As 2015 ramps up, many organizations are fleshing out this year’s event calendar. Whether they’re client conferences, road shows, or other forums or symposiums, such events can provide an effective opportunity for companies to bring value to clients, demonstrate authority and expertise, and engage in business development through the identification of prospective clients.
I’ve been involved in organizing several such events over the years, and I know the hard work that goes into crafting a compelling program that brings maximum value to attendees, including securing knowledgeable, high-quality speakers to deliver that information.
For many companies presenting such events, though, everything ends once the audience leaves the room. Aside from the bills, a bit of client goodwill, and some prospect info, there’s little more to show for the now-completed event.
So how do you add more lasting value to the event mix?
I suggest that as organizations plan the details of their 2015 events they give simultaneous thought to the communications and content strategies associated with those events.
Awhile back, my Leff Communications colleague Scott Leff likened the event-planning experience of many organizations to the circus coming to town: magnificent spectacle while it lasts but the details forgotten soon afterward. Scott suggested that maximizing post-event communications opportunities is an essential element of maintaining engagement with attendees and ensuring their attendance at your next event. I agree entirely, and I’d like to expand the discussion to recognize other audiences to be reached and benefits to be won.
In addition, well-crafted content derived from the event should be used to provide value to interested parties and prospective clients who were unable to attend the event in person. In this way, your event calendar can reach far beyond your organization’s physical attendance to demonstrate your authority in a given area of expertise.
During the event itself, communications might include social media activities such as live tweeting, a designated hashtag, or a daily email update that could include both brief articles and video capturing event highlights. Post-event content can also take a variety of forms, including written articles, video, or even post-event webinars with key participants. This content can be housed on your organization’s website and, if appropriate, linked to on social media.
As the explosive growth of services like YouTube and Vimeo demonstrates, video is a fantastic way to grab the attention of your target audience. But when it comes time to create compelling event videos, remember that single-camera recordings of sessions or presentations is just one way to go. Oftentimes, a better approach is to offer more dynamic video presentations, such as interviews with speakers delving into the subjects they addressed or perhaps narrative pieces teasing out key subjects. This tactic allows you to continue creating value for attendees and non-attendees alike by covering ground that wasn’t reached during the event itself.
Ultimately, by combining an effective content strategy with your event plans, you can not only keep the memories of the circus alive in those who were there but also share key aspects of what went on under the big top with others who couldn’t attend or, perhaps, weren’t even aware the circus was in town. In the process, your team can realize more opportunities to convince your target audience that your organization is, in fact, the Greatest Show on Earth.