Event content has evolved considerably from the early days of the pandemic. In the beginning, we all pivoted to virtual events, but we quickly grew tired of the flat PowerPoints, one-way discussions, and hour-long sessions that dominated 2020.

As virtual events proliferated — and fatigue set in — attendees started looking for event experiences that combined top notch production and valuable content. 

Around the same time, we saw the rise of platforms like TikTok, popularizing short-form video content. While there are big differences between event sessions and TikToks, it became clear that you could add real value with short-form content. Naturally, event formats followed suit, with 15- to 20-minute sessions becoming the new normal, while brands started to host smaller but more frequent events.

As we returned to meeting face-to-face in early 2022, it quickly became clear that attendees expectations had changed, forcing organizers to level up their approach to in-person content. While in-person events were once the primary way to experience events, that was no longer the case. Attendees needed to have a clear reason to travel, book hotels, and take time away from their families when they had the option to simply attend events without ever leaving their homes. 

Now, we increasingly see experiential brand activations, interactive elements, and strategic engagement points where attendees can influence event content in real-time by answering a poll or voting on a discussion topic. 

We have reached a point as an industry where we’ve not just leveled up both virtual and in-person content, but also made it more digestible and shareable. And in the new event lifecycle, in-person events are back, but they have to be worth attendees’ time. This means higher production value and unique activations, but it also means delivering experiences and content in ways that can’t be done virtually.

We’re also seeing event professionals go beyond their annual flagship event and begin to leverage virtual and hybrid events, allowing them to reach an even larger audience. What used to be a couple of distinct events throughout the year has morphed into a year-round strategy where smaller virtual and hybrid events become your regular touchpoints. Put simply, it’s the perfect formula for an integrated, year-round content strategy.

Year-round strategies require organizational alignment

As far as we’ve come in the last few years, I still see some event, marketing, and content teams working in silos. When this happens, content often becomes an afterthought. But attendees come to events for two main reasons – to network and to learn. When you coordinate with marketing, sales, customer success, and your content teams as early as possible, it helps ensure each team is aligned on how to craft a seamless and personalized attendee journey. 

Your social media team knows what kind of posts garner the most engagement. Your email marketers know the subject lines that generate the most opens and click-throughs. Your sales and customer teams understand the audience’s key pain points. Take these data sources to your content team and ask, “How can we make this more engaging and digestible? How can we make it more visually appealing?”

All of these inputs provide the source material for how you craft the narrative, create visuals, and determine engagement points for your sessions. Content should always come first. And when you put the time and resources behind designing engaging content, you’ll have plenty to work with. 

Check out our blog on how to create an effective marketing plan in 2022!

Repurposing fuels year-round content

Event teams can get hung up on thinking they need to create net-new assets for each event. From a year-round content perspective, that simply won’t work. A successful events program doesn’t leave content on the shelf to collect dust after an event wraps up. Rather than starting from scratch, consider how you can repurpose and repackage your event content into different assets for each of your audience touch points. It works both ways. You can also create event presentations by repurposing content from your marketing initiatives.

Anytime you create content, you want to give it legs, if not for efficiency and best use of your resources, then to create consistency in your themes and messaging. Between keynote presentations, breakout sessions, Q&A, and chat logs, event organizers enjoy so many opportunities to repurpose content, leverage it across all marketing channels, and fuel content engines for the year ahead.

The secret is to repurpose and recraft your event content in a way that makes sense natively to each unique platform and its audience. For instance, you can take a 20-minute session and distill it down to a 280-character tweet or 30-second TIkTok, or dive deeper and spin off a longer LinkedIn post, podcast, or eBook. 

Between the sessions, breakouts, and collaborative workshops, as well as the session recordings and data insights you can pull from your event platform, events provide endless opportunities to create repurposed content.

Events also provide some unexpected surprises, not to mention actionable engagement data, that often manifest naturally from the excitement of the live event. You can unlock source material for future content ideas by following along in the chat to see what resonates with the audience. It’s often where some of the best stuff comes from.

Sure, you can post a blog and maybe it receives some positive feedback in the comments, but nothing compares to seeing a thousand positive reactions appear in real-time. 

You may come into an event with assumptions on how the audience will respond to event content, and then an unsuspecting presenter or session steals the show. Seeing what truly resonates with the audience shows where you should double-down and spin off derivative assets. You can turn the content into an on-demand video, podcast, gated marketing piece, or build an entire campaign around it.

We put repurposed content to work after our Event inspiration: trends and ideation workshop! Check out how we repurposed the workshop’s recording and Q&A into a blog recap. 

Leverage content to create a holistic attendee journey

Events are now more integrated with the overall customer journey than ever before. Marketing departments need to view events as an integral piece of the customer lifecycle, and event professionals should align closely to other areas of marketing to leverage existing content and inform new ideas. Your content, events program, and marketing teams — email, social, field — should work together synergistically, not create content in silos. 

When designing a year-round event content program, think about the big ideas you want to talk about or the perspectives you want to put out into the market. Ask yourself: How do we want to go to market? What topics do we want to be seen as leading on? What are we teaching the audience? What are the key, actionable takeaways?

Spend time up front building out the source material, then spin off the derivative assets to feed into the different stages of the customer journey. Your blogs and social posts create awareness and entice attendees to register for your events and learn more. This is where you can really start to deepen relationships and delight attendees with session content. Then, continue the conversation (and close the deal) by launching a steady trickle of highly relevant, repurposed content. It’s a proven strategy you can deploy year after year.

If you’re looking for more insights on how to craft a successful event program in this new era of events, check out Event Horizons, brought to you by Webex Events (formerly Socio). We’re going behind the scenes of award-winning events, talking to leaders in the space, and asking the questions that event pros everywhere want answered.