Compelling content

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How can organisers give people what they want when visitors don’t think they want or need it? Robert Dunsmore, creative director How exactly do you keep creating compelling content for today’s exacting audience – “just saying..” is no longer an option – you will have to use pictures and get visual. This is not a new enigma. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is attributed to Arthur Brisbane, a 1911 newspaper editor, commenting on new style publicity adverts attracting attention away from his beloved print. This was, as now, the purpose of such visualisation – to make it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly. The recent shift of social media to ‘visual’ social media has been seismic and it is proving the language of the moment. Words will always have a way of course, but audiences find imagery more compelling and are engaging increasingly with the channels that supply them. It is happening in our own hands on our own mobile devices so we are already part of it. YouTube passes four billion video views daily and Instagram increased its daily mobile user base by nearly nine fold in six months to overtake Twitter (according to shareaholic) – that represents a growth of 1,179 per cent as pointed out by Business insider. Posts on Facebook with photos generate 53 per cent more likes (according to Hubspot) to the tune of 300 million photo based posts per day reported by Gizmodo. Pic Monkey has hit 1.6m visits a day after only eight months and Pinterest is now the fourth largest driver of traffic worldwide. Where social media blogs and posts ‘story-tell’ - these visual social media channels are ‘story-showing’ in a language everyone can understand and in turn join in. They are more than a channel, they are a network and business likes a network. At the recent MIPTV creative forum held in Cannes in the south of France, Maurice Levy of Publicis valued this year’s infamous Ellen DeGeneres Oscar selfie at US$1billion. At the beginning of May, Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer put Tumblr front and centre as a platform for creative storytelling and native advertising – “the average post on Tumblr is reblogged 14 times, but the average sponsored post on Tumblr is reblogged 10,000 times,” she said. Is this good for events I hear you say? Well of course – yes. Photographs and images begin as ‘live’ moments or ‘events’. So our media can drive these live moments or happenings to create something to show and record and perhaps as suggested by Ms Mayer, show and sell. So get the picture, join in and give it a like. Tamar Beck, CEO GleanIn (pictured) here is no better way of understanding what your visitors find compelling than listening to what the industry’s key communities are talking about or sharing, on Twitter or in relevant LinkedIn groups. If you really want to know what’s important to them right now and which issues are keeping them awake at night. You also need to find these online communities and start listening. Start building up engagement with these communities through a range of methods. This could be sharing content of your own, sharing their content with your own network, putting a focus onto who’s influential.Design your content around these key themes, discover influential speakers who may have thousands of new potential registrations following them on Twitter and invite them to speak. Then get to work on encouraging them to spread the word about the event. It’s a dynamic process that you should be working on throughout the year, building up trust and loyalty around your brand as you go. It goes without saying that this will also benefit your sales effort. In addition, you should also be creating opportunities for these people to meet each other and provide the space at the event for them to do so freely. Bringing people together is what an event is all about after all. You’ll know you’ve done a good job when your audience, stakeholders and industry experts are talking about what a great event you delivered within their own networks. They’ll be sharing your content regularly and will be willing to work with you and contribute to an event that is compelling to them. Simon Wigley, head of research and CRM very show organiser boasts about having compelling content, but it’s important to be clear about what makes an event compelling. Is it what the organiser intuitively knows is compelling content, or is it what the attendees of a show consider to be compelling? We’d argue the latter – and that the only way to really assess this is through a deep understanding of customers and their needs, interests and expectations for an event. The recent Caravan & Camping show held at The NEC – a well-established show with a clearly defined target audience – is a great example of insight driving compelling content. In spite of the show’s success, the organisers used insight to better understand their audience and in reviewing show content, created a new ‘feature’ opportunity to further enhance the visitor experience. As a result, they introduced a dog show this year, much to the delight of visitors. Although a direct connection isn’t initially obvious, the addition proved a great hit; organisers realised that many of their attendees owned dogs, and caravanning and camping was a leisure activity that allowed them to take their pets with them. Having ensured the show really does have compelling content, the next question is how to best communicate this to visitors? In this digital age we are all increasingly faced with information overload. This means that more than ever it is vital to communicate with customers in the right way at the right time. Once you’ve got their attention, the key to engagement is telling the story in an appealing and compelling way. Visitors come to shows for face-to-face interaction and getting that right is a powerful proposition, building an emotional attachment between customer and brand. This was first published in the June issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
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