Is it just me or has 2017 flown by? It seems like only five minutes ago that I was writing a 2017 checklist and contemplating the year ahead.
Like many of you, 202 Communications is reviewing the past year and planning for 2018. One trend I’ve noticed is the significant increase in the amount of white papers, case studies, and user stories we have produced for our clients. I don’t believe this is a coincidence. We are in a highly competitive industry with a large number of companies vying for a limited number of customers. In the past, companies could generate enough interest and customer visibility in their products simply through traditional channels like advertising and product announcements. While visibility, of course, remains an important component in any company’s marketing mix, customers today want a deeper understanding of the available solutions before making any purchasing decisions.
This is where detailed content — such as white papers and case studies — can become an essential part of your overall sales and marketing offering. Your potential customers are looking for ways to solve their problems and achieve their objectives. If you are able to demonstrate that you have the solutions, the expertise, and a success story involving an existing customer, this will set you apart from your competitors.
Once you’ve produced a white paper, case study, or user story, you can use them in a variety of ways. Here are a few that come to mind:
Get social: Publicize the content on your social media platforms and website. Make sure you collect the contact details of everyone who downloads a copy. With white papers, especially, encourage online discussions about the topic(s) being covered. For example, you can easily start a LinkedIn discussion group or create a short video to create more buzz surrounding your content.
Print is not dead. Here’s why: Print hard copies and prepare PDFs of the content for your sales teams to leverage when speaking with prospects. This is the main request we receive when chatting with our clients’ sales teams. An informative case study or white paper is a major sales asset when presenting to a prospect.
Hit up your e-mail followers: Include a brief summary of the content in any e-newsletters you produce. It is equally important to keep your current customers as up to date as your sales prospects.
Check out industry pubs: Many industry publications are happy to host case studies and white papers if the content is particularly engaging. Establishing a close relationship with an editor may even lead to the publication producing an additional article in the future on your behalf.
If you would like to discuss how 202 Communications can help boost your marketing communications reach for 2018, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was great to catch up with clients, colleagues, and other industry friends at IBC recently. I hope you all had a successful show.
Now that IBC, along with SCTE-Cable Tec and NAB New York, are over this year, it’s time for many companies to start looking at key objectives for 2018. While this is undoubtedly the most pressing task facing most people over the next few months, don’t let your news pipeline go stagnant. Keep the news flowing so that all the hard work you put into your messaging and media communications throughout the year continues to pay dividends.
October, November, and December are relatively quiet months for our industry, but trade publications are still looking for engaging content. This is the perfect time to produce a case study, user story, or white paper, which many of the leading industry publications are happy to host. If the content is particularly engaging, the editor might even decide to produce an additional article.
Remember: Your customers — and potential customers — are looking for ways to solve their problems and achieve their objectives. Case studies, user stories, and white papers are excellent ways to demonstrate that you have the solutions and expertise to help them.
This is also an opportune time to update current customers about what your company has been up to through an e-newsletter. The newsletter can include a review of your latest product news or recent activities at trade shows like IBC and SCTE. You never know when a small piece of news or information might convert a sales prospect into a new customer.
Here are a few additional ways you can keep the news flowing:
Speaking at an industry conference or a trade show is a fantastic way for you to communicate with a large group of people in one go. It provides vital visibility to both you and your business, and helps to establish you as an authority, and a thought leader, within your industry. When your message is combined with an audience that has the potential to influence others, the opportunity becomes that much more valuable. It’s this combination of a strong message and exposure to the right audience that makes a speaking opportunity such an effective way to raise your industry profile.
The advantages of speaking at an industry event can be significant; however, be careful when selecting which event and consider how you’ll benefit. This checklist, which is available here as a free download, will help you make the right choices as you consider your next speaking engagement.
Securing speaking appearances can be a rather difficult and lengthy process, especially if you haven’t done one before. However, that doesn’t mean you should just accept the first opportunity that comes your way. Ensuring the right fit will go a long way towards making sure you’re not wasting your time.
Before you apply, take a close look at the event in question. Will it put you in front of the right people? If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask the event organisers about the type of audience they expect. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them for the anticipated attendance numbers.
It’s also important to consider the costs involved. If you’re looking at a potential “pay-to-play” scenario, you need to determine whether it’s worth the expense. Find out if the event has other opportunities for you to communicate with your desired audience; these could include panel discussions or editorial coverage in trade publications. If possible, speak with people that have presented at this show in the past and ask them about their experiences and the return on their investment. This will give you a good idea as to whether or not the show is worth your time and money.
Figuring out which events you’re interested in is just the first step in landing a speaking opportunity. The next step is to ensure you’re in the running to be considered.
