Whether you’re planning your annual flagship conference, a series of corporate events, or anything in between, the right content strategy is an important success factor.
Creating content on social media and email marketing can help you get butts to seats, but there's plenty to be said about adding a blog to your overall strategy.
Building out a blog for your event can help you develop a loyal audience and collect and invaluable email list, both of which will contribute to greater event attendance in the future.
So called experts have told you how important it is to start a blog to promote your event. And that's where many event professionals fall into a trap - the overly-promotional, borderline spammy, no-value added blog.
The pitfall stems from one fundamental content question: what should our event blog be about? As an event organizer, you have the answer staring you in the face. Of course you should blog about your event.
However, the key to a successful event blog is to go deeper. If you spend too much time promoting your ticket sales, you’re not actually running an event blog—your placing ads on your own website.
Rather than falling into this common trap, you need to choose a focus for your event blog that truly serves your target audience. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
Tip #1: Remember Why People Attend Your Events
The first step for anyone trying to start a blog from scratch (or revive an old one) is to get in the right mindset. All too often people will take a “what’s in it for me” approach and drive straight toward an overly-promotional blog focus.
Instead, think about what attendees get out of your events. Are they looking for the inspiration needed to tackle a personal or business problem? Are they hoping to hear expert advice that will help them gain competitive advantages? Or are they simply hoping to engage with the right people and build their networks?
Whatever the answer, the value of your event should translate to the value of your blog. You wouldn’t turn your event into a complete sales pitch for your products and services, so you shouldn’t turn your blog into a sales pitch for the event.
Once you’ve gotten into the customer-first mindset, you can start brainstorming niches for your event blog.
Tip #2: Find Guidance in Speaker Topics
For many event organizers, the quality of speakers makes a major difference in the amount of tickets sold. Especially in the B2B world, people will travel far and wide to hear the latest tips, tricks, and advice from primetime keynote speakers.
If you’re struggling to figure out what your target audience would like to read about, look no further than the topics your speakers will cover.
While every speaker is unique, you should be able to identify an umbrella theme that will resonate with your audience. After all, there’s a reason why you brought all those speakers together for one event.
But there’s another trap you should avoid, here. Not all umbrella themes are created equal. There is such a thing as going too broad when choosing a blog focus. And that’s where our next tip comes into play.
Tip #3: Don’t Boil the Ocean on Your Blog
Content shock is real. With so much content constantly put in front of people’s faces every second of every day, it’s easy for yours to get tuned out. This idea is the basis for so many arguments against business blogging in general.
The problem isn’t that the internet has run out of space for your event blog. It’s that you can’t get by creating the same content that your target audience has seen a million times.
This becomes a problem when you choose a blog focus that’s far too broad. If you’re hosting an annual B2B marketing conference, you can’t start a brand new blog about “marketing tips.” That might be an umbrella that encompasses all of your speaker topics, but it’s far too broad to cut through the blogging clutter.
When choosing your event blog niche, get specific. Drill down into specific industries, specific subcategories within your broad focus, and specific problems that your team can solve for customers.
Just make sure not to go too far in the other direction. Sometimes an idea is good for an individual blog post but not an entire blog focus. There’s a fine line between the two, but there’s an easy to way to walk the tightrope.
As you come up with potential blog niches, try to come up with individual ideas for blog posts that you’d write. If you can only come up with one or two before starting struggle, maybe you went too specific. You should be able to quickly come up with rough ideas to last you a month or two.
Tip #4: Find Inspiration From Your Competition
“If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.”—Wilson Mizner
Someone somewhere has probably written about the topics you have in mind. That’s okay. Being 100% original is nearly impossible. That means your goal shouldn’t be to look at competitors and do something completely different. It should be to lean into your competitors and figure out where they’re falling short.
Whether your event is years old or you’re building toward the first iteration, you probably have a list of competing events in mind. Even if you’re a local event organizer, you can look to similar events held in other areas that share your same purpose.
Figure out which competitors have blogs that your target audience gravitates toward. Which posts are most popular? What do you think they can do better when it comes to blog content?
Evaluating successful competitors will help you build your own blogging path by showing you ways to take relevant topics and put your own spin on them.
The customer problems and needs might be the same, but your responses don’t have to be.
Tip #5: Talk to Your Attendees
We’ve saved what’s possibly the most important tip for last. As event organizers and marketers, we often get stuck in our own heads. We think that if we just come up with that one amazing idea, our customers will flock to us.
But in that constant search for new ideas, we lose sight of our most valuable research asset—the attendees. If you’ve already held events and built a feedback loop to improve your efforts, you have a pool of customers you can tap into for blogging insights.
Ask your attendees what they’d like to read about. What problems are they always trying to solve? What are their favorite resources currently? How can you help fill the gaps?
Only good things can come from talking to customers. And when it comes to finding a focus for your event blog, you might be surprised how many insights you’ll get from a simple conversation.
Above All, Provide Value
All of these tips pale in comparison to one simple rule—find a way to provide value to your target audience.
If your goal is to sell out all of your tickets right now, today, maybe trying to find a blog focus isn’t the best use of your time. But if you want to build a foundation for years of event marketing to come, delivering valuable blog content to your target audience can help you meet your goals.
The perfect blog focus is just one aspect of your overall event marketing engine. Once you’ve provided value to the target audience, you need the right tools in place to get that event running smoothly.