Content is King! For years we have heard that Content is King, and for good reason. It’s the distribution of content and the messages that accompany them that has driven publishing for decades. By producing content and surrounding it with promotional messages, you have the basics of any newspaper or magazine, or television for that matter!
Today, technology provides us with unprecedented capabilities to combine content and engagement in an experience the user finds exciting. Our ability to expand access to your content provides your organization with greater opportunities than ever before.
Digitell stands ready to assist you and your organization in discovering these new and exciting opportunities. With our tools and experience, we’ll help you easily navigate these uncharted waters with great success.
We’ve designed this entire section to share what we’ve learned while assisting over 100 clients embark on the same journey, all seeking the same goal: to engage their members and industry worldwide through the strategic capturing and online delivery of their conference content.
Creating A Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy is the formation of a plan on what content your organization should capture and/or Live Broadcast throughout the year and how to utilize that captured content to engage your membership and industry at large. This content is usually produced at a conference and can be utilized throughout the year in an endless array of product offerings.
An important component of a successful strategy is understanding who your market is and what opportunities are there to engage that market with your content. Once you begin to Live Stream your conference content, the world becomes your audience, so starting to identify groups or communities of colleagues, students and industry professionals will be instrumental in leveraging your content.
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Identify Your Audience
Of course, if you are an organization than your most likely audience starts with your membership. But, don’t stop there. It is important to look at your content marketing strategy as both a short term marketing strategy to gain exposure or generate revenue, but also to look at it as an outreach program to future members and conference attendees. Identify the top 10 schools who have programs within your specialty and reach out through local members connections or chapter participants and see how these schools can leverage your Live Stream or conference content.
If you have exhibitors, each of them have an email list of customers and they all are potential members of your organization. Offer your exhibitors the ability to select sessions from your meeting and sponsor this content or allow them to host selected session on their website. If nothing else, provide each exhibitor with 10 complimentary invitations to your Live Streaming event. Introduce your exhibitors to the idea of utilizing your content to engage their customers and staff. These are all channels to reaching more people.
Start to think of your Live Streaming Event as creating a community of online users and those online users will begin to convert to physical attendees and members over time. It’s all about engaging as many people with your content as possible.
What Are Your Organizations Goals?
It’s important to establish your organizations goals and to shape your content products and services to meet these goals. I know that every organization wants to grow revenue while expanding their brand, and of course, in general that is exactly what we are striving to do, but, there are benefits and downfalls with every content marketing strategy. If your goal is to generate revenue, then your product offerings will be shaped in a different way than if your goals are to expand your brand to as many professionals as possible.
There are obviously numerous models out there when it comes to leveraging your content. For now let’s discuss the two most popular models utilized, as this will help you shape your goals and better understand the potential outcomes.
The first successful model is what we refer to as “For Pay” where the end user is charged for your online content. This is a very successful model for some organizations, especially if your organization offers accreditation credits for attending or accessing your event. This model will assist you in creating an online audience that will pay to access your content and this will certainly increase overall revenues for your meeting. Many of them will ultimately convert to physical attendees over the upcoming years. The only downside to running a “For Pay” event only is that it will limit your organization’s ability to reach hundreds of users. “For Pay” events typically start out with around 100 users for most conferences. Of course, if your organization has thousands of members than you will most likely reach more. Digitell has many clients who utilize this model and are having great success year after year.
The second successful model is a sponsored event, where you provide complimentary access to the end user and one or several of your exhibitors sponsor the access. This can also be a very successful model, as many of our clients are reaching hundreds of users and providing an excellent sponsorship opportunity for their exhibitors. Digitell has several exciting marketing opportunities utilizing their SYNDICAST™ strategies, so be sure to look at that section of this program for more details.
Step 1. Evaluate Your Goals
The first step in creating a content marketing strategy is evaluating your goals and establishing a vision for success. This can be done by evaluating a long term outcome that your organization is looking to achieve and then consider the following.
What are the primary goals of your organization? Is it educating your members, or driving revenues? Are you looking to reach new markets or add value to your present membership? All of these are great reasons to consider a Content Marketing Strategy.