The typical trade show has an initial deadline for submissions six to eight months before the event. This means that you’ll have to plan well ahead in order to get your submission entered in time. Therefore, your best bet is to start looking for information about a given trade show a few weeks after the current year’s event has taken place. This will give you enough time to figure out what you need to do in order to submit an application, as well as provide a timeframe for collating the necessary information.
Every event has a different set of submission criteria. Assuming they are all the same may be the very mistake that results in you being on the outside looking in. The submission criteria will tell you exactly what is required and when it is needed. Some events want a simple abstract of your presentation, while others will ask for your completed presentation, along with any supporting media. Knowing exactly what the show is asking for will help you avoid any administrative errors that could cost you your place at the event.
A careful examination of the submission criteria may also open your eyes to additional presentation types that you were unaware of, such as joining a panel or demonstration. Additionally, thinking outside the box may help you to find a place at the show of your choice. For example, conducting a presentation with a customer is not only a novel approach, but it will add extra gravity to your message. It is an opportunity to show your audience that you understand the issues they face, while at the same time your customer’s testimonial helps them better relate to your message.
If you have any questions about where you fit into a given event, contact the organisers — be sure to mention to them any ideas you have for panel topics or workshop discussions.
Calls for submissions may include limits on content, such as “three pages max” or “up to 2,000 words.” It’s important to note that you’re not required to reach this limit in your submission. In fact, doing so may jeopardise your standing as a potential speaker.
Instead of cramming your submission with extraneous content, focus on being as concise as possible. A few paragraphs of highly focused content are far better than several pages of fluff. This is something to keep in mind not only for your initial submission, but for your actual presentation as well.
A good rule of thumb is to come up with five main points that you want to cover. When crafting your presentation, build it around those five points. This will keep you focused on the ideas that matter, while curtailing any desire to go off-topic.
Promotion and preparation might seem like two separate concepts, but the two are very closely related. Without both, your speaking appearance has virtually no chance of being successful.
As soon as your presentation is accepted, it’s time crank up your promotion machine. Start talking about it with interested parties, including customers and colleagues. Send out an e-mail blast outlining your presentation to everyone you think may be interested, such as sales targets, colleagues, industry contacts, etc. Promote your appearance on social media wherever possible. And don’t forget to take advantage of all marketing channels provided by the organiser; after all, it’s in their interest to get the word out too.
As you promote your speaking appearance, start to prepare your presentation. Focus on your five key points, and work on cultivating a 15- to 20-minute presentation that highlights these, without resorting to filler. Think about how your slides will look on the screen. Don’t clutter slides to the point that they can’t be read, but don’t under-populate them either. Consider the day-of-show details, such as how big the room is and how many people you’re likely to be talking to. Rehearse as often as you can, and solicit honest feedback from friends and colleagues whose opinions you value.
Practice makes perfect — this principle holds true for both promotion and preparation. The better you prepare, the more likely it is that your presentation will be a success. And the more you work at promoting it, the more visibility you’ll have on you and your ideas.
When you’re speaking about the industry for which you have such enthusiasm, it’s only natural that you’ll be inclined to promote your own products and services. It makes sense — the end goal of any trade show appearance is to generate interest in your company. Unfortunately, speaking and sales don’t always go hand in hand. The members of a trade show audience have typically paid to attend. They didn’t fly in and lay out a significant sum of money to listen to your sales pitch. If you end up going into sales mode, the odds are very good that you’ll alienate your audience and undermine the purpose of your appearance.
So, then, why make a speaking appearance if you can’t pitch your products? For a few important reasons. First, the very fact that you’re speaking at a major show indicates that you have something important to say. It gives you credibility, and gives people a reason to take notice of you and your business. Furthermore, a well-oiled speech conveys the fact that you understand the problems of your customers, as well as your willingness to help them solve those issues. Lastly, peer-reviewed presentations are part of a successful sales and marketing mix, and can contribute greatly to an increase in sales activities.
The work you do after your presentation is just as important as the presentation itself, if not more so. It’s the effort you put into following up after the show that will make you stand out among attendees.
After you’ve finished your presentation, take some time to talk directly to the people in attendance. Take note of the questions they ask and the roles they have within your industry. Exchange contact information with these individuals, and follow up with them shortly after the show.
Of course, you don’t have to limit your follow-up to just the people with whom you connected with personally. Ask the event organisers for a full list of attendees, then reach out to them at your earliest convenience. Thank these people for their attendance and, if possible, include a copy of your presentation, along with any supporting materials, such as additional slides, diagrams, or articles/white papers etc.
