Everybody is talking about Content Marketing, but what is it really? The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Content marketing is not just about selling, or advertising, your services and products. It’s about building trust and relationships with your customers through reliable and valuable content.
Tradeshow organizers begin marketing their event far in advance of the actual event dates with a focus on selling space and sponsorships to exhibitors and then selling registrations to attendees. What if there was a way to make the “selling” to exhibitors and attendees a little easier? Content marketing could be the answer.
Content marketing needs to happen continually, year-round, rather than during targeted time periods leading up to the event. If done correctly, content marketing can work on a daily basis to grow your fan base, show that you are an expert in your field, and set your event apart from its competitors. Ideally you want your audience to feel passionate towards your cause, product, or service. If they do, then the ‘selling’ becomes much easier.
And when your audience full heartedly believes in you then they turn into brand ambassadors, promoting your event for you. Exhibitors will begin ‘selling’ your event to their customers who in-turn are your potential attendees. The trickle down affect of content marketing can be huge for tradeshow marketers.
This sounds great! How do I get started? Of course having and building your online presence is a huge factor. Start with a blog, YouTube page, and social media pages. You will want to post often, however, keep the content rich, engaging, and personable. Look beyond the traditional posts about early bird specials and headliner sponsors and speakers. Consider what your organization can offer the industry. Do you have research, statistics, interviews with industry leaders, or tips of the trade that would be of interest to your exhibitors and attendees? This type of message conveys that you are a thought leader and expert in your field. Remember to retain a human element to your messages. This helps to build trust with your audience and leads to more sharing of your content. Sharing of your information online can increase your SEO rating, your reach, and therefore grow the size of your potential audience.
During your event be sure to capture and take advantage of all the content that is being created during the show days. Think about testimonials, video capture, interviews, statistics, the list could go on. This content can help to carry you through to your next event. Also, don’t discount the importance of face-to-face interactions to foster the relationships you have built through your content marketing leading up to the event. Show time is the right time to let your bloggers, social media posters, and other contributors be made available to meet with their fans and followers in person.
Empower your exhibitors with tools for sharing your marketing content. For example, the Attendee Acquisition Widget makes it effortless for exhibitors to tell their website customers about your event. Also, exhibitors may follow your lead and use their online eBooth to post engaging content for attendees to see leading up to the event. Exhibitors should view the eBooth as a channel for connecting potential customers to their website and social media pages that are rich with content.
Everyone has a story to tell. Make sure you tell yours!
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