Once you have identified your goals, it is best to write down all of the different communities of professionals that you believe would be interested in your content. Let’s identify a few from the start:
- Exhibitor Communities
- Affiliated Organizations
- International professionals
- Speaker Communities
15% – 30% of Virtual Attendees will come to your physical event the following year, making Live Streaming the most cost effective marketing tool to drive physical attendance
After streaming 800 conferences over the past 6 years, less than 1% of clients have reported any cannibalization issue. It simply does not exist and should not be a concern.
As you can see, there are several opportunities to reach professionals through existing relationships. This is a very powerful marketing opportunity and Value can be obtained on many different levels. This is not just an education driven agenda and your organization needs to consider this as an organization wide strategy.
Step 2. The Business Model
Once you have established your goals and who would want access to your content, you now need to consider what business model you will follow. This is an important step in the process but one that can be changed down the road. You may choose to secure a sponsor for year one, gaining the greatest amount of exposure as possible and in year two, choose to change your model to a “For Pay” model.
There are several factors that you will want to consider when deciding what business model you want to select. Here are just a few:
- Is your education accredited? If you offer continuing education credit in your industry then this will provide your organization with a much higher ability to offer your online education at a cost.
- Do you have the ability to capture over 90% of your conference and create a “Full Conference Offering? This is a very important aspect of your product development. We have found that the most successful “For Pay” strategy has been offering your physical conference as an online conference and selling it for the same price as attending in person. Your members have been familiar with the price to attend your conference in person and therefore, they are familiar with the VALUE of your meeting. Don’t discount it online. The caveat is that you must offer them the entire meeting, or over 90%, online. You then Live Stream one track so that the online attendee has access to Live Content and then archived content of all the other sessions. This has been a winning model for many of our clients.
- Does your industry have companies looking for additional exposure opportunities? If your industry has sponsorship opportunities then you may want to consider the sponsorship model. This can be a very effective way of reaching a greater audience and also a great added value to both your end users, and also your sponsors.
Digitell offers the ability to have several sponsors and also we provide a very unique opportunity of offering sponsors the ability to create their own “Private” broadcast, designed specifically for their community. this allows for private chats, polling, etc., and allows your organization to leverage your content over several different privately branded players.
Step 3. Selecting your Live Streaming Content
When we work with our clients, we tell them that they want to look at their conference and when considering the content to be Live Streamed select the most engaging content first. This is usually the general sessions as they have the most invested in them and provide for a great starting point.
Pre and post conference workshops are another great area to consider. If these workshops have any certification connected to them even all the better.
Some of the external factors that may come into play are as follows:
- You need to be able to secure permission to Live Stream. Check your agreement with your presenters and be sure that they will extend to you the “Rights” to Live Stream their session.
- The internet Costs. You will have to secure a dedicated internet feed for all locations that you plan on Live Streaming and therefore you want to place as many of these selected sessions in one room, if possible. Costs are the biggest hurdle in having an out of the gate success, so Digitell will work with you to keep your costs as low as possible.
- Time Zones. Depending on where you are holding your conference, there are time zone considerations to think about. We have found that West coast users will get up early to attend an east Coast Session, but East Coast users will not stay past 5pm to watch a west coast session. This is a very general statement, but one that needs to be considered.
- If you have a sponsor, then they may have selected sessions that they may want to have Live Streamed as they may have a company representative in that session or it may support that companies message or product.
- Select sessions that may be more engaging to the audience that you are looking to engage. As an example, you may want to Live Stream a different session to students than you would to seasoned professionals. Using common sense when selecting your content is the rule of thumb.
Step 4. Securing Your Live Streaming Vendor
When selecting your vendor there are really several factors that you should consider. They are as follows:
- Vendor Experience. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of selecting a vendor with a great track record. Check their references and take the time to talk with their present customers.
- Vendor Platform. When reviewing the vendors platform, don’t be dazzled with platforms that have all the bells and whistles. This is not nearly as important as their ability to run a flawless event. We have found that keeping it simple is better than utilizing a complex platform that will only frustrate the end user.
Ask the vendor if they have their own production team and whether or not they have a dedicated staff. Be sure they are not outsourcing your event to another third party. It is crucial to the success of your event that the vendor you choose has a platform that has already been integrated with all of the other resources, like production, registration, evaluations, etc. Check to be sure that they have an extensive customer support system in place and then be sure that they have “Live” representatives ready to help your users at all times. This is an important component and one that should not be looked at lightly.