Once you’ve followed up with the show attendees, use your presentation to enhance your online brand. If you recorded your speech, turn it into a podcast or a video. If you choose to make it into a video, converting your presentation into small clips may work best in terms of providing digestible and relevant content to your audience. If you didn’t record your presentation, you can always redo it, and upload the recorded version alongside a set of slides to accompany your verbal words. If you prepared a paper for your event, feel free to use that as a submission to a trade publication or as a piece of valuable web content.
However you use your presentation, be very careful not to upload anything until after the show is over. Many conference organisers insist on speakers presenting original content at their events. Although the material must be original at the time of the presentation, it never hurts to think ahead to how you might put your content to good use after the event’s conclusion.
If you are up for the challenge, find some great events that fit your goals and book some speaking gigs! It’s a great way to reach a lot of people, further establish you and your company as industry leaders, and maximise your visibility.
Click here to download your copy of the free Speaking Appearances Checklist.
Welcome to Multiscreen Buzz – 202 Communications’ monthly roundup of news and views from the world of connected digital media. To start off, we’ve got an exciting announcement to make about our website. It’s been updated to help you find content faster and better understand what we do, with real-world examples of our work that show how we’re helping clients improve their global visibility. Head over to www.202comms.com and check out the new look. We’ll be gradually updating the content over the next few months. Hope you like it!
Like many of you, the 202 crew is getting ready to head off to Amsterdam for IBC. We’re looking forward to six days of catching up with friends and colleagues, both old and new, and most importantly, assisting our clients in achieving their objectives for the show. Those of you who are regular Multiscreen Buzz readers may have already read a few tips on how to maximise your visibility and ROI at this year’s show. We hope you’ve found our advice useful and have put at least a few of the ideas into practice.
To summarise the tips in a couple of sentences: Everything you do at IBC, communications-wise, should be geared toward building visibility and recognition of your company and products. While much of this work is done in advance, how you engage with the media and your sales targets at the show and afterwards is equally as important.
If you want more ideas on how to get the most out of IBC2017, or any trade show for that matter, please check out our tutorial videos on our YouTube channel.
I’ll sign off by wishing you good luck at IBC2017. If you’d like to arrange a brief meeting at the show to discuss how we can help boost your company’s visibility and maximise ROI, please drop me a line at email@example.com. I look forward to meeting you!
With IBC2017 just a month away, here are some additional tips to help your company achieve maximum visibility and ROI at the show. Remember, this checklist is not solely for IBC. You can apply it to any trade show or industry event.
First, a brief recap of the tips we went over last month:
Every pre-show activity is geared to building visibility and interest in advance so editors and prospects alike can learn about your company and its products. The idea is to build up a buzz so that the press and potential customers will want to come meet you face to face.
Highlight key product demos you’ll be featuring at the show by producing a show preview and distributing it to all relevant trade media.
Email blast all your customers and sales prospects.
Follow up with a more detailed press release highlighting one important product or announcement in more detail.
Consider entering industry awards or applying for a speaking opportunity.
Click here if you are interested in finding out more about preparing for a trade show and watch the video (below) if you are looking to prepare for a speaking opportunity at a trade show or industry event.
Here are a couple more things to consider in the weeks before the show:
Contact the publications that received your preview and press releases to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the editor at the show. This is the perfect way to build a relationship with the publication. During the meeting, offer the editor a demo and find out whether they have any editorial opportunities coming up in future editions.
What about a press conference? Should you arrange one? When should you arrange it for? What are the options? If you are thinking about organising a press conference, watch the video (below) to learn about all the dos and don’ts.
With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a host of other platforms just a click away, it’s easy to build up a buzz prior to the show. Take advantage of any and all social media channels to get people talking, enquiring, and commenting!
If you have any questions about planning for a major trade show or event, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With your next trade show looming on the horizon, now is the perfect time to share some tips about how to maximise the visibility of your company and products at the next show. The bonus is, of course, that these guidelines don’t just apply to BVE, NAB, or IBC — they’re good for any trade show.
Always plan well in advance and ensure your customers, sales prospects, and the trade media know you’re going to be exhibiting at the show. There are two easy ways to do this. First, produce a trade show preview and send it out to all the media platforms covering the event. Second, email all your customers and sales prospects, letting them know your booth number and what demos you’ll be highlighting.
Follow up your show preview with a press release that talks in more detail about one key product or major announcement you’ll be highlighting at the event. This will provide your potential booth visitors (i.e. your future customers) with more information about your activities and products.
Don’t miss out on industry awards and speaking opportunities. Your company stands to gain a lot of exposure by being shortlisted for an award or having a senior executive deliver a presentation or participate in a panel discussion. Often, all it takes is filling out an entry form, or drafting a short presentation outline.