How companies can get even more bang out of their event sponsorship and attendance

Estimated read time: 7 minutes


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Events are really a great way for content marketers, vendors and speakers to connect.

Longtime event host Chris Burdge told me on the Business Storytelling Podcast that events just help people connect at a different level. It’s face-to-face, hopefully distraction free and you can learn together. And business deals can get done. Chris ran Social Media Camp in Victoria, CA, before selling it after 10 years.

Contact me here if you need help with your event strategy and coverage to create more buzz

When I spoke at his event and attended that was very much the case that I was speaking to people and engaging with people very differently from the typical quick social media interaction online. For example, I held a round table where we talked about content marketing and search engine optimization.

Face-to-face matters and can help everyone involved be more successful. But why not amplify content, interactions and other things that happened at the event into your other channels like:

    Social media
    Podcasts
    Live video
    Blog posts
    Etc.

This digital amplification also needs to go deeper than posts like this:

“We are at <event hashtag>. Stop by booth xxxxx.”

‘We had such a great time at <event hashtag>. Bye.”

Tell stories that matter and that highlight your expertise.

Covering Stories at Your Events

I talked with FOMO creator May King Tsang about this topic on the Business Storytelling Podcast.

Basically, she – similarly to what I do with clients – covers conferences for clients on their behalf.

She tweets, posts videos, interviews people and more. Her appearance is branded as well, so while she focuses on digital amplification, she also represents the brand locally through the brand logo on the microphone, for example.

Finding Your Niche

As is the case for many digital marketing projects and campaigns: Find your niche.

  • What will be covered that is different from others at the show?
  • What content can only you share or that you can add unique perspectives to
  • Attending strategic sessions can also help.

An example: An expert whom you don’t and consider a competitor and maybe somebody you may want to consider working with gives an interesting talk. Consider covering it or – perhaps better – interview them for a podcast or live social media video after the talk is done. Listening to the talk while also live tweeting it from the brand account can help you ask better questions during the podcast.

Hire veteran journalist and influencer to promote and cover your event

That way you share valuable content and are connecting with people you want to connect with. Usually others in the room will also notice that your brand is engaged. Some may even be jealous, which I would take as a compliment, especially if they are competing brands. Make sure to let your brand lead know.

Read next: Anecdotes can be measurements

Determine Your Goals

Pick something you can measure and strive for.

For example, some conferences and SaaS vendors publish Twitter lists from conferences:

    Who tweeted the most
    Engagement
    Most reach – which is usually your followers x number of tweets
    Etc.

Try to get on those lists, which is added exposure. Some conferences don’t publish lists and it can be hard to figure out when they do and don’t. Either way: You won’t end up on a list if you are not posting content.

You may also consider working with a vendor that creates lists and ask them to do one for a show you are attending. Or you can be the one publishing a list! There are plenty of tools out there you can sign up for.

  • Setting a content output goal can also help:
  • This many tweets

    This many podcasts
    This many livestreams – pending good wifi
    This many blog posts

Workflow

  • Somebody has to do the work and content creation does take time. You can appoint somebody on the team with the right skill set, which include:
  • Can talk to anyone

    Asks good interview questions
    Sounds good on podcasts and video
    Knows the industry well enough to ask good (follow-up) questions

Or you can hire help.

Then determine the workflow. I like to follow this roughly:

    Post tweets live
    Some Facebook updates here and there, but Facebook often gets way less engagement for events for text only.
    IG Stories is a great to get content out there. Make sure Instagram is tight to your Facebook page so the Stories show up in both places.
    Post a video to Facebook per day
    Record a podcast and livestream via Periscope if wifi allows.
    Publish podcast
    Write an article from the podcast content
    Distribute the article

Pick Channels

The channels do matter and for events I usually recommend Twitter. That’s where hashtags are used for events and many conferences now publish an “official” hashtag.

Podcasts are another favorite. They are easy to produce and upload through the Anchor app. Distribution is automatic.

Articles on the website still work as well, but can take longer to produce so unless you can write while listening to a session, for example, I would do these last. Still on the same day is preferred.

Sample Plan

I try to prioritize based on ease of platform and content asset. Audio uploads are way easier than video uploads, for example.

First, before you go, make sure you have all the devices you need:

    Smartphone
    Mobile charger
    Tablet
    Laptop
    Mic if necessary
    Lighting if necessary
    Sign into all the accounts you need to post from before going. (Finding and getting passwords can be time-consuming and the people who have the passwords might not be available right when the conference starts).
    Think of clothing. When I represent a brand I like wearing some of their swag if it fits and looks decent. I used to wear suits, which works sometimes, but makes video production harder. Also, when conferences are outside be aware of that.

  • Here are the items I usually take to conferences.

Once on-site I like to prioritize.

    Podcasts are usually next on my list because they are easy to produce and really show off brand leaders and other experts’ personality.
    Video next. I love video, but the problem is I can’t usually publish it right then, unless I have a shortish take that works. If it’s possible to shoot a good story in one take, go for it and upload it to the different channels like YouTube, Facebook, etc. (Example: I’m currently uploading a six-minute video on so-so wifi to my YouTube channel and it’s taking about 40 minutes. And I have to stay in the YouTube app and can’t use that phone for anything else.)
    Live streams – These are hit and miss due to wifi or data connectivity so I try them but don’t make them a huge priority.
    Articles
    Follow-up articles

If you like put numbers to this plan. For example shoot for:

    30-50 tweets
    1-3 podcasts
    1-3 videos
    1-3 livestreams
    1 article

Once the show starts it’s easy to forget about the different types of content we had planned to produce. I’ve been there as well. Oh, I haven’t done a livestream. Whoops.

Consider making a checklist on your phone or small piece of paper and check deliverables off as they are done.

Conclusion

Attending events is an investment – financially and time wise. Employees often fly there, set up booths and are meeting with people nonstop.

Amplifying the experience on digital channels can help get more bang out of the event buck. With good planning and the right skill sets it’s possible.

Contact me here if you want help with your event coverage!