Step 5. Market your event effectively!!
Marketing your event should start as soon as possible. If you have the ability to add it to your physical registration marketing then you will experience a better response overall. Look at each of the communities of people you are looking to reach and shape a message that will entice them to join your event online. Work with your existing partners, ie: exhibitors, faculty, chapters, affiliates, etc. and create a strategy that will engage them with the opportunities available. Create highlight videos to showcase your online options. utilize social media and create a 10 day countdown. Marketing your online event is the most important step in the entire process. This should not be taken lightly and you will need assistance from other departments within your organization. Just like your physical meeting, the success of your online event hinges on your ability to get the message out that your meeting is now available online.
You will find that most of your online registrants will come in the final 30 days of your campaign. Also, do not over extend your expectations. this is like starting over with a new meeting, so it will take time. You must be committed to growing your online audience and this will take a few years, but the results will be well worth the investment.
60% – 80% of Re-Broadcasted Sessions are attended by members who have never attended a physical event, providing you a unique tool to engage members not previously being engaged.
Re-Broadcasting sessions can generate as much as 10 times more revenue than selling content On-Demand
Hybrid Events are the easiest way for an organization to begin to utilize their content to engage their membership. Hybrid Events are also very easy to implement as your content is already created and being presented to a live audience and all you are doing is broadcasting selected sessions to an online audience. Don’t be concerned about trying to convince your presenters to engage the online audience in the beginning. it certainly helps, but is not an essential part of the experience. Your members will be very happy to have an inside window into your meeting. If you have experienced presenters, than for sure, have them address both the physical and online audiences, but it is not a “must” to expect your presenters to do this. We have live streamed hundreds of events and most of them the presenters have not done anything different than present to the physical audience.
The hardest part of a Hybrid Event is the marketing, as it is important to be sure to extend the value of your live stream to as many industry professionals as possible. We suggest piggy backing on your existing marketing efforts along with creating some additional marketing to reach the specific communities of people that you have identified in your Content marketing Strategy.
Below, we have put together a timeline to help you create your strategy and implement a successful Hybrid Event. If you choose the “For Pay” model, remember that it is important to capture your entire meeting and offer the online option as a complete conference. You will increase your likely hood of success exponentially.
9-Months Prior to Conference
If you start working on marketing and promotion 6-9 months out, you can do a much better job at alerting your community about their ability to attend the event virtually from their home or their office.
- Create live stream plan. This should include dates to have registration opened, a plan to target onsite attendees who aren’t attending this year, past attendees, members, non-members, etc
- Customized marketing to target each specific group and demographic. Identify how the association communicates with its members (blogs, emails, newsletters, website, social media, etc…) and customize a plan utilizing those methods to convey our message and piggyback on their existing marketing plan.
- Consider offering group and facility licenses for the live stream program. Identify and target these in regular marketing and promo campaigns.
- Create a best practices document with suggestions of the number of sessions offered, pricing ranges and what resources will be needed for best results.
- Coordinate conference marketing with the live stream marketing.
- Determine if CE credits will be offered and to finalize any sponsorship opportunities.
Identify where else attendees and members go for knowledge in their field. If they have a list of publications, blogs, social media, chapters, etc. Consider at least a small financial investment in advertising the live stream offering in other advertising media and channels.
6-Months Prior to Conference
Inside of 6-months you’ll need to begin promotional campaigns.
- Existing clients: offer one week free access to the library.
- Create and redemption of code embedded in association/company website.
- All marketing messages to promote ability to virtually attend
- Create a live stream icon
- Create sample text to include in marketing emails, website with mention of offering and link to registration
Look at what content can be shared with other companies and organizations to increase the exposure and the marketing of that content, your brand and your organization.
“We reached 8,000 doctors from 72 different countries with our live stream.” – RSNA
“Digitell’s well thought out OPUS platform offers our company a versatile menu of features that meet all of our customers’ needs. Not only does the platform provide a clean, fresh, and user-friendly experience for the end user, but it also is extremely intuitive for the back-end administrator. Our organization has used this platform to drive new revenues and traffic that have surpassed our expectation and goals, and it has become a critical part of our customer experience and content delivery mechanism.” – Steve Williams, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Executive Leadership Council
3-Months Prior to Conference
Inside of 3-months of the conference, most people have decided if they will be attending onsite or not. At this point a more direct marketing strategy is more effective. We suggest 3 distinct marketing campaigns…
- Attendees – Target marketing emails to those who you know are registered and attending onsite. The message to these people should be, do you have any colleagues, friends, or industry peers that you know who can’t join you at the live conference? Give them this coupon code and they can save (a percentage) of the price off the live stream sessions. Perhaps it could simply be an extension of the early-bird discount.
