Bringing Content Marketing Offline
Content, content, content. It’s the public relations professional's equivalent of location, location, location. Content marketing is all the rage. It’s critical to your online strategy; but the same value of quality content can be realized offline, too.
The concept, according to the Content Marketing Institute, is that “if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”
While many companies are pumping out great content online in the form of blog posts, photos, infographics, etc., many are missing a big opportunity to bring that value to life.
Conferences as a Content Strategy
Organizing a professional conference is a unique content strategy that can reinforce your brand and form connections with your audience. This is particularly valuable for organizations that are targeting other businesses.
Lots of consumer brands successfully use events and sponsorships as part of their marketing strategy. Good for them, but that approach isn’t going to work for a lot of business-to-business organizations.
Professional associations are known for hosting annual conferences, but why should they have all the fun? There is no rule, no regulations that says that you – your business, your brand – can’t organize a conference that provides important, relevant, interesting information to your core audience…just like you would online.
Here’s why it works:
- Reinforce your brand – this is your chance to assemble the best your niche has to offer
- Revenue generator – believe it or not, these events can be profitable
- Build sales leads – in-person networking is still one of the most effective tools to business-to-business sales
Now, I’m not saying that you can throw together a panel packed with your closest friends or announce yourself as the keynote speaker – unless you’re Oprah, that won’t work. (If you are Oprah, you can pretty much do anything you want from what I can tell).
Conferences are work. They take planning and resources, and don’t often fall into a business’ core competency. But they can also be worth the effort if you have the right help and the right approach.
If you think you’re game, keep these tips in mind:
- Define your intention and goals – just like any communications strategy, determine what you’re trying to accomplish first AND how you’re going to know if you’ve achieved it.
- Get clear on your audience – only by understanding your audience can you deliver information that is important to them.
- Find the right partners -the right partner can help you establish credibility, bring resources to the table, and even share the workload. Gather a team that will help you evaluate your purpose and set up a plan of action.
So what do you think? Can the same online content marketing principles apply in the offline, physical world? Are conferences a good application of this idea? Lay it on me.