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Turn your association event into an incredible content powerhouse

This guest blog post is by Heather Carnes, content strategist with Naylor Association Solutions. Follow her on Twitter @HMcCole.

Planning an industry-leading event can be quite the undertaking, and nearly every association knows that the months leading up to an annual conference can be a bit daunting. While putting forth your best efforts to put on a great event, it’s easy to leave event- and year-round content opportunities on the table.

An Annual Content Treasure Trove

Your annual convention is not only one of your greatest revenue generators and best networking opportunities, it’s also a fresh treasure trove of content.
You know your event produces terrific content already because creating it for attendees is what events are all about — without it, they’re simply not going to come. Acknowledging your annual event as a content powerhouse is the first step to maximizing opportunities. After that, you have to seek out strategic ways to not only promote your event but highlight its content.

Integration of Event Marketing Efforts

It’s one thing to mention events in your member communications, but it’s another thing to completely integrate event marketing efforts with valuable content that members will love.

Here are some practical ways to harness the power of your annual show’s content and deliver unique content to members without much effort, sacrifice or extra resources.

  1. Maximizing speaker content

Speakers are the field experts and can speak skillfully on their subject matter. Why not make the most of their expertise and involvement by asking them to provide long-form written content in addition to their speaking slides, bios and headshots? More often than not, they’ll already have some material drafted and ready to share.

TIP: Instead of asking for speakers’ slides days leading up to the event, push to get them well in advance so you can pull out relevant info to share with your members prior to the event.

  1. Maximizing exhibitor/sponsor content

Don’t overlook your exhibitors as potential content resources. Many exhibiting companies put in great effort to create the perfect educational offerings for attendees. Ask exhibitors to share these materials up front, and comb through to extract relevant ideas and visuals for members. Not only can this lead to increased attendee engagement, their content provides valuable information while highlighting the great work industry suppliers are doing.

TIP: Include a content “call to action” in your exhibitor packets. Drawing attention to your association’s available opportunities to contribute and share content can be another way to provide greater return on investment to your exhibitors.

  1. Maximizing attendee contributions

Members who regularly attend your events are your experts, so use them to promote your event simply by asking why they return every year.

User-generated content is huge right now, and, as humans, we love (and trust) reviews and tips from others who have gone before us. Members are more inclined to trust and engage with content from fellow members, so including this strategy is perhaps the most important part of the mix.

TIP: Consider creating an online form to easily capture information from past attendees. Ask about their professional background, how long they’ve worked in the industry, what they’re hoping to achieve by attending and so on.

Cross-Promote Event-Related Content in Every Way

Don’t tackle these initiatives without a clear plan for cross-promotion throughout your association’s media portfolio. Have a great article from a speaker? Great. In addition to promoting it on your website or blog, include it in your newsletter and share it on social media. Be sure to tag the author because they’ll share it, too.

The opportunities are endless for creating specialty content around your event to grow interest, increase engagement and get attendees excited to arrive. Start with your speakers, exhibitors and attendees, and see where their event-related content can take your show’s success.

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