From the Trenches

How to Turn Attending Events into Awesome Content Marketing

Right Source | May 11, 2012

Creating a lot of engaging, quality content is tough. We’ve all got a lot on our plates. But especially if a big selling point for your company is expertise and knowledge, if your team attends conferences or work-related events, you’ve got content.

Writing about events you’re attending is a key part of any content marketing strategy. It puts you in a thought leadership position without a speaking gig, gets you exposure without the bill for a booth, and validates your expertise in the eyes of clients and prospects. Not to mention, conference or event organizers, speakers, and attendees are likely to read and share what you create, broadening your audience. And a bonus: original content gives you something other than “Glad to be here” to tweet on the event hashtag.

Of course, when you’re headed to a conference, you’re extra busy travelling and trying to keep up with work that’s not getting done while you’re away. Never fear: You can create content about an event even before you go.

Below are different types of content you can create before, during, or after an event. Pick a few that will be quick and easy to execute because of your particular skill set, plan ahead, and coordinate with team members who stayed behind to help make it happen.

  1. Write about what you’re looking forward to. Why are you going? What sessions are can’t-miss? Write a quick post about what you’re most excited about, and your target audience—as well as any speakers you’re looking forward to meeting—will eat it up. Check out this post about Content Marketing World for an example.
  2. Curate content about the event from around the web. Are other attendees creating content? Pull it all together in one post, and you’ll have major share candy for anyone included. For example, the organizers of Content Marketing World created this post.
  3. Design an infographic about the conference. If you’re a designer, create a conference infographic. For a pre-event infographic, grab some data about conference speakers and attendees beforehand. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, create infographics about the conference as it’s going on, like JESS3 did at LeWeb ’11. Of course, you can wait until after the conference to create recap infographics, too.
  4. Create a Twitter list of attendees and speakers. Add anyone who tweets on the event hashtag to a custom Twitter list of speakers and attendees. Event attendees will thank you for helping them find each other. For an example, check out the list our client Popper and Co made for TEDMED.
  5. Live blog a session. Before the 2011 event, Content Marketing World organizers asked a bunch of bloggers to claim a session to “live blog.” For the post I wrote, I cheated a bit by writing the intro and outlining a structure beforehand. At the session, instead of taking notes, I created a blog post as I was listening. Then Content Marketing World’s team proofread and posted the content for me immediately after the session. Here’s the post, as an example.
  6. Take live notes. If you’re a quick typist, try taking live notes at events. I do this a lot using Google Docs. My typo-ridden, but thorough, notes have gotten me lots of kudos and even a free t-shirt (thanks @jasonkeath!). Here’s notes from Social Fresh Baltimore, for an example. Tip: Change your Google Doc settings so anyone can edit and watch your typos magically disappear as readers make fixes.
  7. Wrap up a session. If you’re not quite up to live blogging or note taking, take good notes privately and then turn them into a blog post a few days later. Here’s my wrap of @cc_chapman’s Social FreshBaltimore presentation, as an example.
  8. Expand on a session. Attend events that aren’t quite in your target audience’s niche? Write a post about how what you learned applies to your audience. For example, check out my social media marketing spin on Maryland Governor O’Malley’s Tweetup.
  9. Collect takeaways. Instead of just wrapping up one session, recap your favorites from the whole event. Write about a few lessons you learned, and boom, there’s your post. Here’s an example, from Social Fresh Baltimore.
  10. Take a short video of quotes from the crowd or a fun moment. Got a smart phone? Grab a vid. Ask attendees “What’s your biggest takeaway from today?” or capture a fun moment as it happens. For example, see @noordnrycherry‘s quick video of @nichole_kelly‘s antics at Social Fresh (warning, put your headphones before turning this on at work).
  11. Create a LiveBinder. If you’re a born organizer, create a LiveBinder of online conference materials. With a LiveBinder, you can create tabs to house different types of content. Thanks to @kimbagreen for spreading the word about this cool tool—check out her binder for Social Fresh Baltimore.

Remember: Creating content focused on events won’t pay off if no one knows about it. Tweet it, post it on the event’s Facebook or LinkedIn group, and/or simply shoot an email to the organizers and ask them to share.

Now, it’s your turn—how have you taken advantage of an event to fuel your content marketing efforts? Comment and add your ideas and input.


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