Hosting live events is another form of content marketing, think of everything that goes into planning an event and you quickly realize it’s all about the content. First, you’ll need something to promote, then you will need to create the program and guess what, if you record the event, you’ll need even more content.
I’m content crazy at times, I just love content marketing but thinking outside the blog for a moment, you soon realize that there is so much content that you can create that you may not have considered previously as content. But, we’re talking about online events and now that you know that online events are content, how do you go about planning one?
The first thing you need to do, is to decide on what topic you want to present to your audience. You need to ask yourself, who is your audience, what are their concerns and can I solve them? The topic you select should address this, it should also you to promote a product or service however the event needs to be educations by itself without anyone having to buy anything. This means that if I come to your online event, I will walk away at the end even if I decide to buy nothing with some additional knowledge and help gleamed from your online event.
The service or product that you promote should be related to the topic in some way, directly or indirectly. Remember this isn’t a sales presentation, people aren’t coming to listen to you talk about your products and services, they are coming to learn something and be engaged. The entire event is also an advertisement of your company, just don’t make it so obvious it turns people off, so instead you want to simply encourage viewers in follow ups to check out the products and services and concentrate on engagement.
What technology you choose will determine a lot of things, such as how many people can come to the event, will it be live, can I record it, can I host events without being present, etc.
The platform you choose will also determine how and whether or not you want to charge for the event. Some technology makes it simple to charge, and some doesn’t. Make a list of the types of features you want in your event technology before looking at specific technology that way you can see which one comes the closest to your list of features.
You’ve heard the say “proper preparation prevents poor performance” and it certainly hold true with online events, you need to create a proper agenda about your event, you need to do this before preparing all of the content, before you invite guest speakers, etc. You need to have a good outline, (that can be updated later_ about the topic you are planning to cover, the audience you’ll be marketing to, and what types of presentations you need for your event to be successful. Use this agenda to attract the right speakers and to make your content engaging and remember to write down what success looks like, this is what you are aiming to achieve so plan to achieve it.
If you already have in mind some guest speakers, send them your agenda, and a personal invite to be a guest speaker. If you’re not going to pay people for speaking, be sure to allow them to promote their products and/or services. However, be clear about not having overt advertising, these are boring and turn people away. Advertisements can be in the program, and newsletters and other venues, but not during the actual event.
Give everyone involved your expectations and deadlines. For instance if you need ten blog posts to promote the event, when do you need them to be finished, what dates do you want them uploaded, and when will they go live? If you have speakers, when do you want to see their outline of what they’ll talk about, and how long can they speak for? Be very clear about every aspect of the event.
Each item on this list won’t be done in a specific order; some will be done concurrently with other aspects. It’s important to develop all the content you need for your event such as marketing materials, presentations, advertising, blog posts, articles, infographics and more.
As they say, practice makes perfect. Once you and your guests have finished creating all the content, it’s time to practice hosting the event. You can invite a few people to view the event practice and give feedback so that when you go live for the real event there is less of a chance of something going wrong. I personally always practise and hate the practise sessions, and love the live events as I get a buzz from them, however I only get the buzz if I have practiced sufficiently that I am totally confident in what I am doing, which is how many people are I imagine.
No event will ever be seen without promotion. Much of the content you created is about promoting the event via social media, blog posts, newsletters, and even offline press releases. Every participant should be promoting as well. You can also get affiliates on board. Even if you’re not charging for the event, consider paying for leads.
Once you’ve given the event, it’s time to evaluate how it went. You can do this in a number of ways – from surveying the participants, to surveying your guest speakers. You can also check the numbers and see how the event affected sales, newsletter subscriptions and more.
If you’ve recorded the event, and of course you should, let all your speakers have copies for their own purposes. Then, use your copy to re-purpose the content for other means. You can separate each speaker’s presentation and add them to a membership site; you can transcribe it and make it an eBook, a report, and even multiple blog posts.
Finally, you want to repeat your events. As you do more of them, you’ll get better at them as you improve based on the feedback. Each time you have a new product to promote or a new service, consider having an online event as another form of content marketing.