Event organizers and marketing managers need to address a multitude of details to launch a successful live event. To lessen the load, here is a run down of must-have content when planning an event. Keep in mind that ability, budget and leadership all influence what content actually gets created.
Build excitement and awareness with content that explains what the event is, whom it’s for, and why it’s worth attending. If it’s an annual event, the content also needs to convey what’s different about this year. Website pages, postcards, ads, video and emails are some of the common formats for this initial content.
Establish a theme
What ties all the content together? A theme gives writers and speakers a focus for content creation. It keeps the overall event message front and center. Your theme also serves as a platform for the agenda. For example, the Society For Hospitality and Foodservice Management uses a theme of “Envision The Future” for their annual event this year. A theme is not a stunt. It should reflect your brand or organization culture.
Create a website/page
Some conferences and events are included on an existing website under an Events tab and others have their own website URL. Having a separate website for your event gives you more content flexibility, better search engine optimization and adds value for your sponsors.
The National Restaurant Association designates a separate website for its annual NRA Show in Chicago. To keep up interest in the site between shows they offer online broadcasts as mini-events positioning themselves as a “Year Round Foodservice Hub.” It’s always good to add content to the site throughout the year, not just before, during and immediately following an event.
Whether you choose a separate website or add an event page on your existing site, you need content that includes a benefit driven headline, event description, location, dates and a call to action.
Include where and when the event starts and finishes as well as fees for the event before linking to a separate registration form. When appropriate, add a description and rates (discounts) of hotel accommodations being offered.
This includes dates, times, session titles, speaker name, company and title; and a compelling attendee-focused description of each session. If there are a lot of sessions, give an overview or Agenda-at-a-Glance and provide links to the session descriptions.
Session descriptions should contain a benefit and stir excitement about learning something attendees can only find at this event. Here’s a portion of a session description from a conference: “This case study presents a front-line account of how misinformation, competing agendas and the power of social media took a safe, healthy product off the market and nearly brought down a food company.”
Most presenters will submit bio content to the event organizer. However, this content often needs to be edited for word count, style and tone in order to present a consistent and easy to read experience for potential attendees. Headshots of each speaker should be obtained and included with the bio.
Whatever sponsor criteria you’ve identified for the event, offer priority content positioning to sponsors who have invested the most. Sponsor descriptions are often submitted by the marketing team but these too need to be edited for a consistent style and word count. Include logos and links to their websites.
Emails should be well crafted while promoting and executing an event.
Call for speakers. Content includes a description of the event and audience, dates, as well as suggested topics to be addressed. If you don’t get the response you were hoping for, follow up with an email on “Benefits to speaking at the event” and later a “Last chance to submit” email.
Sponsorships. Send an invitation to companies and organizations to participate at the event as a sponsor. Describe different categories of sponsorship, venue and benefits of being a sponsor.
Here are some email subjects to keep the event momentum going:
Early bird registration deadline
Welcome for registrants
Follow up thank you for attending
Write press releases for a targeted list of trade and industry publication editors.
Write articles that address topics in the publications’ editorial calendars.
Include photos and video with articles and press releases.
Write a guest blog that mentions the event.
Check your organization’s social media policy before using social media to promote your event. Here are some general ways to promote your event with social media content:
- Create a unique hashtag and use it to generate social buzz online.
- Tweet at least twice a day. Mention speakers, sponsors, trending topics and use hashtags.
- Post on Facebook two to three times per week. Have photos ready for posts.
- Mention the event in a LinkedIn post or on a targeted group discussion page.
- Add any videos to YouTube and use the link in social posts.
- Designate someone to tweet live and post to Facebook during the event.
- Monitor all mentions of the event and respond to those mentions.
Below is more content to consider.
Add a blog to your event website to generate more content, more views and more interaction with your event. Create an editorial calendar and post regularly.
This may seem like a lot of content but when it is well planned, well crafted and well executed you will see results. Don’t scramble for something to say about your event. A content marketing plan for the conference or live event should be created well in advance of the event date.