- Past Attendees – You will have probably already marketed heavily to this group to come to the live conference. Typically if they haven’t registered at this point, they are on the fence at best. The marketing to this group should be to acknowledge that they are busy and most likely can’t make it to the live conference due to time or budget constraints. Most in this group will understand the value of attending the conference as they have been to the live meeting before. Offer this group the ability to enjoy and interact in some of the live sessions, and if Digitell is capturing the conference, access to the archives, should be a fairly easy sell.
- Everyone Else – This would include your mailing list, plus the groups and facilities referenced in the 9-month plan above. Offer free access to the opening general session when marketing to this group. Typically, a large percentage of this specific cross section has never attended your live conference. Your goal in marketing to this group is actually 3-fold. First, this will be an opportunity for the association to get some face time with new potential members. Digitell can pre-record an interview or presentation from the association to highlight its association and member services. This could be solely for the virtual audience, a introductory selling pitch to convince non-members why they should become attendees, why they should attend the live conference and why they should sign up onsite for the live stream sessions. We can play this leading into the first general session which I propose we offer for free to this marketing group.
Ideally, you would like to set up a subscription based model that requires users to pay every year to get access to all the latest information in your industry. This provides you the maximum ability to generate revenue as you look for ways of building that subscription base year after year. However, you still should be able to generate a steady revenue flow from single sessions and package products. We have found that Review Courses sell extremely well in an On-Demand environment and can generate in excess of six figures per year in revenue. If you are not capturing and archiving any Review Course content, we highly recommend it.
Having your On-Demand content accredited will provide an added boost in traffic, interest, purchasing and revenue. If you are in the CE business, leverage the ability for your members to get their CE as much as possible.
Get the most out of your event by posting updates to social media.
Create a #hashtag well in advance and use it in all your promotional materials. Basically a hashtag is a link to subject matter on various social media platforms.
“Due to our success, over the last 6 years, we have expanded our live streaming efforts from one concurrent to the entire meeting for 28 meetings.” – AICPA
Use the content to create a monthly Webinar Series or Re-Broadcast a free CE of the Month or Lecture of the Month to drive and engage members.
“Live Streaming turned our meeting from a loss to a profit.” – ARRS
Capturing your educational content from your annual meeting or smaller regional meetings is a must for all organizations. First and foremost, it is the best content that you can utilize to engage your members all year long. Second, this content is a valuable resource in creating learning modules, LMS libraries and repurposing as webcasts and rebroadcasts. I cover this in the last section, but the reality is that your annual meeting content can be repurposed over and over, creating engaging products and learning opportunities. Building a Digital Library to host and archive your content for On-Demand access is a must for leveraging your content. Utilizing Digitell’s platform will provide you a site that was built to manage and distribute content. However, putting content on your own site for access is better than not having the content at all.
Once you have decided to capture your content from your meeting, you now must decide how you are going to utilize this content. This requires a strategy on repurposing this content and how you will use this content to satisfy your goals and objectives. The following are a few thoughts on how you should repurpose your content.
- Combine your online library of content with a Live Stream and offer your members the ability to attend your meeting online, LIVE!! It is the Live component that will increase your sales of the meeting content.
- Utilize your online resource library of content to secure a sponsor for the distribution of this content to your physical attendees. Have an exhibitor sponsor the access to this resource and have all attendees stop by the exhibitors booth to obtain the access code and you will help drive unprecedented traffic to their booth. We have done this with clients for years and the sponsors sign up immediately for the next year.
- Slice and dice your content to create multiple products that target specific markets and specific needs. Buyers are looking for that perfect fit of content so they don’t feel like they are buying content they don’t need. So creating multiple packages of 5 to 10 sessions can be a powerful way to drive On-Demand Revenue.
