The Content Marketing Opportunity: Increased Attendance and Lower Costs

A revolution is sweeping the world of marketing and it’s sure to have an impact on the way conferences are organized and promoted. Sarah Mitchell explains why content marketing is the new way to build a loyal following for your events. 

Your number one job as a conference organiser is to get bums on seats, right? While good attendance numbers make everyone happy, great attendance numbers lead to bigger projects, better clients and more compensation.  If you’re taking a traditional approach to marketing your event, chances are you’ll never break into that top tier.

Traditional marketing relies on broadcasting a message in the hopes of finding customers. Often, this message is sprayed like buckshot into a fairly large segment of the population. Referred to as ‘outbound techniques’, the goal is to interrupt the attention of the intended recipient.  These strategies involve websites, newspapers, TV, radio, print publications, billboards, buses, park benches, telemarketing, email marketing – anywhere you think potential conference attendees might be spending time. With all these methods, once your event is over, you’re not left with much to show for your investment.

The change in consumer behaviour

Advances in technology – along with government regulations – have made it difficult to reach your target audience. Let’s face it; no one likes to be interrupted. Call screening, TIVO, satellite radio, online newspapers, privacy rights, and ‘do not call’ lists interrupt even the best marketing campaigns. Consumers have flocked to the internet where they can find everything they need to make informed buying decisions. That’s where content marketing comes in.

What is content marketing?

According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what your customers need to know and delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way”. Content marketing focuses on giving your prospect the information they need to make the decision to attend your event. Good content pulls people in. If you’re the person consistently delivering the best content, you become a trusted resource. Instead of searching for information, your prospects come to you before they even hit the Google search bar.

It’s harder than it sounds. You can no longer rely on a single brochure or print advertisement to convince a potential candidate to invest in your event. A good flyer or web banner usually initiates a search for more information and they’ll expect to find it from you. An interesting website plus multiple content types like blog posts, case studies, white papers, customer testimonials, infographics and videos help position your event and establish you as an authority.

Here’s the best part – compelling content potentially becomes a long-term asset to your organisation. Unlike money spent on a radio advertisement – which evaporates the second the advert is aired – a well-written case study hangs around forever. A popular video often gets passed around from person to person, network to network and still be viewed long after your conference is finished. That never happens to a newspaper. A website developed for a specific conference can be used year-after-year and easily updated for little or no extra expenditure.

How do they find your information?

A content marketing strategy requires you to think like a publisher – in more ways than one. Just because you’ve developed content doesn’t mean anyone will find it. You also have to set up a distribution system which helps spread your message. Social media channels are a great way to build multiple networks of engaged fans willing to help you out.

Like content developed for a specific project, your social media profiles have long-term benefit. Social networks are incredibly fluid attracting fans and followers from all corners of the globe. These networks provide a target-rich environment for your promotional efforts.

That good news about content marketing

It sounds like a lot of work and it is, but the payback is significant. When you develop and implement a content marketing strategy, what you’re really doing is creating reusable assets. Unlike traditional marketing techniques that produce nothing more than a broadcast message, content is a tangible thing that can be used, re-used and reformatted for many different purposes.

Here’s the best part, according to Hubspot, inbound marketing (content marketing is considered an inbound technique) is a low-cost option. Compared to outbound techniques, leads generated through content marketing cost about 62% less.

The benefits of content marketing are many. By providing information, education and even entertainment, you can quietly establish yourself as an authority and convince people to attend your next event before you’ve even announced a date. Your marketing activities and expenditures are easily targeted at an ideal customer base instead of to the general public. You spend less money and build a valuable portfolio of content which continues to be an asset long after your event is over. Consumer behaviour has changed, it’s time for you to follow suit.


Recommended Resources

Content Marketing Institute – http://www.contentmarketinginstitute,com

Chief Content Officer Magazine –

Hubspot –

Global Copywriting Blog –,

Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman