Content marketing is all about doing several different things for your brand, generating leads, ensuring brand awareness and acquiring customers. However, it is a complex business and to get the most out of it, it must be planned.
As part of that planning every activity that puts your company or brand into the public eye needs to form a part of that content marketing plan and as attendance at trade shows is often one of your largest marketing expenditures, this too must be integrated into the plan. Even attendance as a visitor, if the show is not in your home town, can prove expensive for your marketing budget, so again should be planned.
Philip Ingram from Security Media Publishing, a leading content marketing provider, looks at the trends and advice for making the most out of your content marketing strategy and your visit to Intersec 2017.
The first thing that must be defined in any plan before you even begin to think of allocating resources, is what is the effect you are trying to achieve? This sounds simple but is something that is worth spending a bit of time getting right as once this is defined then the activities, resources and budget needed to achieve that effect can be mapped. Achieving brand awareness in a new area is a different effect and will require different activities, to developing 500 leads.
Defining what you are trying to achieve will allow you to design your content output and then use the most effective platforms to get that message to where it needs to go. Equally important are the indicators needed to check you are making progress with your marketing activities to achieve the effect you have defined. Indicators must be carefully thought through so that you don’t let your marketing team “kid you” that you are getting good return on investment (ROI). “I am frightened at the number of companies who still count stand footfall as their key ROI indicator,” said Ingram.
So, having made the decision to take a stand at a trade show I am sure you want to get maximum return for your investment. It is critical therefore, that you don’t see the trade show as an event that occurs between two dates at a specific place and rely on the audience drawn through the doors by the event organisers; hoping they will visit your stand and stop.
You must plan pre-event activities to draw people to your stand by stimulating their interest and then ensure a post-show series of activities to reinforce the message you gave to your visitors whilst informing those who didn’t make it, as to what they missed. Maxine Davenport, Head of Client Services at FortuneWest, a leading PR and Marketing form, told Ingram how important it was to: “Be prepared, do as much as you can before the event including having at least your first round of communications ready to go as a follow up from meetings, even if it’s just a holding email.”
Your pre-event activities should be aimed at creating a need in the targeted audiences to want to come and visit you at the event. Remember, event organisers want as much footfall as possible so there are many ways they can help you with this. The key to engaging with clients, current and future, is value adding content. The more you can give that informs, adds value or stimulates thought, the more likely they are to engage. According to a recent B2B Content Marketing Report produced by Holger Schulze, Group Founder B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn, the top content products for generating engagement are, “Case Studies followed by best practices, then “how to” guides and market trends. Less than 25% of people are interested in product related outputs and even fewer (17%) on competitive comparisons.”
Schulze went on to say, “In addition to being the most effective content subject, case studies are also the most effective content marketing tactic. Blogging moves down to a close second and surprisingly, the number of marketers who mentioned social media as an effective marketing tactic drops significantly from 64 percent in our last survey to 36 percent this year.”
Writing the content is one thing but seeking audience engagement is as critical and how it is posted out must be considered alongside what is to be posted. “LinkedIn again tops the list of the most effective social media platforms to deliver content and engage audiences. This year, YouTube moves to second and Twitter moves down a rank to third.” Confirmed Schultze.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, next to Google and is owned by Google. However, it coming as the second most effective social media platform emphasises the importance of video as a platform in your content marketing mix. Cisco quote that by 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video. Its naturally engaging, if a picture paints 1000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million according to Forrester’s research. Axonn Research found 7 in 10 people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them.
With video, short targeted videos that can be easily distributed via LinkedIn or Twitter give an ideal way of reminding your show visitors of what they saw or informing those who didn’t make if of what they missed. However, you should remember to keep the content flowing after the event so customers come to you because they have built up a trust in your message. Preparing the ground before an event will reap benefits at the event, and these must be exploited post event, otherwise you will have failed to plan your marketing so you should plan to fail your investment.