Last week’s blog focused on how marketers can justify events in their 2014 budgeting. We suggested pointing out to top management that marketing events are the most powerful form of content marketing. Content development and distribution, surveys show, is garnering a growing share of the marketing budget.
Content marketing is the practice of getting appropriate types and amounts of information to prospective buyers in a timely and efficient manner. It gives buyers insights into their business. The goal is to drive leads, and ultimately sales.
Compelling content engages prospects, moves them further along in the sales cycle, and draws them to your events—the ultimate content channel. What are the attributes of compelling content?
- It’s relevant. It deals with the buyer’s world and the buyer’s issues, not yours.
- It’s truly valuable. It doesn’t dwell on what they already know. Value comes in three ways:
- New information the recipient didn’t know before.
- Analytical insight that helps buyers make sense of information and think of actions they can take.
- Advice on how to take advantage of an opportunity, avoid pitfalls, mitigate risks, or survive a tough market.
An internet search will deliver a lot of online content about content marketing. But not all is compelling. Here are a few of value:
- “Your audience doesn’t need to be sold to — they need information. … Think about changing the mantra from always be closing, to always be helping. ” From Toprankblog.com, quoting LinkedIn VP Jonathon Lister.
- “Think of white papers, case studies, infographics, blogs and more as casting baited lines out into the water. If what you’re sharing is the right kind of content you’ll get plenty of interest and hopefully reel fish of all sizes into the boat.” From Chief Marketer, quoting Jane Buck, an expert in customer acquisition.
- 10 approaches to creating content when you don’t have breaking news to share regularly. From Amazon’s page promoting “Content Rules,” a highly acclaimed content marketing book by Ann Handley.
- Chief Marketer’s Holly Hamann wrote a great article, “11 Ways to Turn One Piece of Long-form Content into Dozens More.” Examples: turn an e-book into a webinar , turn the webinar into multiple blog posts, post a presentation on a site like SlideShare, record the webinar and offer it as complimentary content on the website, and post links to everything on social media.
In your content, especially content in your marketing events, resist the temptation to shift into blatant “sales mode.”
At the event, remember that communication is a two-way street. You want to seize opportunities to listen to your audience. Survey them in real time using smartphone apps, or use any available means to gather feedback. Organize panels, round table discussions, and plenty of opportunities for peer interaction. Interview existing customers and gather information for case histories.
Coming out of an event, you have huge opportunities – not only for more content, but also for expanded engagement with those who attended. I want to explore that in a third blog – yes, I said this was going to be a two-part series, but this topic merits one more!
Next week: How to turn an event audience into an ongoing interest group.