Content marketing is all the buzz today and we wanted to get the people who are crushing it in content marketing in the events industry. My guests this week are David Epstein, content marketing manager of Bizzabo, who is a content marketing and brand building expert focused on building a marketing machine to educate event planners about a SaaS solution! I’m also joined by Kristen Carvalho, senior content and social media manager at eTouches.
Kristen Carvalho joined eTouches in November 2013 and is the company’s Senior Content and Social Media Manager. She is charged with setting and executing the social media and content strategies to support the marketing team efforts to increase equity and online brand awareness. Big shout out to Laura Lopez for hosting this week’s episode while I was in the Panama jungle!
Content Marketing In The Events Industry: What Do Our Guests Do
After the initial round of introductions, Laura asks David and Kristen to talk about what they do at their respective companies. David goes first. “I run the Bizzabo blog and all of the content that goes with that. Webinars. eBooks, and white papers. SEO and social media is also part of my responsibilities as is PR.”
Kristen laughs and says that she essentially does the same. “I manage all of the blog content and work with outside writers and inside writers. I do all of our social media efforts. I work with a team of other marketing and content producers to create a holistic marketing story,” she adds.
Managing Content Marketing Writers
“You both mentioned that you use outside writers for their expertise,” says Laura. “How do you find and manage outside writers? How do you keep them engaged?”
“It is hard because there are a lot of writers out there, but there aren’t a lot of awesome event planning writers,” David replies. “We use Upwork to get an introduction to someone who’s a good writer. To me, it’s more important that they have great writing ability . Then, we can introduce them to an expert or guide them to research and become an expert on their own.”
Kristen agrees that it’s essential that a writer works with an expert. “We also rely on some of our internal experts to help external writers. We have a really accessible executive team that’s been in the industry for many years.”
Let’s Talk Budget For Content Marketing In The Events Industry!
“We can all think of a few big people in our industry who have huge content marketing budgets, but I don’t think that means that the smaller companies who have smaller budgets or smaller teams produce content that’s not as great,” says Kristin.
“Some content can cost you $10,000 to produce it. Especially if you work with somebody outside and you want to create a research-driven expert piece.” Luckily, Kristen also thinks that a lot of content marketing in the events industry can be done internally.
“If you have a great writer that knows the topic or you can utilize experts within your own company, you can create great content pieces. Maybe you won’t be able to advertise them in as many places as you would like. But you can do it organically and see what your reach is there,” she adds.
Daniel shares Kristen’s opinion about some of the giants in the events industry. “Some of the companies that have the biggest budgets generally don’t produce the best content. I’m not sure why, but I think when you have a smaller budget, you’re forced to be honest with your readers and just share what you know.” So in short, he doesn’t think content marketing requires a huge budget. Naturally, it’s easier with a big budget, but sometimes, it can be a blessing in disguise not having one.
The Most Popular Marketing Content
Next up, it’s time for Daniel and Kristen to boast about their most popular content, be it an e-book, white paper, organic, or social post.
“The most popular post has been the one explaining why women-only business events have been popular lately. We rank well organically for that. That took us by surprise when we published it,” says Daniel.
What about Kristen? “We had one post, called ‘What I Wish I Knew When I Was Starting My Career as an Event Planner’. It’s just tips for somebody who’s getting started in the industry who maybe is going to school and isn’t too sure about it.”
“Socially, our CEO won an award in the New York area and we posted it on LinkedIn. It probably got the most clicks, likes, shares, comments ever in existence for us on LinkedIn. We were really pleasantly surprised by that.”
Content Marketing Goes Hand In Hand With Sales & Customer Success
“Content is a huge part of our marketing strategy, but when it comes to our sales team, we really try to create pieces that they can utilize for a softer touchpoint,” says Kristen. “If we have prospective leads that we’re trying to reach out to, we send them our content. For example, ‘We produced this great white paper on event ROI. Why don’t you have a look?’ It’s about being seen as a thought leader. Then, they’ll remember you when it’s time for them to buy. Our sales team also uses a lot of our case studies that we produce.”
Laura’s team uses also case studies and stores them on Salesforce. “It’s really easy for somebody on the sales team to just do a quick search for particular types of case studies. We try to make it accessible for people to find the content and use it.”
Content Marketing Communications
Laura wants to know how exactly do their teams communicate with other teams in the company. “How do you make sure that everybody is informed and that they are sharing and utilizing your content to its full extent? You have to make sure it doesn’t collect somewhere in a Google drive folder.”
“One of the most important things that we do is we send them a monthly email that has everything in there with some tweet templates. They can send them out or to their clients or anyone that way if they want to. We tell them how they can use content as well,” says Kristen.
“Something else that we use is this platform called Bambu. It’s an employee advocacy tool. You can have a bunch of teams. You can have a whole team together on there posting all of your content and you can create different categories. It could be internal content that your company is producing. It can be intel about your competitors, maybe it’s just content topics. If you have a salesperson who wants to become more active and vocal in the community, then we push stuff out to them that way and they get it in an email digest so they can see it weekly,” she adds.
Laura’s company uses Slack. “Every time a blog goes out, there’s an integration to that. It’s a great way to get everybody on board. We have a weekly email that goes out about very high-level company stuff.”
Content Marketing & Enterprise Social Media
Enterprise social media facilitates social relationships between people or companies who share similar business interests. Laura wants to know whether Kristen’s or Daniel’s team uses any.
“We use this tool, called Social Dynamite. It allows you to schedule your posts, but you also have the opportunity to have ambassadors that you can add,” says Kristen. “It doesn’t have to just be internal people. It could be external people, partners that you work with or associations that you have really great relationships with. You can put them into your schedule.”
“We actually use HubSpot for a lot of different functions, including social scheduling,” Daniel says. “It’s very flexible for us and we can have a calendar that’s months out. You can easily pause the posts, which is really important. Unfortunately, there are some sad world events that happen where posting about event-planning tips is inappropriate. When we’re looking at metrics, we’re using HubSpot’s reporting on reach, which you can compare to previous months. That historical data is really important. You can also check day-to-day mentions and engagement.”
Speaking of engagement, Laura wants to know whether their teams engage with their audiences on a regular basis. “We probably don’t do it as much as we should,” says Kristen. “It’s this year’s goal for us to engage more with people in the conversations on Twitter and on LinkedIn.”
Daniel says that a big part of his morning is actually engaging with each and every one of those people who engage with Bizzabo. “I’ve seen great performance increases as a result. People get gratification from thanking them or answering a question they asked. In terms of engaging with people who become evangelists or promoters, we are pretty good at that,” he explains.
Engaging with people is an important part of Laura’s job. “What the community manager is charged with doing is cultivating those relationships online and offline. Online via social content and offline through events and meeting people.”
She shares some valuable information. “One of the pillars of building community is you start really small and you do a lot of things that don’t scale very well. If somebody had a really poor experience with your software or your website, or they had a really great experience – it goes both ways; send them a handwritten note. That surprisingly gets a huge rise. People will email you back or they’ll call you.”
In Conclusion: Content Is King
“We’re all in the B2B space, but event planners can really utilize a lot of what we’ve been talking about,” says Kristen. “Content plays a huge part in how you promote your events and create a lifelong event community. It can expand the life of your event. There are a lot of great pieces you can create. Remember that content shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be something that you’re thinking about from the pre-planning stages to during, and even after the event. You don’t want people to forget about your event.”