We’ve all heard the expression “content is king,” so it is no surprise that content continues to be a massive contributor when it comes to an event’s success. Breakout session topics, keynote speakers, and general day-to-day idle activities all factor into an attendee’s event experience. Impactful and meaningful content to your attendees can elevate your event from good to great or from great to memorable. In a time when surging event numbers and inflated travel costs limit which meetings potential attendees are choosing to attend, engaging content can also play the deciding role when it comes to increasing your registration numbers.
Leveraging your content to differentiate your event from the competition can certainly seem like another challenge in planning and executing your event, but it really boils down to striking a balance between entertainment and education. Below we’ll explore some tips and tricks you can use to help make your content, and by extension, your event, stand out to your would-be attendees!
- Know Your Audience: This may seem like a no-brainer, but in order to deliver poignant content that attendees truly care about, you must fully understand what it is they truly care about. Use engagement practices such as social media, pre-event email surveys, or relevant industry research to find attendees’ pain points, areas they may be deficient, or places they could be looking for the most up-to-date facts. From here, you can interpret what they want the conference to be about and at what level of depth.
Once you’ve established what type of problem your event is striving to solve, use this in your marketing efforts for the event. Giving your customers or would-be attendees a clear and concise overview of your event can help them decide to attend without requiring much research on their end. Using your event to address your attendee’s pain points is a practical and easy way to ensure your guests are getting the most of your event’s content. Use your event or post-event survey to find the same type of information, and consider these new pain points when you plan your next event!
- Know Your Speakers: Where you source your speakers from can directly influence the angle and impact of their role at your event. Speakers who come directly from a partner or sponsor bring a unique insight into your attendee’s world, and content delivered from someone who “speaks their language” is more readily understood and absorbed. Alternatively, professional speakers or those from similar industries can offer a fresh perspective on problem-solving. Attendees may find that solutions in lateral industries also work for their own issues. In either case, leveraging your speaker’s authority and credibility when advertising your event is vital in grabbing the attention of those guests who are still fence-sitting on their registration decision.
- Inspire & Educate: Now that you’ve determined what pain points your event seeks to solve, it’s up to you to build engaging content around these ideas. The most memorable engagement is often the most entertaining, but it’s important not to let the glamor of big titles or speakers detract from the depth of content your attendees may actually need. Research shows that a content balance of 75% educational (that addresses the “how-to” parts of your agenda) and 25% inspirational (that shows attendees that same information in action) is the optimal build for both teaching attendees how to address their pain points and exciting them enough that they’re eager to start employing your event’s content the very next day.
- Use Your Audience: Meaningful content doesn’t always need to come from your speakers, and engaging your attendees with each other in the form of round-table discussions is a great way to add value to your event. Using digital forums via your event’s website or your planning software can help get worthwhile and valuable conversations started before the event even begins. At your event, consider dividing your audience up based on their interests (check out our Networking blog for some tips on gathering this information and some additional applications for it at your event). Use your speaker’s presentation or pre-recorded content or sessions from other experts on the topic and these small groups to generate discussion about what attendees thought about the presentation, how it related to their business, what other types of solutions they’re currently employing - basically anything that may be of interest to their peers. Research has shown that smaller, more intimate settings for these types of discussions lead to more meaningful conversations. When paired with building groups based on common interests or goals, you can generate organic conversations that are sure to lead to some thought provoking ideas attendees can take home!
- Mix creativity with fun and craftsmanship: It’s not just your speaker content that should be engaging, either! Apart from providing industry relevant problem-solving insights, think about planning a series of unique environments of experiences during your downtime as well. Fun and interactive activities like cooking classes, wine tastings, or live music are great ways to engage your guests. Consider pairing this type of fun content with a relevant giveaway your attendees can use immediately on site and then again once they’ve returned home (be sure to check out our Networking blog on how these types of pairing can help in other areas of your event as well). These unique and interactive dynamics will transform your event into a memorable one and make your guests excited to attend your next event. Getting the host city involved with group activities like pub crawls or guided tours will help attendees engage with each other, and with their surroundings.
Sometimes big fun comes with a big price tag, but the good news is that there are many ways to get the same type of impactful engagement without a big impact on your event budget. For starters, consider getting your sponsors involved. A sponsored wine tasting with a branded wine opening kit provides a fun activity for attendees and some perfectly placed brand visibility for your sponsors. If workshops just aren’t in the cards for your event, consider some more affordable alternatives! Gamification activities like scavenger hunts, photo contests, or networking are an easy (and often free) way to fill idle event time with the opportunity for fun memories. Many event apps are now building ways to streamline these types of events into their platforms, so make sure to check whichever app or software you’re using!
- Give Guests A Choice: If you read our Networking blog, you already know how important of a role autonomy plays in an attendee’s overall event experience. Rather than plan your content in a way that mimics a guest’s busy day-to-day routine, give them the opportunity to choose the pace of their time between breakouts and interactive activities. Some ideas may include a choice between a quiet morning breakfast, guided yoga class, afternoon group jog, a shuttle to the local shopping hub, or anything that helps make idle time look a bit more like leisure time. Giving attendees the ability to incorporate their own interests into your provided content is a simple way to create happy attendees and a memorable event.
- Consider Going Green: Sustainable event practices are likely not a new concept to many of us. With an increased societal focus on sustainability and demographics skewing younger and younger, more emphasis is being placed on what attendees are looking for in companies (and events) they support. Things like partnering with big brands with social initiatives for giveaways, choosing green venues and graphics, and making sustainable on-site (as well as post-event) choices that you can advertise to would-be attendees can give you an edge over your competitors. Click here for a quick look at all our eco-event planning blogs.
- Record Your Content: Just because an event is over doesn’t necessarily mean its content can’t still bring additional value to both you and your attendee. By recording content at your event, you open up endless opportunities for use, even after your event has ended. Consider only making certain recordings available or gating content behind registering with things like contact information or opting into the next event’s countdown. This will incentivize in-person attendance, give attendees post-event access to the content they’re interested in, and can collect potentially important contact and marketing data for your organization or company. Another way to use (or reuse) this recorded content is to time release it. By making certain recordings only available during particular times, you can use this gated content as part of your marketing efforts and can even assist in justifying any AV budget associated with recording your presentations.
Let’s Get Planning!
A memorable event is built upon memorable experiences and content, which can be cultivated in many ways. Whether you’re using attendee feedback to build content around points of interest or giving attendees a choice on how to spend their free time, striking a balance between entertainment and education is the key. This will ensure your attendees get the most out of their time at your event. Providing unique opportunities at your event can help it stand out in a crowd during registration time and have guests excited for your next event at closing time. If you’re looking for more great ways to engage your attendees, feel free to contact us and let us help you make your next event one for the ages!