What is content marketing?
The content marketing institute provides this definition:
‘Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action’.
Put simply, it’s bait. It’s something that attracts attention and gets people on the hook of your brand. But there’s more to content than simply attracting attention, most importantly you want attention from the right people for the right reasons and you want them to consider your brand in a higher regard after consuming your content.
Why use content in marketing?
- It increases engagement with your target market: it will mean better email open rates, more clicks on a digital display adverts, more interaction and attention on social media or on any channel you use it on (even using direct mail to direct people to your website for a piece of content will work better at generating traffic to your website than a direct mail sales message)
- It expands your reach and subsequently your marketing share: People that buy venue space know people that buy venue space. Offer them something interesting, informative and engaging and they’ll want to tell their contacts about it by emailing it, sharing a link or liking on social media. This introduces new people to your brand by referral from a friend (there is no better way for a prospect to be introduced to a brand) and expands your reach and brings new contacts into your marketing funnel because if they like your content there’s a good chance they’ll follow you on social media or sign up to your newsletter
- It makes you interesting: Have you run out of ways to reword your USPs for social media and email copy? Content will help make your communications exciting and interesting and just because you lead your marketing campaigns with content it doesn’t mean you can’t include a few sales messages and mentions of those USPs along the way
- It’s a great positioning tool: Who is your venue? What is its personality? Is it funny or friendly? High end or budget? Are you experts in event organisation or food? Does your team go the extra mile? All of this, and much more, can be conveyed through your content marketing pieces, whether they are event organisation advice guides demonstrating your venue’s expertise in event management, industry memes to show off your team’s humour or money-saving event tips demonstrated by your venue’s budget nature and value for money
- People will love you: People love personalities, not logos, they love character, not sales messages. So if you want your clients and prospective clients to love you stop repeating the same sales message, start publishing content and develop a personality
- It’s the backbone of modern marketing: Great content will support your activity on so many digital channels without you even doing anything. From earning back links for SEO, to increasing the click rate on your emails; content not only increases engagement but also increases your website’s score and search engine rankings
- It offers great value for money: Good content will get seen by just as many people as an advert in a magazine and it’s actively viewed (instead of passively viewed). Due to social sharing it’s presented as a referral and, best of all, the cost is minimal. If you write a content piece and then disseminate it across your free (or very cheap) digital channels the only cost is your time to research, write and disperse
- People trust experts not adverts: A fairly recent piece of research performed by Nielsen found 90% of OECD consumers trusted brand recommendations from friends or users online, while only 10% said they trusted messages from display advertising. Your content campaigns will make you seen, get you referred and make you trusted
- It not only generates leads, it generates the right leads: Every sales person has a story about the wrong leads. Leads that waste time and will never convert. In a humorous chat with a venue manager they said it would be ideal if they could put a note on their enquiry page ‘Don’t contact us unless you have a minimum budget of £10,000 for your event’. In an ideal world that would work, and we’d all be doing it, but it doesn’t send out a message of accommodating clients’ needs and won’t help your brand’s image. Content will allow you to sort through the gigantic venue buyer prospect pool to find the prospects that are right for you. Do you have an auditorium? Release an advice guide for events hosted in auditoriums. Are you a stadium venue? Release an article about the benefits of stadium venues. What you are doing with your content is pre-qualifying. If the reader isn’t interested in stadium events or auditoriums they won’t read your piece, they won’t connect with you and they won’t waste their time or yours
- It lasts forever (well almost): You’ve probably heard the term ‘evergreen content’, it’s content that’s always fresh and relevant. In the events industry trends change but not as fast as other industries so an advice guide for performing a risk assessment for an exhibition (great content piece if you sell exhibition space) will be just as relevant in two years as it is today. That means you can recycle it after a period of time has passed and re-run the campaign or you can batch together the best-performing content pieces in the last year for a round up email (tip: in your round up email have different topics and record what topic they click on, if they click on a piece about exhibitions you’ve qualified them for exhibition space, if they click on a piece for private dining, you’ve qualified them as interested in private dining. A good CRM linked to your EMSP (email marketing service provider) will automatically capture this information and begin categorising your contacts based on interest groups). I know a venue that for over a year has been organically (through search engines) attracting around 40 – 60 new visitors to their website a month with a single piece of content (they actually have loads of different types all attracting different amounts (and different types) of new users every month). From one piece of content that’s potentially 40 – 60 new prospects in your marketing funnel every month without even trying. I know the bounce rate on that page for the last year has been 60% so that means in the past year somewhere between 192 to 288 new prospects have gone on to navigate around their website. Can you imagine how much money and time you’d have to spend going to events to meet 192 people who seriously want to learn more about your venue?
How to create marketing content for a venue
Now you know the benefits of content marketing you can turn those benefits into goals for your content and those goals are your content brief. Here are some goals to get you started, apply them to your product and market and you’ll have your first content brief ready.
- It has to be interesting for your prospective and existing clients
- It has to be new, fresh, interesting and relevant
- It has to be engaging and it needs an early hook (to keep them reading) and like this article it has to tell them what they will get from the content early on (to show them it’s worth reading on – people’s digital attention span is short)
- It has to be shareable and likable (to broaden your reach)
- It has to reflect your brand’s personality/or the personality you want your brand to have
- It has to include some promotion for your venue (but don’t overdo it)
- It has to qualify/attract an audience that is going to be interested in your product
- It has to be evergreen
Be careful in your approach
Great content gets great results but bad content does more harm than good. Remember that for many this is the first introduction to your brand and you are being judged. Sloppy copy might be perceived as sloppy service, poor industry knowledge may translate to poor product offering, boring content might mean people consider your brand boring and the wrong content will attract the wrong people.
If you want to test your content ideas and gauge how successful they may be I recommend opening a free account with Moz Content. If you enter your content topics it will present all bits of content on the web in the past year (or 24 hours, week, month, or all time) and rank them by success in terms of reach, social shares, and back links built. You can even choose to filter by content type and medium.
At Patch Media we look after marketing activity for venues and suppliers to the events industry. We cover everything from strategy creation, to providing an entirely outsourced marketing team, to managing a single channel. We devise, produce and implement content campaigns for a number of our clients not only advising the content topics and approach that will reach their goals but the best way to distribute the content for maximum impact.
Our Content Director Beth Ivory is a seasoned events industry journalist and has an ability to come up with killer content ideas that get results. Our team of channel experts are an invaluable resource for advising what will work best on each channel and our events industry knowledge puts us in the best position to understand your market and the best ways to engage with it.
Want to discuss content. Get in touch today by calling +44 (0) 20 7952 1740, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a comment below.