If the goal of your content marketing program is to get the very best of your organization’s message out to the widest possible audience, your latest conference is probably a good place to look for source material.
But you’re in for a big disappointment if that material was captured in the wrong format.
When most of our work was in meetings and events, we saw it all the time: Organizations that spent weeks or months assembling brilliant conference programs that essentially disappeared the day after participants went home. Actually, “disappeared” came in a few different flavours:
- The content was never republished or repurposed after the event.
- The content was hidden behind a user-pay firewall, so that only a small fraction of the target audience ever saw it again.
- The content was captured on video, and the files were posted online. The images were limited to talking heads at a podium, but the material was perfectly accessible to anyone who had hours to scroll through verbatim detail of sessions they barely had time to attend the first time.
- For bonus points, the video was synced to PowerPoint slides. But users still had to sit through an hour of synced video for every hour of session time, or take almost as long trying to pinpoint the specific comment they were looking for.
Whichever way the material disappeared, two things were true: Content management became an easy, cheap solution for time-challenged, budget-crunched event planners. And the archive was essentially useless to anyone who wanted to follow up or take action after the conference ended.
None of this should be acceptable to any content marketer who sees members, customers, conference participants, or prospective participants as primary stakeholders. And it shouldn’t be necessary when it’s so easy to micro-target content to specific audiences via social media. Depending on the topic, the audience, and the surrounding context, your audience might be looking for:
- A longer or shorter session summary
- A thematic overview of an entire event
- A speaker interview
- An infographic
- A five- to 10-minute audio podcast
- An audio podcast illustrated with still photos that are infinitely more interesting and informative than…wait for it…another talking head at the podium.
But your audience isn’t necessarily looking for video, and they rarely need verbatim content. By ignoring that reality, the meetings industry performs a kind of reverse alchemy, taking material that may be as valuable as gold and turning it into a lump of useless lead. That’s what makes traditional conference video obsolete.
Years ago, the renowned energy analyst Amory Lovins compared the U.S. nuclear industry to a dinosaur with its head cut off—the beast was dead, he said, but could be expected to thrash around for a while until the message got from its head to its tail. Some day soon, we may find ourselves looking at conference video in much the same way. Participants don’t have time for verbatim content, and there are enough alternatives out there that they shouldn’t have to put up with it. Meeting planners may not have the time (and some of them may not have the inclination) to respect their audiences’ content needs, but content marketers can and should insist on it.
(Photo by kevinzim)