Michele Bruno, a noted information resource on both tradeshows and event marketing, addresses how organizations can enlist exhibitors in their efforts to switch to more content-oriented forms of marketing.
Two recent posts from Midcourse Corrections on leveraging content marketing and face-to-face events as part of a content marketing strategy, helped me visualize trade shows as content. As such, trade show organizers can begin to think about new ways to market their events and build their communities by becoming content curators, viewing their exhibitors as content producers, and positioning the live event as the “product” being offered for sale.
To adopt this line of thinking, exhibition producers must take one very big leap of faith by believing that the distribution of exhibitor content outside the framework of the live trade show will NOT diminish the value of the face-to-face event (the old “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free” adage) and will, in fact, drive attendance and exhibitor participation at the live event.
In the “tradeshows as content” strategy, exhibitors are reservoirs of content, filled to the brim with product brochures, white papers, product demos, press kits, video tutorials, and sales presentations. Organizers curate, and re-purpose these sales pitches into a continuous flow of solution-generating, idea-sparking, and valuable content that sells registrations.
The concept of exhibition organizers as content curators isn’t new. A decade ago, trade publications, owned by or in partnership with the exhibition producers, filled the role of curators by pushing exhibitors and attendees to the live event with ads, case studies, and editorial.
Today, event organizers have transcended print magazines (in many cases) and moved to other more profitable or far-reaching platforms for exhibitor content distribution: virtual trade shows, Webinars, online publications, blogs, and mobile apps. This move has solidified their positions as curators.
Here are some specific ways that exhibition organizers can tap into the vast content resources at their disposal to drive business:
- Create an online (accessible, searchable) resource library of exhibitor white papers, ebooks, case studies, how-to articles, and video tutorials.
- Appoint a content marketing officer to sift through exhibitor content and re-shape the resources to meet the needs of the audience.
- Make all of the content shareable on social media channels.
- Stop selling the event and start sharing the information.
- Create a steady (daily) flow of content accessible through one portal—the organization’s blog.
- Offer excellent content.
- Ask exhibitors to guest blog.
- Develop an editorial calendar that covers content from all of the market segments the show covers.
- Send frequent emails of curated exhibitor content (links back to the show blog) to an opt-in list of recipients.
- Highlight and promote content that exhibitors have created and posted on their own websites through the show blog.
- Take the content marketing to the trade show floor, as Jeff Hurt suggests, by asking exhibitors to demonstrate how they are innovators and providing more informal education on site.
To read the rest of this post, click http://forkintheroadblog.com/archives/marketing-trade-shows-as-content/. Posted with the permission of Michelle Bruno.
(Photo by Gavin Llewellyn)