Let’s face it. If you want executives to attend your event, the content marketing strategy you present has to be best-of-breed. Developing the right content for your conference can make the difference between ‘Yes, I will attend’ and ‘Yes, I will send someone from my team to attend’. Here are some strategies that you can apply to have your target audience present at your event.
1. Agenda co-creation
Create your agenda together with your participants. For instance, you could talk to your customers and find out what sessions resonate the most with them. Talking to a group of your valued clients can bring you valuable insights. This will help you find the most compelling issues and will ensure that you are digging into the right topics. With useful insights you can better target presentations for your audience. Listen to the stories direct from the source and work in collaboration with your own executives, in order to to be able to move the conference beyond sales presentations.
2. Visionary speakers
You want on the stage speakers that are able to drive people to your event and change the minds of your audience. To be sure that you recruit valuable and charismatic people, have a short chat with them and check their submissions. Your aim should be to gather visionary speakers, not people who do sales pitches for their businesses. Since your goal is to have top managers in the audience, it would be a good content strategy to get c-level executives as presenters. Keynote speakers will always add value to your conference and will be able to move your audience into action. Most talented speakers have the knowledge and the ability to take an audience on an intellectual and emotional journey, which later results to concrete actions. Speakers should be topic experts and motivational, and they should have experience presenting at conferences.
3. Innovative thinking
Executives seek intriguing, surprising, or useful ideas in areas where they face business challenges. They need solutions that go beyond common wisdom. Your conference in the perfect place to share innovative thinking and upcoming trends with clients and prospects. You could, for instance, consider to a wide range of session formats: small group discussions, simulations, workshops, trainings. That should be part of your content strategy. You could also think of a concept that incorporates play into meetings. This can improve problem-solving and spark creativity. Keep the focus on ‘critical themes and topics’ rather than general issues.
4. No sales, only stories
Executives are sensitive when it comes to sales pitches. Many executives avoid events because they fear it will be a forum for selling products and benefits. If you want top managers to be present, then you should carefully select the speakers and the presentations with care. Do not fill the agenda with all kind of topics. Executives have a laser focus on the two or three things they need to do to create value. Therefore they will appreciate an agenda that consolidates what they need to hear into a concise program. Eliminate sales pitches from your content strategy.
5. Allow time for discussions and networking
Networking is often reason number one why delegates attend. People want the opportunity to come together, network and create valuable business relationships. Therefore, make sure to allow plenty of time for discussion and networking so that the story exchange can continue outside of the event. While it’s great to be inspired and to learn at conferences, the most valuable asset of a conference is the people you meet and the relationships you can form and nurture.