactivity
  19. 19. 19OPUS AGENCY 75% of B2B marketers rate in-person events as the most effective marketing tactic. 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
  20. 20. OPUS AGENCY “75% of B2B mktrs rate events most effective mktg tactic—hinges on great #ContentStrategy! @OpusAgency #eBook bit.ly/EventContentStrat” 20 Improve Brand Recognition THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE—what attendees see, hear, do, and who they meet—can influence how attendees feel about a brand. To drive positive perception:» » Ensure you have a strong event brand platform that aligns with your corporate brand.» » Find a balance in what/how you present—63% of attendees said they did not want too much of a sales pitch, but 69% said they want tech/product demos*.» » Deliver more of the content people are seeking—57% want technology specs or other “how to” materials/workshops; 45% want business case information; and 43% want new product announcements and new launches*. * UBM Whitepaper, Industry Event Marketing: Adding Pop to Your Strategy 5 BENEFIT #5 83% of consumers say event content greatly or somewhat improves their brand perception.
  21. 21. 21OPUS AGENCY 87% of consumers say live events reach them more effectively than television advertising, and 98 percent say a live event motivates them to buy a product. Event Marketing Institute
  22. 22. OPUS AGENCY 22 Increase Purchase Intent USE CONTENT TO MAXIMIZE the entire attendee lifecycle and create deeper, more personal connections that can drive purchases.» » Begin the relationship prior to the event with targeted content» » Stay connected during the event (e.g., push notifications in mobile app, social media).» » Build on the relationship post-event by using attendee data to extend the conversation. 6 BENEFIT #6 Long-lasting relationships help drive brand affinity and loyalty that lead to purchases. “#ContentStrategy maximizes attendee lifecycle pre/during/post #events to boost purchase intent @OpusAgency #eBook bit.ly/EventContentStrat”
  23. 23. OPUS AGENCY 23 6: INCREASE PURCHASE INTENT Use content to maximize the attendee lifecycle: » » Sneak Peek: Speaker Content» » Interviews/ Q&A Sessions» » "Inside the Event" Previews» » Testimonials» » Pre-Event Networking» » "Up Next/Now Playing" Alerts» » New Product/Solution Reveals» » Live Polling/Reviews» » Live Videos» » Networking» » Survey/Poll Results» » Top Tweets/Quotes/Reviews» » Product/Solution Updates» » Event Content» » Event Video/Images Before the Event During the Event After the Event
  24. 24. OPUS AGENCY 24 Event Content Strategy for All Developing the right content is one of the most important steps in delivering an engaging and memorable event. From the moment you first reach out to prospective attendees to the post-event follow-up, every piece of content must be appealing and relevant if you’re going to hold their attention. With a strong content strategy, you can do this and build brand affinity and purchase intent. Just follow the steps we’ve outlined in this eBook. Need help? Opus has full-spectrum event content strategy experience—from audience segmentation to audience acquisition, event messaging to keynote design, and so much more—and we’d love to help. If you’re interested in partnering, contact Kristin Waters.
  25. 25. 25OPUS AGENCY 25 OPUS AGENCYis a brand events and marketing agency. We create and manage hundreds of events and campaigns every year, all over the world, including things like strategic executive-level summits, immersive brand experiences, and conferences with 30,000 attendees. We have amazing people who share strong values, and a specific methodology that ties everything we do to customer success. We call it TeamCS™. Dana Larson Drawing on more than 20 years of content and marketing experience, Dana is responsible for developing digital and content marketing strategies, enabling Opus clients to optimize their conversations with their audiences in and around events. A highly regarded thought leader in the world of content marketing, Dana has written articles on content strategy and marketing that have moved industry players into taking sides and taking action. She has spoken at key industry events, including the Gilbane Conference, and at corporate-wide marketing events for industry leaders such as McKesson. Delivering winning content strategies for clients such as Alaska Airlines, Farmers Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, Stanford Health Care, Verizon Wireless, Symantec, Wells Fargo, Visa, and many others continues to fuel her passion. Dana Larson | 971-223-7932 | dlarson@opusteam.com

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