Event content marketing checklist

Events are increasingly powerful for B2B businesses to increase targeted awareness and capture leads, but marketing teams will often exhibit a Pavlovian stress reaction at the mere mention of exhibition projects.

Marketing team reaction to “by the way we’re doing another event next week” via GIPHY

Why? Two big reasons: there is such a lot of marketing preparation work that needs to be done in advance… copywriting, design, more design, revisions to the design, web pages, printing, merchandise, emails, social media…. and it always gets done with too little time before the deadline!

As with any campaign content work, the boring-but-true answer to this for marketing and sales teams is to prepare as early as possible: if you can, start as soon as an event has been booked, which should be months ahead.

Plan out what your main strategy and messaging are going to be, and then make a definite list of the work that needs to be done for each role in the team. A lot of this is content marketing that the whole team has to collaborate on, in order to research + copywrite + design + publish/print/promote materials which are high quality, relevant, and cohesive with the event campaign.

By getting ahead on content work for all three stages of marketing and sales communications – pre / during / after the event – you can share out the work and involve the right collaborators to make the event campaign stronger and that little bit less stressful!

Pre-event content must-haves

  • about us description for event directory / brochure
  • a comprehensive information page on your site about the event
  • an email to customers inviting them to meet you at the event
  • banners for social media (matching your event theme, see below)
  • campaign press release

In-event content must-get-right

  • a coherent theme for your event design: start with a choice of design concepts, including slogan/tagline, and proceed from approved combinations to a whole booth/backdrop/banner set
  • video / slideshow – you are likely to have digital displays on the booth
  • print brochure / flyers – give yourself a lot of time for this because it’s about copywriting AND design… and EVERYONE has an opinion 😉
  • one-pagers / datasheets about products/solutions – everyone will say they don’t want loads of paper on the booth, but if you have them, people will say it was great to have them there: if in doubt, think visual conversation aids rather than text-heavy handouts
  • lead capture forms (print or digital… or both!)

Event follow-up content to prepare so it’s ready to go:

  • post event follow up email script for salespeople to adapt and send 1-1
  • post event automated email sequence for general business card drops (for your Hubspot / Pardot / Marketo etc)
  • post event news / views roundup – the stay-at-office marketer can draft this during day 1 of the event
  • post event photo gallery – ensure you get plenty of views of your booth and the event generally, and feed them over to marketing ASAP for social media as well as a main gallery / blog post later

See below for Adastra’s full checklist:

Free event content marketing checklist

Free checklist: Click to download Adastra’s event content recommendations

This document is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0  meaning you are free to print, use, and adapt it however you want as long as you give fair attribution to Adastra Marketing as a website link https://adastra-marketing.com/ or quote our Twitter handle @AdastraUK

Organizational vs product marketing

We mentioned above that the marketing team needs to put together “materials which are high quality, relevant, and cohesive with the event campaign”. The key to this is knowing what you are trying to promote, or more accurately, why you think you will catch an event attendee’s eye and encourage them to come up and talk to you.

In our view this either needs to be to develop recognition and identity around your main organizational brand, e.g. “Atlassian”, or it needs to be about drawing people in to look at a particular need+solution story, e.g. “Enterprise git hosting and Bitbucket”.

When advising our clients we use the word ‘organization‘ to mean your company, the regional / industry vertical brand of your company or group, or it could also be a brand of a partnership, consortium, non-profit, movement, initiative, community, public sector department etc.

We use the word ‘solution‘ to mean product or service or product-family/suite.

Here are some reasons you may be focusing on marketing your organization:

  • Your solution is your brand and your brand is your solution – single-app businesses
  • You have not got enough approved information about your products, or consensus about what to promote, so the safe option is to go with a general “we are BRANDNAME” booth and let the personal conversations cover what you are actually selling
  • You are exhibiting at an event which is niche enough that everyone knows what everyone else does, and so you want to focus on exhibiting your organizational differentiators, e.g. awards won, accreditations, pure size of your platinum sponsor area etc
  • You are trying to draw in visitors with a special gimmick, promotion, competition etc where you want to make it about that theme and not overtly about selling a particular solution
  • You’re at a recruitment fair 🙂

Here are some reasons you may want to focus more on your solution:

  • The event has been chosen deliberately to launch or showcase one of your solutions – yay!
  • The marketing team successfully convinced the stakeholders to use an event to be part of a solution go-to-market instead of a generic “we are BRANDNAME” expo 😉
  • The event audience will respond well to a product-specific message, for example you will attract current users of your product, or users of competing products
  • You’ve researched the likely themes of competitors’ exhibition messaging and chosen a particularly different or leading solution that shows you in a better light

What if you want to exhibit two or three main products or categories? Our advice would be not to try to have your cake and eat it. Exhibiting as “we offer a wide range of solutions, look at these five different things we do” is an example of a non-differentiator when competing for attention on the expo floor. It would be more effective to pick ONE solution and draw people in, and then once you have people in conversation there is nothing to stop you finding out what people are interested in and explaining other things you do that match.

Finally, ensure your messaging connects organization to solution and vice versa. You don’t want a situation where people are like “Great widget, who are you again?” or “OK you are Acme, what do you sell exactly?” It’s surprisingly easy to overlook these obvious brand-product identity issues when you are so familiar with who you are and what you do.

Try to use events as a way to challenge assumptions and see your messaging through the eyes of people who genuinely have not heard of you… and make them care enough to find out more.

For professional content marketing support with your events, contact Adastra, and read more about our event marketing services here.