Why events are the pinnacle of great B2B content marketing

Can you create content that people will pay to experience?

Marketing marches to a digital beat. That, at least, is the perceived wisdom – but things are not so simple.

Digital has claimed the lion’s share of marketing budgets, and rightly so. Vast reach, relatively low cost, infinite adjustment and immediate analytics all make digital the starting point for almost any campaign.

When it comes to B2B marketing, however, digital may not be enough.

Is it time your brand took a bolder step into the real world?

Trade shows

Event marketing comes in all shapes and sizes. There is the stand at the trade show where you hope for footfall and perhaps use printed content to sow the seeds of interest and prompt further enquiry.

This can be worthwhile ‘top of funnel’ activity, and there are some events where your brand must be seen – even if there’s little evidence of direct revenue generation.

Speaker slots

Visit any trade show and you’ll find numerous stages with talks taking place throughout the day. These speaking slots are normally packaged with the price of a stand but that doesn’t stop most of the talks being well attended.

There were queues around the block to listen to the keynotes at the recent B2B Marketing Show at ExCeL London, and attending such talks is the main reason that many attend.

Securing a prime speaking slot is a great way to promote your brand but is only worthwhile if the audience is right, and, crucially, if what you’re saying (the content) is valuable. No one wants to hear the hard sell – but give them something useful and they’ll respect you and your business.

One of our clients has just been invited to speak at an event run by The Economist. The cost? Absolutely nothing. This is an exciting business doing such highly innovative things that the rest of the industry wants to learn more. The client? That’s under wraps for now…

Finding your talent

When it comes to speaking, great content can be ruined by poor delivery. Work out who is best within your organisation to deliver talks and keynotes and give them the training and support they need.

Really good speakers break through to a higher stratum of events – think TED talks and beyond. Do you have the right people and message to make that happen?

Invitational events

Shows are great for filling the funnel and speaking slots can be effective at building brand awareness – but how about hosting your own event? This is a bold and potentially costly step to take but there’s nothing quite like it for establishing brand credentials and creating or strengthening relationships.

Another of our clients, REED, regularly hosts events across the country. These range from development and networking groups for senior IT leaders to invitational talks by Sir Clive Woodward and Alastair Campbell.

Delivering on the promise of such events is crucial. Ask people to give up their time, sometimes outside office hours, and you’d better deliver. Get it right and you have the opportunity to spend some time face to face with high-value customers and prospects. They’ll walk away impressed by how well you understand the market and their needs. Get it wrong and they’ll never come back.

Content spin-offs

Insightful presentations/talks/discussions/roundtables are fantastic for creating additional content that can be distributed digitally and add layers of value to the event.

We regularly use our Content Cloud platform to commission specialist journalists to attend a client’s event and create articles, blogs and social content from what is said.

We also provide sector specialists to host such events and roundtables. It’s a highly skilled task but the right facilitator or presenter is crucial to making a good impression.

Consider your message

As with all aspects of content marketing, it’s all about understanding the audience and providing them with valuable information. You don’t need to blow your own trumpet when creating an event or writing a talk – but make it useful and engaging and the positive message will be heard far and wide.

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