Hosting a conference is a massive undertaking. Between deciding on topics and themes, organizing presentation tech, choosing speakers, and event promotion, it can be an all-consuming effort. In addition to networking and brand awareness opportunities, conferences feature a wealth of unique technical content to enhance and support your content development efforts.
Technical content creation is time intensive and requires energy from several different stakeholders. Conference sessions are their own subject matter expert (SME) interviews. They can be repurposed as different content types for different mediums, or they can inspire completely new ideas for content that will help customers through the buying process. With advanced planning, you can extend the life and reach of your conference.
For the last two years, TREW has worked with Silicon Labs to develop and execute content reuse strategy around their virtual Works With event. Works With is a developer-focused conference that gathers technology brands, device manufacturers, alliances, designers, wireless standards, and ecosystem providers that are leading the way in connected devices.
We’ve learned a lot working with the team at Silicon Labs. Here, we’ve curated five strategies to add to your playbook to maximize the ROI of your hosted event:
Re-Center Your Content and Marketing Plans
Content sourced from your event shouldn’t be a stand-alone entity. Marketing and Sales put their heads together to establish a roadmap that supports the strategic priorities of the organization. Any piece you create based on conference sessions should support the focus areas you’ve already identified.
It may sound obvious, but when faced with an avalanche of content ideas, it’s easy to stray away from what matters most. When brainstorming events-based content, level set on ongoing and upcoming priorities.
Get Acquainted with Sessions and Tracks
A conference could feature 75+ sessions between keynotes, workshops, and panel discussions. Get familiar with themes, topics, and session descriptions ahead of planning. Speakers are often expected to submit details for session descriptions long before the event begins. You can plan as early as those details arrive. Don’t wait until conference time.
Post-conference, Silicon Labs’ reorganized sessions by topic, so anyone can easily identify and access sessions that are most relevant to them
Set Realistic Timelines
Your typical content development cycle speeds up when source material is ready and waiting, but it’s unreasonable to expect that all conference-sourced content will be ready in the weeks or months after the event. Your team has existing priorities to manage, and, if you played your cards right, you might have 18 months’ worth of content ides.
A typical white paper timeline is approximately eight weeks long. By using conference sessions as source material, you could save one to two weeks up front and potentially time in review.
Those savings are worthwhile, but you’re still going to need about six weeks of writing and review for a single white paper. Add blogs, case studies, and articles in the mix, and you could double the work on your content calendar.
A typical white paper timeline vs. white paper timeline with source material from conference sessions
Select a few key pieces to hit the ground running. Remember that the quality of the information you’re referencing and the questions/pain points you can address are your justifications for creating content. You don’t need to rationalize each piece by its connection to the conference.
Focus on Repurposing First, but Don’t Stop There
Repurposing and revamping content are important strategies for industrial marketing professionals. Take the content wins when they come! That said, don’t create content just because you can. If the subject doesn’t align with your existing content plan or specific campaign goals, set it aside to consider tackling at a later date.
Example of repurposing one piece of content for multiple form factors
Don’t Forget Promotion
Content derived from conferences warrants its own promotional strategy. There’s an audience that could benefit from learning about you and your offerings. Consider a themed newsletter to target existing contacts who didn’t participate in the event or a LinkedIn sponsored content campaign to expand your reach.
Finally, here’s a bonus point. Remember that live events are designed for participation. During the conference, pay attention to Q&A sessions because they reveal deeper content needs and new paths of inquiry.
For more information about content planning on a micro- or macro-level, read through our Content Marketing ebook.