Trade Shows and Live Events as Content Marketing

You know those folks who are super-organized about the business events they attend? The ones who research the companies who are going to be there, reach out to organize meetings in advance, have a plan for walking the floor, never eat — or even have coffee — alone? Yeah, I hate ‘em, too.

Group of people standing in line and looking at their smart phones

You know those folks who are super-organized about the business events they attend? The ones who research the companies who are going to be there, reach out to organize meetings in advance, have a plan for walking the floor, never eat — or even have coffee — alone? Yeah, I hate ‘em, too.

All kidding aside, even if you aren’t the model of getting the most out of trade shows, webinars and other events, they can be a great part of your content marketing — and your content marketing will help make the events themselves more productive.

One way to do this, of course, is to begin talking about the event on social media in the weeks leading up to it. Mention what it is you’re excited about, whose presentations, what topics you’re looking to explore. Yes, you’ll open yourself up to some unwanted sales pitches. But you’ll also find yourself connecting with like-minded folks who may have insights and experience that could help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

For that matter, talk about it afterwards, too. You can focus on the highlights, what you learned, who you met, and even what you missed. Again, the goal is to do so in a way that encourages interaction with others so you might make additional connections.

On a more one-to-one level, you can use email in a similar way: Ask clients and potential clients if they’re planning on attending. If so, set up a time to chat, even if only briefly. If not, ask if there’s anything of particular interest that you can look into for then.

Once you’re at the event, staying active on social media can be productive, but don’t do it to the exclusion of, you know, actually picking up your head and paying attention to the people around you or the presentation you’re sitting in. That’s the real opportunity.

And it should go without saying that you want to occupy the space between obnoxious and coy. In other words, don’t go rushing from person to person pressing your business card into their palms and immediately moving on. (I’m exaggerating, though not by much …) That’s just not going to get you any traction. Just as your content has to provide value rather than being purely promotional, your personal interactions have to be interesting to your audience. It’s about them, not you.

At the same time, there’s no reason not to be clear and direct about your networking intentions. You’ve gotta give to receive if you want to make networking work, especially at live large events which tend to be somewhat more rushed.

Author: Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?

A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.

His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications. 

Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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