Using a Blog as the central Public Relations tool for a general or internal event can add really weight to the publicity and profile that it can achieve, as well as providing the perfect focal point for other marketing and promotional activities supporting it.
The Event might be a conference, a seminar (or a series of seminars), an exhibition, a Trade Show or a product launch, but the requirements of being able to distribute information as widely as possible remains a key factor. Only when people know about the Event and get information on it can they choose to attend!
What are the key elements which makes a Blog such a great tool for anyone organising an event, whether internal or to the general public? Some of the main reasons are:
- Blogs are ideal vehicles to generate Search Engine attention and hence spread information to a wider audience
- Marketing department can enter the information themselves so making updates are easy and immediate
- Information remains always up to date and is permanently accessible: no need to send out hundreds of follow ups because people have lost part what they have been sent
- Communications with attendees is simplified either using RSS or email by referring people to the information contained in the blog rather than sending it to everyone.
- Instant feedback can be obtained from attendees to give valuable information for future events
- It provides a central point for all information which both online and offline marketing for the event can then focus in on
There are several phases during the event where the blog will lends extra value to the event and a valuable source of information and feedback for the attendees. These start right from the moment that the Event is announced through to the post-Event distribution of information and the ongoing ability for continued publicity for your company and your follow up events.
The main benefits are:
1. Announcing the Event
The starting point is an announcement of the Event, outlining its format, its content (or expected content) and providing an explanation of its goals and who it will benefit from it. By including the framework of the event, you give the initial key information, start the work on the Search Engines visibility and give yourself the basis of future enhancements to the blog.
2. Additions and updates to agenda
The Business Blog format gives the perfect method of keeping the agenda up to date, no matter how many changes are made to it. It is likely that the conference agenda and the speakers will not be finalised before announcing the event but, because updating a blog needs no technical input, it can be done easily and quickly by those running the event. Updates are then instantly available and attendees can be kept up to date using RSS ideally or email.
3. Pre-Conference Promotion
By adding additional information on the content of the event, you can continue to drive the publicity machine through your general marketing activities and through the Search Engines. Articles around the subjects the event will cover or information from the speakers, for example, will bring people back to your blog and ensure Search Engine coverage.
4. Commentary during the Event
Commentary can come from two sources during the event: from the organisers as they add details about the presentations and keep coverage of the event up to date; and, perhaps more importantly, attendees can contribute their own thoughts and impressions about the event. These can be incorporated immediately and so be displayed while the event is still ongoing.
5. Event survey
Often surveys are run during targeted events to get feedback on certain aspects of its set-up and running, including content of the presentations or initial thoughts on the product if relating to a product launch. The survey can easily be run through the blog and then of course the results can be posted there (and distributed by RSS) or emailed out.
6. Distributing Presentations and other downloads
Presentations and other supporting material from the Event are often made available to be downloaded after the event. The Blog is the ideal place to post this information and, because of the focus before and during the event, it will also be the natural place for them to look.
7. Post event appraisal
After an event, all of the feedback and comments from the attendees who have used the Blog to comment either on the presentations or the vent itself will be invaluable to assess its success and help future developments. This, together with the event survey, will form the basis of the internal evaluation of the event.
8. Ongoing permanent archive
Of course, after the event, all of the content that you have created remains to be continually indexed by the Search Engines, giving a continual boost to your business profile and, for regular events, free promotion for the next one. If you wish to remove it you can, but the benefits from leaving it and letting people access it will be much more powerful.
One event at last year which shows the power this can bring and also gives additional information on the use of Business Blogs in general was its use for Global PR Blog Week. Check out how they used it it created a large amount of publicity for the Event and continues to do so.
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