Whether you're speaking at a conference, hosting a dinner with key accounts, or delivering a webinar, content is king. Compelling content is what makes events memorable, drives action from attendees, elevates your brand, and creates loyal advocates.
Developing an effective content strategy is crucial for any event to be successful. Here are five easy steps to create impactful event content that can boost your small business’s bottom line in a big way.
Before you jump into building content, first think about the goal of your event. This will influence everything: your desired audience, the types of content you’ll produce, your calls-to-action (CTAs), and even how you measure success when all is said and done. Ask yourself a few important questions. Is this a top-of-the-funnel event where the focus is on driving awareness? Are you partnering with sales to help them nurture their customer relationships? Or are you focused on the bottom of the funnel to bring key deals across the line? Whether you're trying to close deals or simply using your event to get your brand out there, having a clear goal will help determine how your content comes to life.
It’s important to know who will be in the room. Are they executives, decision-makers, or individual contributors? Prospects or customers? Are they knowledgeable about what you do — or completely new to the space? Knowing your audience inside and out will help you understand what their shared pains and experiences might be, providing insight into how you can help solve their problems. It will allow you to create more personalized content that resonates with attendees in a more meaningful and relevant way.
Once you’ve figured out who’s going to be in the room, take a moment to think about the room itself. What does the room actually look like? Is it a big conference with a couple hundred attendees or an intimate dinner with 10 of your top accounts? Can you localize the experience in any way based on the city, region, or language spoken where the event is taking place? Knowing the space — in all senses of the word — where you're presenting allows you to engage your audience through a different lens and will ultimately help you build a unique experience for them.
Start with your customer. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself questions like: What's top of mind for them? What common pains do they experience? If your focus is more top-of-funnel, are there any new or interesting trends in the market worth highlighting? If it's a customer event, are there best practices and tips you can share that they can immediately benefit from? Talk to your friends in sales to get a pulse on what they're hearing from customers. Also, don't be afraid to go straight to the source and ask your customers directly.
Once you’ve settled on the focus of your content, think about how you can make the overall presentation creative and unique. This means going above and beyond just powerpoint. Bring in thought leaders and customers to be your advocates and tell their own stories. Show demos or live versions of your products. Make your presentation interactive with a workshop format. Sprinkle in polls throughout to engage the audience (and make sure they’re paying attention). The sky's the limit! Think back to events you've attended that you thought were valuable. What made them so memorable?
And finally, make all of your content actionable. By weaving in clear CTAs throughout, attendees should know exactly what to do when they leave the room — whether it's joining a webinar, implementing best practices, or visiting a landing page to learn more. Providing attendees with clear next steps will not only drive action but also (hopefully) close some deals.
Good content is good content. Why not let it live on other channels beyond your event? Create a one-pager for attendees to take home, turn the presentation into a webinar, post bits of the presentation on social, or write a blog post about the topic. Test different channels and tactics to see what works best for the specific content you’ve created. Not only will this create a more comprehensive experience for your attendees, but it will also allow you to extend the reach of your content and maximize ROI at the same time.
Don't operate in a silo. Getting feedback from attendees is the best way to learn what worked and what didn't. It will also help you improve your content over time.
In addition to feedback, be diligent around reporting. Track event metrics — i.e.pipeline influenced, deals closed, attendees, scores, etc. — to evaluate whether or not you achieved your goals (from step one). The powerful combination of feedback and metrics enables you to create the most impactful content for your prospects and customers.
Becoming a well-oiled content-creating machine is no easy feat. But with thoughtful planning, a lot of creativity, and constant iteration, you'll be better positioned to create event content that customers will rave about — well after your event has come to a close.
Want to learn more about how to make the most of in-person events? Our Dreamforce session on Tips to Drive Pipeline Through Events will be uploaded here. And don’t miss our best event content in action! Watch the recording of our Small Business Keynote at Dreamforce ‘18.
Salesforce can help you find customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about Salesforce Essentials, our out-of-the-box solution for small business, follow us on Twitter at @SalesforceSMB, or keep up with us on LinkedIn at Salesforce for Small Business. Join the conversation with #SalesforceEssentials.