Do you find it hard to write about the events you attend? What should you be on the look out for content wise? How can you use blogging for event marketing?
I spoke to Beatrice Whelan, author of ‘Trending – the complete guide to social media for events‘. She gave me the answers to these questions and more.
I first met Beatrice at a local bloggers network, soon she joined myself and Lorna Sixsmith as part of the organising team for that network and eventually Blog Awards Ireland. We’ve both moved on to different things now but Beatrice has continued to specialise in events. She now works for Sage as Global Content Manager for Social Media & Events.
Listen to Beatrice’s insights into blogging for events below:
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Here are the highlights from the interview:
Why should small businesses run events?
Events give people the opportunity to meet others face to face. They are the places that you are going to make connections relating to business opportunities. Use them to build connections that will continue to grow after the event on social media.
If you are going as an attendee, think beforehand about what you want to get out of the day. It can be disheartening for businesses when you go to an event, take half a day out of your schedule and come away wondering if it was worthwhile. To avoid this, have a plan. Think about who you want to meet and make a connection with, but also think about what you can use for your content marketing.
Set yourself a goal, decide that you want to get x number of photos, make a list of people you want to interview.
What goals should people have when attending events?
Look at the event as a whole and think about how the themes and topics relate back to your own editorial map. You need content that is relevant to the products and services that you offer your audience.
At the event look for opportunities that play into your editorial plan. Find out as much as you can in advance. Who will be there? What’s the timeline? Who are the speakers? Email event organisers or in advance and ask for an interview
Tips for writing a blog post about an event
There’s a lot of noise on social during events. Your goal should be, not to contribute to the noise but to be selective. Align yourself with aspects of the event that will resonate with your audience. If you aren’t adding value you are really just creating noise.
Remember, your content has to differentiate itself from other content about the event. Look for specific insights, themes or angles you can take.
You are attending as a representative of your customer, you are their eyes and ears. So talk to them before you go, find out what they’d like to know about.
What events should small businesses run?
It all comes back to your customer. Your event doesn’t have to be massive, you can run it just for your customers or your customers and their contacts. Try to be as selfless as possible. There’s always a temptation to run the event for yourself and not your audience.
Always be looking at how you can surprise or delight your attendees. Look for the wow factor, you want people top go away feeling like they had a special time.
How can you inspire bloggers and influencers to share?
People want something to write home about. Create a moment that people will want to share, this can get people sharing without a prompt from you.
Ask yourself what would be different and interesting enough to make them want to share. It doesn’t need to be expensive it’s just about taking the time to think about the experience someone has when walk in the room.
In Sage we ran a business breakfast for small business owners in Dublin. We hired a professional photographer and asked them to take a headshot of every attendee that wanted one. We let attendees know in advance so they would come prepared. We also created content around it, showing people how they could use a pro headshot.
Those head-shots are still being seen on profile photos to this day. We sent an individual email to each attendee the next day with the photo and additional information about speaker presentations etc.
This sort of thing enables people to go and blog about the event afterwards.
How can you use your blog to market an event?
It’s really important to divide your content plan into three sections: before, during and after
This includes the topics and themes you are going to be presenting at the event. Write a post on each of these.
Next look to speakers and key people. Ask them to do guest posts for your blog or interview them and create content from those interviews.
Hubspot have a great blog about their event INBOUND that features speakers and tips for preparing for the event.
The Electric Picnic do something similar including posts on how to survive the ultimate weekend at the electric picnic. This is the sort of content people will want to share on Facebook in anticipation. Think about what sort of content you can create that people will want to share in advance of your event.
Be realistic about people’s attention spans during the event. They probably won’t have time to read a really long post. Look for short stackable posts. Consider live blogging like the Live Budget Blog from the Irish Times. Curate the top tweets or Instagram posts from the day, this is all content people can consume on their mobile phone whilst at the event.
After the event create roundup posts about it. Share photos and video content. Your social content is really important at this stage. Upload photos of attendees to your Facebook page, people will share and tag themselves and their friends in them.
Create some ‘thank you’ content. For example a wrap up video including highlights and a thank you at the end, this can get really good engagement.
On your blog upload speaker slides to SlideShare and embed them in your blog. Include transcripts of talks. Show the value of what the event provided. This serves well as ‘before’ content for your next event.
Consider creating an Infographic with key statistics from the event. Write about your attendees. Who was the most retweeted? Who took the best photos? Who was the most social?
Post event attention will never be as big as during the event so always be looking for a subscription. Get people to subscribe by email to event updates. This will keep them coming back and keep them engaged. This means you can capture them when you launch your next event.
Think about how you can grab people’s attention now before they walk away. How can you keep people coming back?
An interesting tactic that Hubspot use is to blog about events other than their own on their event blog. Writing about events that share their target market but don’t compete with them. This gives them the opportunity to become part of the online conversation about that event.
At the end of these blog posts there’s an option to subscribe to their blog to find out more about their event INBOUND. This is a great example of capturing people by offering value to their community.
If you do choose to use this tactic make sure you are respectful of that other event. Don’t hijack their hashtag, do it before and after their event.
Beatrice is Global Content Manager for Social Media & Events at Sage.
- You can find out more about here book and running social media for events’ on her website.
- You can follow her on Twitter here.
- You’ll find the Facebook page for the book here.
There’s loads of food for thought there.
Your blogging challenge for this week is to find an event that you would like to attend and create a content plan around that event. What could you write about that will be interesting to your customers and readers?
A proposition for you
Before you go I’ve a proposition for you. The one-year anniversary of Blogcentric is speeding towards us and I’d love to feature some of you. If you have made changes to your blog as a result of listening I want to hear your stories and record a short slot for the anniversary edition. So get in touch, email me firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories and we’ll set something up.
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Elaine Rogers says
This is a great podcast episode – so much stuff covered in so little time. Beatrice is really a star when it comes to social media – and full of helpful, logical, and cool tips.
Great show thanks to you both!!
Amanda Webb says
Thanks Elaine, you are right Beatrice shared an awful lot in a short space of time. There’s even more in the book 😀
Joanne Dewberry says
Awesome podcast. So much useful information from Beatrice. I went to an event where they did headshots and they emailed it you straightaway but mine was awful!
Dr Hows Science Wows says
Lots of information there, really interesting tips. Every time I visit your site I go away with more to think about and another angle to try!
Kate McQuillan says
Great Podcast and has really made me think about planning for Social Media Marketing World to get the most out of it. Also need to grab a copy of the book..sounds great!
Lorna Sixsmith says
Lots of good tips here and I find it surprising how many events and conferences aren’t using social media. I was at a conference on Friday and there was no mention of a hashtag. Okay, it’s likely that very few of those present were using twitter but even if only a few do, it still spreads the news about your event and might encourage others to go next year. Useful for providing feedback for the organisers too.
Amanda Webb says
Yes I’ll be going with a solid plan this time. And do get the book, it’s a great read.
Amanda Webb says
Thanks Naomi 😀
Amanda Webb says
That has to be another tip, if you hire a photographer get a good one 🙂
Amanda Webb says
It’s mad isn’t it when they don’t think about it. I was at a local event recently, there was a hashtag but they hadn’t mentioned it in advance or on any of the printed material. They only gave it a mention once on the podium. By the time I was ready to use it I couldn’t remember what it was!
Jenni Grainger says
These are really useful tips, great podcast x
Amanda Webb says
Thanks Jenni 🙂