Barcelona might be cold in February, but for the telecoms industry it’s red hot. Last year’s Mobile World Congress attracted more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world. Telecoms execs, media, analysts, and more descended on the city for the biggest event in the industry calendar. And this year’s show will be even bigger.
Although MWC is just four days, the value and opportunities it can create for vendors has a very long tail. Making a splash at the show, then, is of paramount importance. The right content marketing approach can go a long way, particularly as the prominence of content in the B2B purchase cycle is growing.
Today, B2B buyers are spending as much – if not more – time reading and understanding content than they were a year ago. In fact, our research found 70% of the purchase cycle is absorbed by content in one way or another. But with all the competition out there standing out among the crowd is much harder.
A successful MWC that delivers a solid ROI is not only about having the right demand generation approach. It’s creating content that talks the right language which key account targets want to read and send up the line.
So how should your event content marketing strategy look? Here’s a framework to follow.
Stage one: Messaging, positioning, and KPI setting
Start with updating your target audience analysis. Sector-specific content has no value if it’s talking about the wrong thing or isn’t of sufficient quality to convert. Ensure your sector-specific messages and positioning align with target customer pain points, and how they can be best communicated. Ideation is critical to content success so don’t skip on this step.
If you don’t already have an end-to-end messaging document that can underpin all content created under the campaign, now is a good time to develop one. Having a core piece of collateral to repurpose existing assets to use, or create new material from, will speed up the process and ensure consistency across the board.
From there, define your goals. An entire series of separate posts could be written on measuring conversions from content but, for a show like MWC, a typical goal is to drive meetings or MQLs around the event – or in the event’s longtail. Delivering top-of-funnel leads for the purchase cycle is often an appropriate measure for success. Use previous events and campaigns as a benchmark to set SMART goals.
Stage two: Content strategy – repurpose or create?
Once you’ve identified what content is needed to support your campaign, the next step is to run a content audit. Work out what you can repurpose and what needs to be created. Remember that content needs to demonstrate your sector expertise while informing and educating the audience, which depends on it doing three things:
1) Solve a problem: the content you create must be helpful and provide a solution to the challenge your product can solve.
2) Focus on a specific topic: generalist content isn’t good. You must talk to a specific customer pain point in the context of an industry issue, while driving interest in your solution. This needs to be communicated in a simple yet powerful way – difficult for complex areas of the industry, but arguably all the more important.
3) Demonstrate industry expertise: prove you know what you’re talking about. Effective content marketing should create a trusted advisor position in the minds of your audience and enhance brand recognition. Companies sometimes approach this from an influencer angle and have content written by an industry expert, interspersed with golden nuggets from inside the company or the team’s personal experience.
Stage three: Construct your content marketing approach
Now it’s time to develop the nuts and bolts of your MWC campaign. In our experience, the most effective campaigns involve a three-pillar approach with resources dedicated to content creation, enablement, and distribution.
Thought leadership should underpin all three aspects. After all, shaping industry opinion depends on reaching prospects in an engaging way and guiding them through the sales funnel with assets that talk their language. A thought leadership approach can educate the market about the benefits of your solution, build your profile, and support broader marketing and PR efforts.
The best thought leadership-driven content has a blend of unique data from your platform or customers. You should strive to be the source on a given topic as that serves the goal while also contributing to search rankings and backlink acquisition in the long run. If first-hand data is lacking, third-party research can work assuming you dive deep and put forward a different take on it.
But what content should you create? Well, it boils down to three categories:
1) Lead magnet (aka USP-affirming content): whitepapers, ebooks, or reports are often the most effective way to communicate a blend of industry positioning, new developments, and how your solution fits the bill.
2) Nurturing assets: articles, use cases, one-pagers, webinars, infographics, social media and other promotional materials. These help move prospects through the sales funnel once they’re brought in via a lead magnet.
3) Supporting assets: short-form video, landing pages and more. The materials you’ll need to help attract leads.
Look and feel is important too. Story beats design for the assets you create, but that doesn’t mean you can let weak design get in the way of a good story. How content is presented visually is important, particularly for social and referral traffic. For an event-based campaign, every piece of content must also be joined-up and part of the overall messaging and positioning narrative developed in stage one.
Stage four: Promote, promote, promote
With the required materials in place, it’s time to start promotion. The best way to tackle this is what we call the ‘event roadmap’ approach – with different promotional tactics taking place before, during, and after the show.
The right promotional tactics vary from one campaign to the next. But a common and effective approach is to use short-form content to drive traffic to long-form content. Ideally, video assets pushed across social or email should support every piece of long-form content. When you’re pushing content that’s gated for direct lead generation via inbound marketing, short-form content is a powerful mechanism for supporting outbound campaigns.
Social is also a powerful driver. And, in B2B, this means LinkedIn. Repurpose existing assets on social to drive engagement and underpin thought leadership efforts. Double down on email for broader engagement. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 79% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective format for distributing content. Harness that, but think outside the box too.
Make content marketing work for you
The most important aspect is to test, tweak, and repeat until you’ve found the approach that delivers the best results – experimenting along the way.
The content strategy outlined here should help to deliver success at any event, not just MWC. If you’re heading to MWC Barcelona this year and want to know more about how to gain the best results for your content marketing, get in touch at [email protected]