Communications strategies are increasingly focusing on content. Trade fairs and events are gaining particular significance in this context as distribution platforms and idea pools with numerous follow-up opportunities in the digital and real worlds. The following list includes the ten most important steps to ensuring the success of your content marketing strategy for trade fairs and events:
1. Define measurable objectives and find out who your target audiences is and what interests them.
What do we want to achieve and, most importantly, who do we want to reach? Do you want to increase your sales, support a change process or position your company as an opinion leader in a certain area? Questions like this are the basis of all content marketing planning measures.
Take the perspective of your (potential) customers or other stakeholders and determine what is really relevant to your target audiences. Work with personae and try to understand their needs, expectations of information and daily challenges depending on their age, job, lifestyle, etc.
2. Forget your own products. Tell stories that only incidentally have something to do with your brand.
The content should provide your target audiences with added value, whether in the form of factual information or entertainment. Think of it as a first date where you don’t just talk about yourself the whole time, but find out what interests your dialogue partner and engage with them on that level.
To do this, you need to know what you have at your disposal. Conduct a content audit to analyse the existing information, evaluate it according to its relevance to the target audience and consider what content offerings you need to create.
3. Produce emotional content that is fun, touching, informative, entertaining and surprising.
Whole new subject areas, which your competitors have not yet dealt with, can be particularly successful. Be courageous and venture off the beaten path of traditional advertising. Personalization of your content as well as increased use of images and videos are just a couple of starting points for successful content marketing. It is especially important to connect your content to the relevant current context specific to the task or, in other words, the current issues in the media, the social web, or in your stakeholders’ personal / professional environments.
4. Create a stable organization and a good infrastructure for content creation and distribution.
Content marketing needs to be well organised: from the observation of the current topics, creation of content by a functioning editorial team and operation of a strong infrastructure, to distribution of content and monitoring its success. And you should not forget to integrate these efforts with other business processes like service or sales, in order to be able to perfectly handle your target group’s responses to your content.
5. Produce content that is suitable for a broad range of formats.
Your target audience will not come to you! You have to present your content where your target audience meets or gains its information. The digital and analogue touchpoints along the customer journey , at which you should distribute your content, vary tremendously. All options have to be precisely assessed in terms of their suitability, whether newsletters, blogs, social media, website, online advertising, webinars, or analogue channels such as print or outdoor advertising, events, trade fairs and PR work.
The requirements for processing your content are just as diverse. What works on a desktop, often doesn’t display well on a smartphone. Advertising text rarely works well in social networks. And in order to be found on the internet, you always have to optimize your content for search engines (SEO).
6. Think beyond the content itself. Produce content that can be easily shared and uses a lot of imagery.
Which topics stimulate interaction with your target groups? What content encourages your customers to discuss it, comment on it and recommend it? These are the key issues when developing content aimed at mobilizing stakeholders and gaining a response. Your communication should ultimately result in recommendations, customer enquiries, applications, lively discussions or new ideas.
Strong visual content such as photos, charts or videos is best suited to the fast-paced world of the internet. Text gains less attention on the web and is less likely to be passed on to others.
7. Define journalistic standards for your content.
Learn from the examples of large companies, whose successful content marketing campaigns often make use of all conceivable options. Such companies usually align their interest- and goal-based content with journalistic standards and work like modern editorial teams. This begins with researching the topics and extends to medial dissemination and responding to questions and criticism.
8. Use trade fairs and events to define your topics.
Trade fairs serve as the summit meetings of any industry and a milestone along the customer journey of your partners and customers. Use your own distribution channels and those of third parties to reach as large of an industry-specific target group as possible with your targeted campaigns and content. You can also present your topics to a specific audience in showcase events.
Event organizers like Messe Frankfurt operate using a variety of different communication platforms and channels through which you can distribute your content or search for topics. Whether social media channels, blogs, websites mobile apps, or online and printed exhibitor and product directories – the list is expandable.
9. Use trade fairs and events to find new topics for your content marketing.
Even weeks before and after trade fairs and events, social news streams and media reporting indicate what the industry is currently buzzing about. Take advantage of the news cycle surrounding trade fairs to research new topics that fits into your content strategy, engage in agenda surfing, and specifically position your own topics. The wealth of communication provided by exhibition organisers, associations, media and exhibitors often offers unexpected opportunities.
10. Measure the success of your content strategies.
Those who intensively monitor current topics on the agenda will very quickly find a variety of starting points and opportunities for their own topics. Especially when it comes to digital communication, you can very quickly assess the success of your content and campaigns. Data pertaining to reach, recommendation behaviour, click-through rates and link usage or specific enquiries provide just-in-time insight for optimizing your own strategy and making better use of your budget.
We wish you much success and, if you have further tips, please leave a comment.