Picture this: Your company just announced they’re hosting a huge conference. You’ve lined up fantastic speakers, scheduled innovative sessions, and reserved space at a centrally located hotel. Great! But now you’re tasked with getting the word out. It should be easy, right? You’re promoting a great event and have an engaging story to tell. Unfortunately, ensuring your message reaches the right people is easier said than done. From identifying your audience to determining which social media channels to leverage, developing a content marketing plan is key to the success of the event. Use these tips to keep your audience defined and messaging sharp.
1. Set Your (Content) Goals
Specifying messaging goals upfront will save you hours of revisions down the road. Potential goals include: Accurately describing conference sessions by leveraging Google Trends and AdWords, crafting an enticing tagline, and developing a series of social media posts that tag vendors, speakers, and prospective attendees. Keep in mind that your goals will vary based on your company’s needs. Maybe you feel confident about the visibility of your keynote speaker, but less so about smaller sessions. Your content goals should adjust to place more emphasis on those secondary speakers.
2. Define Your Audience
Determine who you know: current customers, clients, and/or vendors. Consider those you want to know: potential customers, clients, and/or vendors. Evaluate those that would be interested in your event that you haven’t considered. Be sure to strategize with your team to ensure you’re reaching out to your full potential audience.
3. Hone Your Voice
Once you’ve defined your audience, it’s time to craft your voice. Try this simple exercise to get started:
- Use three adjectives to describe your target audience. For example, if your audience is composed of C-suite executives, words could include “professional,” “confident,” and “well-educated.”
- Keeping your three adjectives in mind, draft a brief mission statement that speaks directly to your target audience. Fast Company’s Innovation Festival statement is a great example: “Leading business innovators, cultural luminaries, and the world’s most creative people will come together to share inspiration and purpose-driven leadership lessons with an audience of creative thinkers from around the globe.”
Consider the voice of the above mission statement when writing all pieces of content for the event — large or small. Consistency is essential when creating and delivering messaging. Speaking in a variety of voices (casual, humorous, overly friendly) is not only disjointing for the reader, it’s unprofessional.
4. Determine Your Channels
When it comes to social channels, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter all resonate with different demographics. As of 2018, Facebook has the highest amount of active monthly users (2 billion) with a primary demographic of 18 to 29 year-olds. These focus areas are constantly influx, but there are several guides to keep you up to speed. Take advantage of these resources when determining which social channels you’ll use to disseminate your content. Other content distribution channels include e-newsletters and blasts, blogging, radio/TV, direct-to-mail marketing, and more. Once you’ve determined your channels, rank them in order of priority. All key pieces of content should flow down from your primary channel, adjusting as needed. For example, when promoting your keynote speaker, a good succession would be:
Event Website – Subpage with speaker bio, keynote description, photos/videos, and any other enticing pieces of content.
Facebook – Link to keynote subpage. Post content could include a summarized bio of the speaker (make sure to tag the speaker’s page!) along with a brief overview of the keynote topic.
LinkedIn – Link to the keynote subpage along with a summary of the keynote topic and why it’s important to your target audience. LinkedIn is an industry go-to for thought leadership, so don’t be shy about offering your company or speaker’s unfiltered opinion. LinkedIn just recently started incorporating hashtags — use as needed.
Instagram – Headshot of speaker with brief, punchy caption teasing the event and keynote (one to two sentences). Make sure to research and leverage trending hashtags using a service like Keyhole.
Twitter – A short quote from the speaker, tagging them as needed.
5. Create a Content Calendar
An efficient content calendar is any content marketer’s secret weapon. In addition to providing a schedule, it’s the easiest way to alleviate stress about how often you’re posting — and where the latest and greatest piece of content will come from. It also serves as a great tool for obtaining approvals from stakeholders, aligning content with digital marketing goals, and showcasing your plan in any post-mortem discussions. Your calendar should include all pieces of content, their target channel, and the date/time they’ll be distributed. Make sure your schedule is based on both your content goals and your general marketing goals. Google Sheets is a popular option for hosting your calendar, but there are several other tools worth checking out.
6. Measure, Adjust, Repeat
You can’t get away from math that easily! Take advantage of analytics tools as well as your digital marketing team’s expertise to make sure your content is reaching and engaging your target audience. Depending on your timeline, it’s worthwhile to check in on performance at least once a week. As a writer, it can be easy to ignore metrics in favor of creativity. However, finding a balance between the two is your content marketing sweet spot. No matter how awesome your content is, if it’s not reaching anyone, it’s doing you and your company a disservice.
Regardless of whether you’re planning an event, building a brand, or spreading the word about a new product, having a content marketing plan is key. Our team is here to guide you in the right direction. Reach out to chat with one of our content specialists today.