Content Marketing and Corporate Events: Part One

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This article originally appeared in Corporate Event News

Content marketing and event marketing are too often thought of as different worlds. Content marketing is online and trendy. Live events are offline and old-school. The two tactics are more accurately (and productively) viewed as tightly interlocking channels. According to the Content Marketing Institute, in-person events are one of the top four  content marketing methods B2B marketers use to nurture their audiences. 

 Events trail only email campaigns and educational content (which, of course, is the primary type of content shared at live events), and are essentially tied with "clear calls-to-action for next steps" in terms of their effectiveness for content marketing. The value proposition of live events, particularly in B2B, are centered on education and networking—or more broadly, the content and the experience. 

 Live events are essentially a content delivery channel that also happens to include getting away from the office, good food, engaging activities, and interesting people. For the business hosting the event, they are a way to provide education (plus a bit of promotion) in a way that builds trust, strengthens relationships, and allows for immediate feedback. 

Content planning is therefore at the core of event planning. But the value of coordinating and creating that content can extend well beyond the event itself, providing additional payback to the organization. Here's how to optimize the value of event-related content before, during, and after the corporate event. 

Part One: Planning Before the Event 

A substantial share of event planning time is dedicated to content planning. It often starts with gathering ideas for session topics from a range of sources: sales, marketing, product development, consulting, customer service, existing customers, and others.  Topics are next matched with presenters—company personnel, customers, or outside experts. Then sessions are scheduled and matched to spaces at the venue. 

The list may go through several iterations, adding/dropping/changing topics and presenters, adjusting time slots, moving sessions between rooms. Eventually (usually just prior to some looming deadline), the sessions are finalized. 

This enables the event planning team to produce what is arguably the most vital piece of pre-event content, the session schedule. This is the primary draw for attendees. People aren't terribly interested in where or when the event will be held until they know what they will learn and who will be speaking (particularly for the keynote address).