Separated at birthMost of the FLIRT digital team spent last week at Content Marketing World, a conference designed for writers, marketers, SEO and analytics experts to learn how to craft messages that mean more, and draw larger and more focused audiences.  We didn’t go as event organizers or to participate in the sessions, we provided the event app, an award-winning mobile app that we have implemented for CMWorld for the past two years.

Normally, when we implement an app, we launch pre-show promotion campaigns and on-site engagement campaigns. In order to keep reaching 85% and higher download rates we require an understanding of the client’s world. And while we worked hard to learn what a content marketer thinks and worries about, we initially missed a profound connection. The connection between our world as event organizers and corporate communications experts, and theirs as content marketers.

But dig a little deeper like we did, and you’ll discover that content marketers and event organizers have a great deal in common. While we love to use content marketing practices (like infographics and videos) to promote our custom solutions, we never realized just how closely our thought processes resembled Content Marketing Institute and its esteemed followers. 

Don’t believe me? Let me describe someone and you tell me if I’m talking about an event organizer or a content marketer. They:

  • Use old school ideas like passion, logic and persuasion to build a message that resonates with a specific target audience
  • Use technology to make that message take hold more deeply and in more places
  • Generally works behind the scenes to promote and disseminate big ideas
  • Distribute ideas geared towards causing a behavior change or action
  • Recognize that everyone appreciates the work they do, but struggle to quantify the value of that work

I’m sure you guessed that it was a trick question: I’m describing both. Where event organizers use physical space and experiential techniques to engage audiences, content marketers use text and images to engage their audiences. Beyond that, the tools and approaches are very similar.

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For example, FLIRT is often tasked with putting together large national sales meetings. We could just call in the usual suspects to stage, script and present the event, but instead we spend a lot of time thinking about crucial components, such as what the message is, who needs to hear it, how to prepare each person to receive the message and how to reinforce it later on. Surrounding that event, we design campaigns that span an entire year just to make sure the message becomes deeply embedded in every participant’s mind. We worry about the outcome first then work our way backwards to build the audience’s journey.

In the same way, a content marketer is tasked with driving traffic to a site. And while a good content marketer knows how to bring SEO, social media, blogs and link-building to bear on the task, they will spend a good chunk of their time thinking about the bigger picture. Is it enough to simply drive traffic to the site, or should it be the right kind of traffic? What are all the steps of the audience’s journey? At what stage will they need to hear a certain message to move them to the next stage? What is that message, what does it feel like and what channel delivers it?

We are similar travelers in dissimilar worlds.

Because of our unusual position and approach, we have spent years developing new ways to engage and motivate our audiences beyond the ballroom, outside the three-day sales meeting or trade show. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to measure the return on investment in events and apps. Contact us to learn more about the unusual problems we’ve solved with and for content marketers.