The medium is the message, and events? They’re a really nice medium.
No matter what your message is, delivering it to your audience through the medium of an in-person event tells your audience you care. It says “Hey you, Audience! You’re important to us!” And sure, an event can take way more time and effort than, say, a blog post, but they’re chock-full of great content. I still don’t know what a “chock” is. Really, an event is a complex sum of content. Content that you can use before, during, and well after the event. So, let’s explore some of ways you can leverage other mediums to get the most out of your hard work.
First, user-generated content. Getting event goers to generate content pretty much seems like a no-brainer. Everyone hopes that people at their event are enjoying the experience enough to tweet what’s going on, check in on Facebook, and post photos to the ‘gram. User-generated content is great because you’re getting your attendees to help you spread the good word. Sadly, you can’t just put your feet up and expect this strategy to work with no effort. So what do you need to encourage and facilitate UGC, and you know, make your event good enough to share?
First, definitely pick a good hashtag and encourage its use. Your hashtag is a great backchannel to your event and it can take off if people know they can expect a reply or two.
Your hashtag can highlight who’s at your event as well. A simple but effective trick is to set up a fun photo op with a sign that says to use your hashtag. Or do what we did and build a photo booth. People could tweet out their photos and the photo booth added our hashtag like sweet tweet magic.
Next, high quality event photo and video. Yes, people taking and sharing photos with their phones is great, but there is a quality ceiling you’re going to hit with that strategy. When it comes to capturing photo and video of your event, consider a designated professional.
If you’re worried about budget, look at the amount of content you’re trying to get out of the event. The simple fact is, professional photo and video are really easy to work with afterwards. People with experience are going to capture better images because they know what to look for and how to get the best shots.
Isn’t that right, Bob?
So, if you use a professional, the hard work of actually making the content look good is done. It also keeps you free to do what you need to during the event. Trust us, this is going to reduce your stress level immensely. Our friends at Philly Give and Get have a professional take photos at their events and it really encourages people to spread the word.
But there is more value in capturing this type of content than just creating a Facebook gallery. Look at the big content picture here. I’ve made a ton of event recaps for events that we’ve been a part of, but what’s probably been more valuable to us is the content library we’ve been able to build with all that raw photo and video. When we write a blog post, or our CEO is working on a keynote presentation, or our designer needs a new background for the About Us page, we already have a fat stack of content for them to choose from. I love Women Laughing Alone With Salad as much as the next guy, but having images and footage of actual people at our company doing actual things makes our brand feel much more relatable and human than if we portrayed ourselves with stock photos.
Isn’t that right, “Stock Photo Bob?”
Ok, so good photos are good. You get it. Rant over.
If your event is less people partying and more people learning, the content at your event is even more valuable. If you’re paying a lot of money for a great speaker, why not capture their entire presentation? Here are some ways to stretch a one-time event into months worth of content.
Watch the recordings later and put together a smart blog post of everything you learned.
Release audio or video recordings of people’s presentations after the event is over. You can share the recordings as blog posts, on-demand webinars, or as “inside info” to your newsletters subscribers.
Maybe you don’t want to share the whole event. Instead, highlight some good insights with short, edited pieces. A great option for this is to pull together all your favorite user-generated content and make a Storify recap.
If the task of recording seems like too much, just ask for the slides and create a Slideshare.
Here’s an incredibly simple solution. Take a picture at the event with your phone and then use an app to add a relevant quote to it right then and there. Boom! Instantly shareable graphic.
This is a chance to show everyone that didn’t go to your event what they missed, but more importantly, it’s a chance to fill out your content calendar. And all with content from one event! Suddenly, events seem worth the initial time and effort, am I right?
These examples are just the tools for capturing the content. Once you’ve got the content from the event, there’s tons of ways to leverage it. The best thing to do is have a clear plan for how you’d like to share it, before your event even starts. This way you’ll know what to capture and how to capture it.