The future is visual part 5 – What content should I produce & use?

In the penultimate article in The Future is Visual series, our guest writer, Bogdan Maran from Visual Hive, explores the various types of content that can benefit an event.

If you have an amazing image that encompasses the whole event and more, is 45MB and is delivered to your social media team two weeks after the event on a hard drive that is not compatible with their iMacs, then a photo taken with an old phone and shared on the event day will be more useful to enhance engagement. However, if you need a 10mx10m poster for next year’s event, the situation changes.

The type of content that you produce must be dictated by your targets, strategy and stakeholders and where they choose to spend their time.

There is a big difference between content at an art conference versus content from a fashion industry event. At the last one, your stakeholders are most likely to engage with live streaming and will need live images, whereas, at an art fair, you will only need a few images for your sponsors and speakers live: they are most likely promoting themselves, and thus, promoting your event as well. 

Photography is relatively easy to commission and split in personal streams for your stakeholders (sponsors, speakers, press, exhibitors, etc.). However, video content proves a little more difficult.

You can use AI cameras and editing, like the french startup, Rocamroll, that uses AI cameras and AI editing to push out content on the event day. The editing is rough, but the ethnology will evolve fast. You can also use companies like Shootsta who deliver a bespoke filming package and will edit everything within 48hrs. On-demand marketplaces like Splento and Perfocal in the UK are mainly dealing with photography, it will be very easy to have on-demand pro content on a decent budget. 

Of course, the production companies can and should be asked to deliver video edits on the day. There are startups that work on voice-to-text-to-edit solutions, allowing you to enter a quote and have a video ready.

One thing I want to stress is that new technology does not mean automatic success. The simple example here is the new immersive technology. Having a VR experience on your stand can backfire hugely if you do not understand what the added value is. Simply using immersive technology is not guaranteeing success. I watched a large brand at MWC actually annoy the hosted buyers by ‘forcing’ them to do a VR experience, just because they thought it was so cool, and a box needed to be ticked. 

Don’t get me wrong, VR and AR are the future and they can be a huge addition to the content you produce, but it needs to be smart, the tech behind it is just the tool. 

To look into what you need to produce, we need to split the event into three timelines: before, during and after. These timelines need to be aligned with your goals for that specific period and need to be designed and targeted with that goal in mind. You can have multiple goals and targets, but each one has to have a bespoke stream of content and a specific strategy behind it. 

For example, you know one of your stakeholder groups engages a lot with live stories. The first step is that you need to have portrait images, not landscape, for both photo and video. They also need to be live, on the day. This will be amazing to engage influencers and to break the geographical bubble of the event. Don’t forget, live stories are about emotions: you need to have a natural voice and be personal. At the same time, you need a different stream of content for your journalists. Having access to a professional image or video during the event is going to boost the chances that they will write more about you.

Before the event, you want your speakers and sponsors to talk about your show. Prepare a bespoke set of assets for the main channels that they use and send it to them and encourage them to use it. Gamification can be a good strategy here. 

During the event, we can also look at the types of content that we can produce, from the perspective of professional and user-generated content (UGC). There are a lot of options today to gather and distribute UGC at the event, from Twitter walls to printing your photos from a specific hashtag. 

The benefits of using UGC is that you will have a very personal look and feel around some of the content coming out of the event, and, sadly, for some events it is the only content coming out on the day. The downfall here is that you cannot control the quality and message that goes out and things can go wrong quickly. This does not mean you should not use it, however. On the contrary, a personal post from a key stakeholder will do wonders for your brand’s credibility and engagement.

Controlling your brand message means controlling some or most of the content that goes out, and for that, you have to trust your stakeholders and be transparent. You also need to provide them with high-quality visual content, as a value exchange: they can stand out of the crowd by using pro content on the day, and they, in return, give you the approval of their brand. 

The easiest way to do that is with your speakers, targeting them on all three timelines (before, during and after). This is easy because you have a small group of people, that are already influencers in their fields, and one of the main reasons people come to your event. It is very easy to build a profile for them, to understand what they need and what platforms they use, and target them with the appropriate content. A simple step would be to ping a few photos of them speaking on the stage on the day. This can be done in a  WhatsApp message, email, or to the inbox of their preferred social media account. You can ask this when they register. After the show, make sure they have access to the recording of their keynote to share as well.

Regardless of what you choose to do, every event will have visual content coming out of it. Your interest is to control the outcome as much as possible and, to do that, you need to produce Smart Content and be transparent about it. That means giving people access to it, making sure they know where to find it and finding ways to encourage usage.

Next week, I will draw a line under all the questions, and tell you what exactly what is Smart Content and how you can benefit hugely from it, both financially and to empower your brand. 

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