- Running promotions, like “Buy One Get One Free” or “20% off this Month Only” will provide incentives to continue to drive traffic to your Library throughout the year. Of course, you always have your buyers that want everything you have, “Just in Case They Need It”, so selling your entire conference or access to your entire Library is always a good option.
Running coupons, promotions, session credits and branded libraries can increase your On-Demand revenue 10 fold.
In the past, most organizations that captured their content, simply put it on their web site and hoped that members would come and access or pay for the content under their own motivation. The adage, when you can do something anytime, anywhere, you seldom do so, is never truer than accessing content. How many of us have never visited many of the tourist attractions that are in our own backyard. Combine that with the fact that most professionals are extremely busy and you find a new way of educating your community that is a lot more effective. By Re-broadcasting your content as a live event, you create an experience that is the foundation of what attracts people to attend. As a live event, it is something that can be scheduled, and provides the magic ingredient of engagement with colleagues who are there for the same reasons, education. Being able to hear others questions and chat, network and brainstorm with peers is an enormous draw for today’s professionals. Our clients are generating up to 10 times more profit from Re-broadcasting than they are from selling content On-Demand. Add a Continuing Education component to a Re-broadcast and you have a natural attendance draw.
Re-Broadcasting offers many opportunities to engage your community throughout the year. Start with thinking about Re-broadcasting your event as a complete playback for those that were unable to attend the first time. You will be surprised at how many of your physical attendees will tune in to watch a second time. Having physical attendees mingle with virtual attendees is a great marketing opportunity to drive physical attendance the following year. Follow-up with a Highlight Virtual Event for a half day or full day for those whose time is more limited and just want to catch the most important sessions from a multi-day event. Post event Re-Broadcasts like mentioned above should be run within 3 months of the conclusion of the conference and can start as soon as 3-4 weeks after the conference.
Now take the most attended sessions from your event and Re-broadcast them as a monthly Webinar Series. If you have lots of content you can expand that to twice a month or every week. Re-broadcasting allows you to replay sessions at different times to accommodate different time zones. Our clients that exercise a “for pay” model, Re-broadcast sessions over and over again, until they stop being profitable. Use your content to run a “Free Lecture of the Month” or “Free CE of the Month”. This strategy can pay off big in driving members to your Library, engaging your community and generating additional revenue from attendees purchasing other content.
Re-broadcasts can be Sponsored and can be delivered in multiple branded players, providing you the opportunity to leverage a Webinar for additional revenue. Imagine 10 companies all accessing your Webinar through a branded, private player for their community. That’s the power of Digitell’s new SYNDICAST™ Service in helping you reach new markets to drive revenue, exposure and brand awareness.
Pricing is always an important question when developing a Content Marketing Strategy. Whether to charge, or not to charge, depends on your goals and objectives. If you are strictly looking to drive visibility and exposure, then delivering your content for free and reaching the maximum number of potential listeners may be your best approach. This is certainly the approach that the TED Talks take and they sell out their conference in minutes, so there is something to be said for this approach.
If you are among the many organizations who are looking to generate revenue, we suggest the following pricing strategy:
- Charge the same amount to attend your conference as a virtual attendee as you do for your physical attendees. This is possible as long as you include access to the recorded content of the rest of the sessions as part of the offering. While capturing all the sessions increases your costs, the opportunity that is created will increase your revenue beyond the increase in cost.
- Charge full registration price to attend a complete Re-Broadcast of your conference within 2 months of the actual event. After 2 months, discount the price according to the timeliness of your content.
- For a Conference Highlights one day Event, we recommend 50% of registration fee.
- For Session Re-broadcasts and Webinars, the going price is $49 – $99 per Webinar with CE and slightly less without.
- For On-Demand content, we suggest a price range of $199 – $499 for the entire conference with individual sessions priced at $15-$30 per session. Package pricing would range from $99 to $299 depending upon the number of sessions in the package.
“Digitell’s OPUS Platform acts like an artistic composition that works in harmony with our healthcare education offerings and our need to offer a simple and friendly user experience to our customers. With features like event pages, coupon codes, tokens and content packages among others, OPUS is our one stop ecommerce solution that is intuitive to administer and easy for customers to make product purchases.” – Romario Pineda, Contemporary Forums
Contact Us for a Free Consultation on how to Execute a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Organization