The first trick to nailing content marketing at events is to rethink what content means to you. When people hear “content,” they immediately think of text. Yet, can you really imagine promoting hundred and thousands of words – text – at an event?
If the event is worth anyone’s time, it’ll be filled with eye-dazzling attractions. Who is really going to stop to take the time to read your content?
Instead of thinking text, think multimedia. Why not set up an image display that on its own draws in curious passersby. You’ve created art, a visually stunning attraction, and are able to communicate a story by interweaving relevant images. The live photo stream should be accompanied by key communication tags that explain the overall message and a brochure or club card with more info (make sure the latter is visually branded). You can also have a kiosk where attendees can check in to learn more.
Southern California beach town community Belmont Shore took this approach at a recent art fair and drew in hundreds of onlookers who spent up to 10 minutes at the photo presentation. The presentation was simply set up: two pop-up tents with streams of string connecting pole to pole, with each inch of it filled with hanging photos and accompanying keywords that guided the visual narration.
Content can also take the form of streaming video that shares your core message. More ambitious content marketing can curate visual content (video and/or Instagram) throughout the event as long as the hosts have agreed to offer a spotlight platform where the medium can be shared. Doing this offers something of value to both event marketers and attendees and places your company and message centrally between the two. Instagram is in fact a great quick content marketing solution. Long before its cult popularity, giant retailers and small-time bloggers alike were flocking to the app to create visually stunning content.
Or you can take a cue from the event marketing chiefs at Red Bull, who’ve managed to successfully place Red Bull at central spots by – get this – not really making it about the drink. Red Bull’s emphasis on adventure and extreme sports guarantees it a place in that industry if for no other reason than like-minded companies and events desire an association with Red Bull. It’s a win-win.
In Red Bull’s case, “[the] idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story. The value returned is often that people associate good things with — and return to engage with — the brand.”
So the rule of thumb in event content marketing is to tell a story and use creative multimedia to achieve a visual narrative that can’t be ignored. Whether you’re a small time marketer with a very modest budget or can afford a larger campaign, staying away from boring text is key. Use text intelligently to move your story forward, but bear in mind that in an era were images are strong message conveyers, it would be event suicide to rely solely on text. Images work precisely because people by nature think in images. Our thoughts are in images, so give your customers a way to visualize your brand.