This Guide will enable you to:
Events — conferences, panels, live one-on-one interview sessions, and keynotes — are now a key component of many organizations’ marketing mix. They can serve a number of purposes: awareness, lead generation, community building, customer retention and even revenue (by way of sponsorships and attendee entrance fees).
For many organizations, events are seen as a way to showcase authority and influence, highlight work and expertise, present original research or even act as a way to promote certain initiatives. Events are also used to bring together partners or vendors – for example, Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, an annual event that demos new technologies, presents thought leadership via executives and acts as a meeting point for its customers.
Regardless of an event’s goals and structure, those that are useful, interesting and worth attending, typically have one thing in common: They’re strongly rooted in a brand’s editorial and publishing strategy. Advanced brand publishing operations extend efforts from written content to live content seamlessly, without loss in quality.
Whether hosted virtually, live, pre-taped or physically inside a hotel ballroom or convention center, effective events are a real-life demonstration of the stories the brand is already telling via other channels and mediums. Therefore, they should begin, just as editorial strategy planning did, with a clear understanding of the target audience and editorial purpose. They should also apply storytelling principles the way articles and posts do by ensuring sessions have the right format and are presented in an effective and interesting way. And brand publishers should also ensure they don’t extend the event’s longevity by turning the event content itself into other editorial content.
Successful events are typically underpinned by the following:
- Clearly defined target audiences, themes and topics. Any successful event boils down to the value and insight it provides to a specific audience.
- Well-structured sessions and formats. Events with engaging and interactive sessions prove far more effective than those that rely on stale, cookie-cutter platforms. Great content and speakers can often fall flat if they’re constrained by outdated formats and unimaginative packaging, so it’s best to stick to methods proven to appeal to the target audience.
- High-quality speakers and participants. Events often succeed at the points above and fail at the last hurdle by booking lackluster speakers or mishandling their expectations and freedoms. Working with speakers, to get the most from their participation, adds value for all parties.
This Guide will walk through the points above, and provide a practical framework that can be implemented, immediately, to begin planning successful event content.
Creating an effective event planning team
The first step in planning for event content is in structuring a team correctly. This is because a dedicated event team, whether made up of content professionals, writers, managers and professional event planners, is necessary to ensure that the event mirrors editorial strategy and is a good, tangible expression of brand publishing in which the company is already engaged.
Some companies, depending on how advanced they are, may already have an event team on hand, while others may ask staffers from the publishing arm to step in as de facto event organizers.