What goes on before a business exhibition plays a crucial role in making it a success. Consequently, it makes sense for event organisers and exhibitors to have a content strategy in place.
It is rare for an event to simply sell itself, unless it already has such an established reputation that the mere announcement of it attracts people.
This applies to the Glastonbury Festival, for example, but it is much less likely to be true of most business exhibitions.
To ensure success for the business exhibition itself, and for those exhibiting at it, it means putting in the necessary preliminary work, and a large proportion of this should focus on content marketing.
Making Content Work for Events
“Firstly, it’s not a case of content alone doing the job. It’s about content marketing. In other words, you want your content to affect people’s actions and behaviour.”
The point of content in this context is to raise awareness, both of the event and of its exhibitors. But why?
“The why is always the most important thing. What are your objectives in using content to market your business exhibition?”
There might be several objectives tied up in raising awareness:
- Attract more attendees to the event
- Attract prospects for exhibitors
- Cross-sell services, products or opportunities to attendees
- Drive attendees to specific exhibition stands
Then there is the issue of who you are targeting with your content.
“Given that exhibitions will typically have a broad range of exhibitors, there is going to be a correspondingly diverse target audience, or selection of audiences.”
A content strategy for exhibitions must look at who these various audiences are, and what kind of buyer personas they will include.
What Sort of Content Works Best?
“Content can come in many different forms. It might be images, videos, audio or written words.”
“But regardless, one thing that is highly effective in attracting the interest of audiences and engaging them is storytelling.”
This is about finding a focus for your content.
“Finding your story, the hook that will attract audiences to your brand, is the key.”
“It’s about looking at their pain points and finding a way to illustrate how you can address and ease them, without resorting to direct sales messages.”
Where to Share and Distribute Content?
Along with the nature of the content itself, there is the crucial issue of which channels to use to help ensure it reaches its target audience.
“This goes back to understanding your audience and what platforms they use, and where you’re most likely to be able to engage with them.”
One powerful means of making content attractive to target audiences is using a third-party platform.
“This is all the difference between you doing the talking, and someone talking about you. It’s a form of credibility-building, and it’s an ideal channel for event marketing.”
M3 Media Publishing’s portfolio of sector-specific magazines provides this kind of third-party platform for powerful storytelling.
After the Event
“What happens after your business exhibition is as vital as your preparation for it, and what goes on during it.”
Content continues to add value as a vital means of following up leads.
“If you’ve tailored your content to attract a target audience, you must persevere in engaging with them after the event by refining and repurposing your content to help firm up your connections”
Many exhibitors fail to follow-up leads and develop prospects after an event. Effective follow-ups should be both relevant and timely.
“Don’t let your content go to waste,” David concludes. “It’s a vital strategic tool in your event marketing.”