Events (provided they're not insurance conventions) offer up the perfect subject matter for captivating content. Whether you're an event planner or are looking to host an event for your company, bolstering the big day with a sound content marketing strategy can help you build necessary hype and keep it going long after the event is over. Creating the bond between offline events and online marketing properties opens you up to a world of possibility that is present well before the big day even arrives.
Create Your Framework
Before you even begin, create a solid base from which to work. If this is an extension to your business, having an optimized page within your domain is your first port of call. You can direct all event related traffic to your home page, provided it's clear where they have to go or what they have to do from there in order to reach their specific goals. Some goals to consider would be:
- Finding out more about the event
- Booking tickets
- Obtaining location specific information
- Subscribing to feeds
Event information is shareable stuff as you've often got groups of friends keeping each other in the loop with what's happening. Make sure you've got all your pieces in place before you "go live" so that you don't miss out on that lucrative distribution power.
Create a content calendar with every piece of content that's going to be shared aligned to a date, platform and even a time. Spacing out your content releases will allow you enough time in between for engagement, dealing with queries and monitoring traffic and results. If you can create the content in advance, you can also schedule and pre-load it, which will open up all your available time for monitoring and hopefully attending to an influx of bookings!
Engage People Online Before The Event Begins
A month or two before the event is hosted is the perfect time to start getting people excited. By creating an online presence that belongs to the event, you can build awareness, reel in prospective attendees and start discussing any formalities or need-to-know information. PR and blog content offer the perfect areas of focus to start promoting event information, but you could also look at other social channels like:
- Facebook - status updates , video content and imagery relating to the event will provide fantastic content that'll get attendees excited and get potential attendees interested
- Twitter - to post up to the minute updates on plans and preparations that are taking place
- Pinterest - to post photographs of stage setups, celebrities who will be in attendance, generic imagery relating to the event
- Instagram - as with both of the above-mentioned platforms, this is ideal place to start stoking the fires of enthusiasm and get people involved in the hype
Maintain people's interest by hosting competitions prior to the big day where fans can win tickets or VIP passes to the event. Create hashtags that are easily spread, and interactive campaigns relating to the event that are easily shared. These can all link back to the main website, or can be 100% socially based. Offer opinion polls, create infographics that count down the days and display all the milestones along the way towards the big day, get fans to take certain actions that in turn create content, such as creating their own videos or making soundclips. User-generated content is always a win and keeps your fans involved wholeheartedly.
Good Old Email Reminders
Not everyone checks their social channels all the time, but most of us check our email daily. Send out a few emails to remind people about the event and to offer them any relevant information that might be required. Weather forecasts, celebrity bios, menu items are all ideas for content that you can share in your emails.
Email also offers the perfect platform to let fans know about any upcoming events that may be in the pipeline. It's also the perfect place to direct from, so any campaign related ideas can springboard straight from your email to your site, Twitter, Facebook or blog - wherever you need your fans to be.
Boost The Level Of Conversation
Events are naturally social by nature, so you can count on your online event promotion being a socially rich experience. By tapping into the mindset, you're already one step further towards building up the conversation around your event and keeping that chatter going long into the event and beyond.
Before: Any representation of the event, even physical tickets, should tie in with the online activity that has now created a bubble of excitement within fans and friends alike. Fans can be rewarded for certain actions at the event, for example: get them to tweet: "Just got my ticket to XYZ event! It's going to be off the hook! #XYZEvent" and in return they get a free drinks voucher, or something similar. The hashtag should be becoming ever more prominent as the event draws closer, the event pages on Facebook should be receiving bubbly comments of sheer delight from those who have their tickets and are counting down the seconds to the big day!
The international HOLIOne Color Festival did a great job worldwide of creating incredible hype around local events by posting weekly "survival tips" complete with images of happy, colorful people clearly having the time of their lives. That emotional link had people scrambling to buy tickets to an event that was very much unknown in most countries outside India. Tickets still sold out because clever Facebook and Twitter content marketing strategies showed people what they would be missing out on if they didn't buy their way into the action asap.
During: FOMO (fear of missing out) is a great thing to manipulate with exceptionally clever and well-placed content. Once at the event, you can build up the FOMO for those who decided not to buy a ticket by making every corner of the event seem like it's bursting with the most awesome occurrences of all time.
- Hashtag any occurrence within the event
- Check in so that the rest of the world knows how cool you are
- Have someone on Instagram patrol, photographing event attendees, instagramming them and hashtagging the smallest murmur of activity
- Upload video content as it happens
After: Those people who didn't buy tickets, but are following the event will be the first in line to buy tickets to the next one. For those who did attend, encourage them to leave their reviews on your event pages. Inspire responses and shares by putting together a short video that summarizes the event in 30 seconds, or a blog post complete with a few images and an overall summation of how it all went down.
Don't forget to send your thank you mails, status updates and tweets to remind attendees that they are the ones who made the event possible; keeping them hanging onto the last dregs of an awesome night and mentally making plans for the next one.
Image courtesy of: http://melissafoodie.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-to-write-food-blog.html