By Matthew Pavli, Display Wizard
Almost all marketers are familiar with the lead generation value of trade shows. The engaged and captivated audience at most trade shows makes lead generation easier and more lucrative than in any other environment.
Far fewer marketers are familiar with the content marketing opportunities that the right trade show can present. From video interviews to blog post ideas, a good trade show can generate hundreds of content ideas (and real content) for your company.
In this guide, we'll share seven tactics that you can use to create amazing content at your next trade show. Apply one, two or all seven and you'll have enough blog posts and videos for the next 12 months, all from one event.
Trade shows let you meet and interact with your customers - something that's not always possible for digital businesses. As well as meeting your customers, they give you the opportunity to interview them and learn more about their businesses.
Instead of interviewing your customers privately, film your interviews so that they can become marketing content for your company. Most customers will be happy to be interviewed - after all, it's free publicity for their businesses.
Video interviews with existing customers can be published on your company's blog, uploaded to its YouTube channel or cut into short sound bites and testimonials for a promotional video for your company.
What are your audience's pain points? Pain points are specific issues customers face that your business can solve. Many businesses have multiple pain points - some (or all) of which could be solved by buying your product or service.
When you're interviewing your existing customers, ask them to list the three biggest pain points that their business faces. From quality control to scalability, every point a customer raises is something you can address in future blog content.
Don't limit yourself to interviewing your customers; you can also interview people that walk into your booth to learn what issues their business is facing. A good trade show should give you a list of 20-plus pain points that your prospects are facing.
After the show, turn this list of pain points into an editorial schedule for your blog or YouTube channel. Target a different pain point every week - after a year, you'll have built a powerful blog that's directly targeted toward your audience.
Trade shows are great opportunities to connect with influencers. From experts and public figures to your industry's thought leaders, make it a goal to talk to several of your industry's leading figures and, if possible, also interview them.
You'll be surprised to learn how accessible many big names are, especially at trade shows and other events. Contact your industry's thought leaders before the event, preferably with some well-thought-out questions, and they might meet you.
A short video interview with a thought leader in your industry can be a magnet for traffic, especially via YouTube search. Reach out to your industry's influencers to try and set up video interviews; even if only a few respond, it's completely worth it.
Surveying your customers can be incredibly difficult. Email surveys are ignored by the majority of their recipients, while pop-up surveys on your website can result in questionable data that raises more questions than it does answers.
Trade shows, on the other hand, are the perfect place to carry out detailed surveys of your industry. Offer a prize draw and you'll rarely struggle to convince attendees to share their thoughts and opinions with your company.
These opinions can influence future blog posts and videos by letting you know what your audience is most interested in. The data you collect at a trade show can also be used in company press releases, white papers and other content.
Who says you need to wait until the event is over to blog about it? Live blogging is a great way to attract attention during the event, since trade shows are often Twitter and Facebook hotspots.
Take note of your event's hashtags and tweet your live coverage. Large events with a technology-focused audience can cause huge amounts of activity on LinkedIn and Twitter - activity that can easily be directed to your blog posts and live updates.
From event timelines to live summaries of presentations and speeches, try updating your company blog or tweeting during your next trade show to attract attention and turn your company's online presence into an authoritative source of information.
Trade shows are great fun, and once the event is over attendees will want to share it online with their friends and colleagues. Creating a time-lapse video from your trade show booth gives your business great content to market after the event is over.
Combine a time-lapse video with interviews and shots of the event floor and there's a good chance you'll receive coverage on attendees' blogs. If you have an event video that's polished and high quality, try tweeting it to the event's organizers.
Trade shows have a culture of their own, and tapping into the culture with a post-event video is a great way to market your business. Not only will people remember your brand - they'll look out for your company's booth at next year's trade show.
Could your company blog benefit from an expert's opinion? Trade shows aren't just great places to learn about new content ideas - they're also great places to network with guest bloggers and contributors for your company blog.
From experts at businesses that complements yours to freelancers looking for the perfect blog to contribute to, let eligible people know that you're on the lookout for guest bloggers and contributors to develop your blog.
B2B is built on sharing - sharing information, sharing referrals and even sharing content. Get to know people that pop into your booth and ask them if they have an interest in contributing to your blog - many people will respond enthusiastically.
It's easy to go into a trade show with a sales-focused attitude. However, when you focus entirely on sales and lead generation you could be missing out on a massive range of content marketing opportunities.
From networking with influencers to interviewing your customers, attend your next trade show with a content marketing plan in mind. From articles to video, a content plan will help your company produce outstanding content at its next trade show.
Matthew Pavli works as a marketing executive for Display Wizard, suppliers of exhibitions stands, banner stands and other promotional material for trade shows, conferences and retail environments.