by Jenise Fryatt | Featured Contributor
To successfully market an event online where the emphasis is on social media, understanding and engaging with your target audience on a human level is vital.
To ensure you stay on the human-centered marketing path, here are eleven questions to ask before you get started.
What is the WHY of your event?
Why does your event exist? What is it’s ultimate purpose? Interview all relevant parties to get their answers to this question. The “why” will help you uncover the passion behind your event and THAT is what makes people register. For more on just why this is so important for your marketing, check out Simon Sinek’s famous TED Talk, “Start With Why.”
What are your objectives for your event marketing?
Of course you want people to register for your event. But how many? By what date? How many likes do you want for your Facebook page? How many retweets would you like to have every week? How many page views do you want to have every week on your website? Getting specific about your marketing goals will set you on a much clearer path toward success.
Who are your ideal attendees?
Create attendee personas – imaginary profiles of specific people within your target audience – to guide you in all of your online marketing. Be as detailed as you can. How old is “Adam Attendee”? What are his favorite past times? Is he an information grazer? Or does he enjoy deep dives into his topic of interest?
What words do your attendees use to search for your niche topic?
Interview current attendees or seek out attendees of similar events and ask them what words they use to find your event topic online. Also, brainstorm for words you might use to search for your event topic. Then go to Google Adwords Keyword Planner and put those words in the search box for useful info that will help guide your marketing and help your content rank higher in online searches.
Where do your attendees hang out online?
Ask current attendees or attendees from similar events where they find their tribe online. Use search engines, including social media-specific search engines to search the keywords you’ve identified for lively conversation on your specific topic. Check out the profiles of those engaged in these discussions. Follow these people. Are they using hashtags? Take note. You are looking for thriving communities where your target audience is engaging online. Use what you discover to begin contributing valuable content and building relationships.
What hashtag will you use for your event?
It should be short and fairly self-explanatory. Consider not using the numbers for the year that your event is taking place. Hashtags that can live year-round are easier to remember and continue to grow your online community with each successive event. Conduct searches for every hashtag you are considering. Make sure that no one is already using it.
What speakers can you interview for your content marketing?
Interviewing scheduled speakers is a great way to produce useful content and promote your event without appearing too self-promotional. Send them questions via email and publish a simple Q&A. Or interview them on a recorded Skype call that you embed on your blog. Make sure to include a call to action at the bottom of every post such as “For more valuable tips from Speaker Sam, join us August 10-13 at the Sensational Speaker Summit,” and include a link to your registration page.
How will you encourage user generated content about your event?
User generated content (UGC) is online content about your event that your attendees generate themselves. Because it’s tantamount to a third party recommendation, you want to encourage UGC in every way that you can. Let them know what hashtag to use early and often. Retweet their tweets and thank them when they post about your event. At the event, provide lots of photo opportunities. Create surveys and contests about your event directly on your blog or social media platforms. Make sure to display the social media activity on monitors posted around your event.
Who will be in charge of monitoring your hashtag and responding online during your event?
Make sure you or someone you designate is monitoring your event hashtag during the event so that you can address any complaints or problems in real time as they occur. The quicker you address issues, the quicker they can be fixed and the better your event, particularly your dedication to customer service, will appear to those watching online. Remember: everything you do or don’t do online is being watched. So it’s important that your words and deeds match up.
How will you capture content from sessions during your event?
The sessions at your event are goldmines of content for your marketing throughout the rest of the year. Whether you record them on video or audio or hire scribes to take notes, make sure you capture it. Your collection of captured content, otherwise known as blog-posts-in-the-making, will be very handy for creating the fresh, quality, content that search engines love.
How will you capture user generated content during your event?
User generated content from your event is another goldmine for your content marketing. Collect it using a free online tool such as Storify. Storify allows you to find user generated content from many different platforms, just by searching your keywords and hashtags. You can choose pictures, videos and links – whatever your target audience likes to share. Add an introduction, your own comments and a conclusion and you have a quality post created by you and your attendees that you can easily embed on your website.
Jenise Fryatt is well-known in content marketing and event marketing arenas.
As Content Marketing Strategist for Smarter Shift, she employs her knowledge on behalf of the company as well as its clients. She also served as moderator for three regular Twitter chats and founded the popular #ContentChat which focuses on topics of interest to content marketers.
As part owner in an audio visual company, Jenise has a special connection to the events industry. She’s been a regular blogger on various sites on the topics of social media and events and spent three years writing for the Cvent blog on the topic of digital marketing for events. She also co-authored two research papers for Meeting Planners International (MPI): one on The Strategic Value of Virtual Events and another on Hybrid Events.
However Jenise’s true passion is sustainable living. In addition to co-hosting The Sustainable Living Podcast, she lives on her own three acre homestead and is currently in the process of obtaining her Permaculture Design Certification.
A yoga instructor and long-time meditator, she integrates a mindful approach to all of her work and believes the key to this, and virtually every other problem, lies in cultivating a heart-centered life.