Updated: Apr 2
Remember when people had to write angry letters to newspapers or pay for expensive paper advertising if they had something important to say? Admittedly, some of those people still exist, but nowadays the medium of choice for the opinionated is the blog. Millions of users around the world are using this free, easy and popular channel to air their views to the world.
On top of the seemingly endless ranks of individual bloggers, companies are beginning to understand the power of their own blogs as a means of identifying themselves to their audience. It’s a great way of stretching out a hand to engage readers and generate interest not just in your event, but in your organisation. So how can event planners use blogs to successfully market their events?
Change it up
Off the top of your head, you might think the most important things to include on your blog are updates related to the event itself - new speakers, confirmations of venue and timing and guides for transport, for example. All of these things are important, but they’re also likely to be posted elsewhere - other pages on the event website, social media, emailed updates to confirmed attendees. Your blog will need to contain more than just this basic content.
Offer something valuable
Remember that readers are not browsing your blog because they have nothing else to do: they want to gain something in exchange for their time and effort. Make sure you provide them with something they did not have before - valuable insights into subjects which are broadly related to your event, such as new research on business practices in your industry, blog posts on issues you expect your speakers to touch on and other such ideas. Be creative - there are plenty of ways to engage the right audience if you understand who they are, so make sure you’ve done your market research first.
All good blog posts should be engaging, interesting to the reader and worth sharing with peers. The best way to hook your readers in is to tell a story through each post which sheds new light on the topic. Begin with a snappy introduction that lays out the subject matter and establishes a plot - loosely this translates to setting out a problem and hinting that there are ways to resolve it. Then move into the main body of the text, offering more detailed information on the situation and then how it can be resolved. Finish by explaining how the situation has now changed. Ultimately, it’s the traditional structure of a beginning, middle and end. If you’re stuck for inspiration, read around other company and event blogs and get a sense of how they are written.
Take the right tone
Tone of voice can be tough to establish and in the end, only your target audience can dictate where you should pitch your event blog. But the whole point of a blog is that it is a more direct form of communication with the audience, so it offers plenty of freedom to speak in a less formal and more personal tone. Of course, this does not mean that any organisation should sound too chatty - especially when it comes to business events, there’s a balance to be struck between accessibility and professionalism.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
It sounds scary, but SEO doesn’t have to be a headache-inducing labyrinth of keyword research and algorithms. Really, it’s a case of doing thorough research before you start and providing valuable, relevant content that readers will appreciate. Your blog should adopt similar SEO principles to those on your event website. Think carefully about what it is that your readers are hoping to gain from your blog and plan your content accordingly.
Make it social
By far the most effective way to get people talking about your event is through social media. The blog format lends itself to social sharing far more easily than standard web pages thanks to the greater freedom and informality it facilitates, so this is a perfect opportunity to offer information people will want to send to their networks. Post links to the blog on your own or your organisation’s social media with a link to your online delegate registration system, and use them to start discussions wherever possible. Remember, blogs offer other opportunities to communicate too - commenting on other blogs and starting conversations that way is another great way to extend your reach.