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From a content marketing standpoint, industry-relevant trade show events can be a golden, eye-opening opportunity. Where else can you hear the literal voices of your target market, see the faces of your buyers, or connect with prospects directly in-person? As an introvert, you might assume that even the world is not enough to get me into a packed convention hall (and if not for my own nerdy coping mechanism, you’d be right), but as events have consistently sparked some of my most effective content ideas, I can never really say never again. My trick, (inspired by a slight idolization of James Bond) is to imagine that I’m a kind of content marketing secret agent, and each event is like a mission to gather intelligence and establish connections. Through this method – as nerdy as it may be – you can actually find a view to a killer combination of content marketing tactics  that you or your own content agents can use in infiltrating relevant events.

Event Intel is Not For Your Eyes Only:

For all the benefits of in-person events, the most obvious drawback is that time is limited – when the event is over, so is the associated intrigue. When content directly recounts or rehashes the event, that content likewise comes with a short shelf life. However, by using an event to gather intel on your industry – investigating the pain points behind the presentations you see, pinpointing patterns in the interests of the people you talk to, identifying the conversation topics that excite people over drinks – you can uncover the secret blueprints to your buyers. As content marketing research shows, aligning content to specific stages and pain points within the buyer’s journey yields 73% higher conversion rates, on average, compared to those not doing so.  Using events today to fuel aligned content tomorrow is a valuable strategy- especially since tomorrow never dies…

Listen to How Buyers Live, and Let Die any Assumptions:

Beyond the practical professional conversations, events often unlock the day to day challenges common to your target audiences as well. For the Human Capital Management (HCM) industry, for example, people often assume the policy-oriented professional life of HR professionals carries over into their personal demeanor. A single conversation at an HCM event, however, would quickly disprove such an assumption, and in fact, successful HCM blogs like HR Bartender actually focus their content on the kinds of topics you’d only uncover in natural face-to-face conversations. In other words, a big part of the value in events is the ability to immerse yourself in the lives of your target audience in order to achieve genuine empathy and understanding within your content.

Create Content Connections In Case the Sky Falls:

Aberdeen research shows that 92% of content marketers manage content creation entirely, or almost entirely in house, but what happens when your in-house bandwidth gets full? Who do you turn to for help? Events offer a unique opportunity to expand your network of peers, influencers and advocates who may be able to collaborate with or contribute to your own content efforts. From establishing third party validated insights, to submitting guest posts to fill your content calendar, building new professional relationships at events can translate to securing strong content marketing allies.

Naturally, these are just a few of the advantages in enriching your content marketing with in-person events, but do you have any additional insights or experiences on connecting events with content?  Feel free to share your own eventful stories, secrets, tips or tricks in the comments below – after all, you only live twice…

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