In the fourth instalment of The Future is Visual, our guest writer, Bogdan Maran of Visual Hive, continues his discussion on visual content. This time, he focuses on where this content is best distributed for maximum results.

The question here is simple: is a piece of visual content more valuable if it fits my exact need at a certain point in time? The answer is very simple, YES!

We talked about timing in the previous article, and about how it needs to be live and in a constant flow, but what about the platform of distribution? Where should we be publishing our content?

The answer I usually get here is everywhere, and I disagree completely. In order to fit my requirements, my content needs to be in the correct format on the correct platform.

Our content can either be valuable or dispensible, depending on how we share it. 

The second usual answer is social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, followed by: on your website, or in an online gallery on your app. These answers are all correct.

So, why is everywhere the wrong answer?

In order to answer this specifically, we need to find out what our objectives are.

  • Are we trying to get more online engagement? 
  • Are we trying to get more press?
  • Are we trying to wow sponsors?
  • Are we trying to deliver more to our attendees?
  • Are we just trying to paint a picture of the event?
  • Are we building a database for our marketing materials?

Unfortunately, there is no one true solution. For each objective, we need to understand where our target audience spends its time and act accordingly. 

Let’s say we want more press. Journalists with access to good content are more likely to write and tweet on the day. Can we deliver usable content to a journalist on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Yes we can, but it would be better to have a gallery just for them, with a selection of great content at the correct resolution, that is easy to search, download and share. They are also more likely to use our material if they feel they have access to a unique stream of content.

However, our sponsors need a different stream of content; one that highlights their presence at the event, with their brand clearly visible and with no competition in sight. They will also be happy to use the material shared on social media or YouTube if their brand is highlighted. They can also help you maintain the ‘buzz’ of the event if they have their own bespoke video the day after the event, whereas, for a journalist, this content is already yesterday’s news.

You need to understand your stakeholder groups, understand where they are most active and share content that fits the purpose, targeting the correct type of content at the correct group on the correct platform. 

You can find here a breakdown on all the latest numbers in terms of sharing and engagement from Sprout Social, where you will notice that 58% of consumers prefer visual first content. Eventbrite has a nice visual helper on the social media platforms here to help you understand the platform options better. 

Of course, events have their own platforms as well: event apps and websites are beneficial as there can be a focused value of exchange like planning, meetings, private content share, etc. However, shifting the attention of consumers to a new platform can be difficult.

For example, building a similar engagement you get from an existing platform like Twitter requires a lot of resources. Content can be key to this and, if you are looking at easy options for the user to share the curated content from your platform, make sure you put some work in it so that the content you share is tailored to that platform, or can be very easily shared in a native form. When you do this you will make the attendees look better, as they will share content effortlessly, and, subsequently, your brand will look better!

Personal streams of content, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, are also building up momentum. This is very helpful because you can automate most of the work through chatbots and other AI tools, and you will get a big amount of behavioural data back. This can be coupled with a lot of tools and data from your event, and help push notifications and, most importantly, Smart Content to an attendee, with a bespoke messaging campaign from the sponsors, for example.

All of the above can and should be used as a digital revenue stream, but you need to understand its value. That means that we need to understand what is important to our customers and what they need in order to ask for their time. Almost every large event will have a number of business verticals that they focus on, and attendees will not be interested to hear from everybody, and if we push any content, we lose their attention span almost completely. 

Let’s use, as an example, a large event trade show, where you will have anything from venues, to event tech, to security solutions. If you are using smart badges, you can identify interests from individual visitors, at least at a basic level, and that can help you target relevant content towards them. If I visit five event tech platforms, sit down at a talk about how to use apps at my event and talked to a few conference venues, my interests are very clear, and I will most likely engage with messaging that adds value to my interests.

I would also engage with a message from a sponsor that can help me with that, rather than a generic brand with a generic message. This offers a win-win-win as the organiser will win more attention, brands more engagement and the visitors quality content. 

Next week we will be looking at “What?” type of content we can produce, and how ethnology makes it easier to produce better value content and Smart Content. 

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Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com