Attention is scarce. Grabbing and maintaining someone's interest has become an art that marketers are trying to master. Brands and companies are fighting for people’s attention and engagement, but it’s becoming more and more difficult with each passing day.
As one Forbes article summarizes, we upload more than 300 million photos per day, write more than 510,000 comments every minute, send 16 million text messages per minute, and watch more than 4 million videos each day.
Considering the avalanche of information we produce and consume on a daily basis, getting people’s attention is quite the challenge. That’s why many brands and companies have decided to create their own content to compete against popular Netflix series and YouTube videos.
What’s branded content? According to the Content Marketing Institute, "Branded content is a content creation tactic, typically produced through a sponsored or paid partnership between the brand and the media, that encourages audiences to engage with the brand based on its entertainment, information, and/or educational value." Some examples of branded content are The LEGO Movieor AirbnbMagazine.
While it seems almost impossible to win the attention war, being a daily content creator increases your chances of being noticed and followed.
What exactly does this have to do with the events industry? The same way companies want to grab and maintain people’s interest, we also need to fight for this online space and make sure people will pay attention to - and remember - our event. In some cases (especially when you hold edition-based events annually or more frequently), you’ll want to rethink your content marketing strategy and generate branded content.
Not sure how this might work? Check out all the different kinds of branded content you can use before, during, and after each event:
Pre-event content and content marketing
If you think that creating a blog or YouTube channel and publishing random content for a few months will be enough, you’re mistaken. You won’t get the results you want if you don’t publish content consistently and regularly.
So where should you start? First, decide what you want to accomplish through your brand content, such as raising awareness about your event, attracting more attendees, creating a community around the event brand, etc.
That’s your first obstacle to tackle.
Second, ask yourself who your target group is and what type of content they’d love to consume. Apart from that, ask yourself how your branded content can bring them value, whether through education or entertainment.
Finally, choose the specific type of branded content you want to create (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.) and determine a specific frequency and way to promote that content. Plus, don’t wait until the last minute - you (or your content team) should start creating branded content long before the event.
Content that transforms leads into attendees
Your branded content is not just a series of blog posts or videos scattered throughout the internet. On the contrary, your content should serve a clear purpose, and if you want to attract more leads, it can help you convert website or blog visitors into actual paying event guests.
However, the entire process may take some time. First, your lead needs to land on your page and read an article or listens to a podcast. Then, he or she may download an eBook you’ve prepared for them, leaving their email address in exchange for the piece of content.
Subsequently, you can use their email address for email marketing and send them valuable messages that will eventually make them decide to attend the event. This entire process will take a while, but you can definitely attract a decent number of attendees through your branded content efforts.
You’re not the only one who can create content. You can also team up with your sponsors and produce some useful and meaningful pieces of content.
These collaborations will give you more visibility (since the content will be cross-published and seen on your sponsors’ websites). In addition, it will help you strengthen your relationships with the brands and companies financing your event.
Creating content is not just something you should do right before the event. You should also produce content during the event. You can streamline the conference or the seminar you’re organizing via Facebook Live or YouTube, for example.
Or, if you don’t want to just freely 'give away' the entire event to people who didn’t pay to attend, you can prepare a series of Instagram Stories during the event with just the main highlights. This will help you share the gist of the event with the general public and hopefully persuade those who didn’t attend to register for your next event.
Halting content creation after an event and then waiting until just a few weeks before the next edition of the event to post anything else is a big mistake. This shows lack of consistency and interest in providing true value to your leads.
Never stop creating branded content. This is something that will keep your event relevant to your audience. And if you’re out of branded content ideas, you can always use the insights your speakers provided or the interviews you had with them during the event.
The key takeaway in this case is to have a clear content schedule and know what exactly you’ll be publishing. This way, you can create valuable content after the event and then share it with a larger audience.
Relying on branded content to promote your event or gain a larger outreach is a long-term game. Don’t expect a few pieces of content will do all the work for you and turn your event brand into a world-renowned name. However, by creating regular and meaningful content and having a strategy based on both your audience’s needs and your specific goals, you can always expect big results in the long run.