Project Description

How To Get Free Marketing Content For Your Next Conference

Content created by engaged, happy delegates is the best kind of reputation building PR there is and keeps your conference top of mind effortlessly. A positive social post from a delegate does more to promote your brand than any amount of paid advertising because it’s like a recommendation from a friend.

We’re all a little sceptical of online reviews these days because we know they can be fake, but a post on social media from a colleague or a friend-of-a-friend is influential because we can see it’s from a real person and so we trust it more. It’s social proof in action, and according to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index,  92% of us believe user-generated content more than traditional advertising.

What Is UGC Anyway

Online review sites are a popular form of user-generated content (UGC)
Image by mcmurryjulie from Pixabay

What Is UGC Anyway?

UGC or user-generated content is just a fancy way of describing what people are saying about a brand, that they aren’t paid to say. So when thinking about conferences, anything a delegate says, writes or photographs, then shares, qualifies as UGC.

There are many places this type of content can originate:

  • Social media posts before, during and after the event
  • Session notes
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Online review sites
  • Blog posts
Design For Impact

Word-of-mouth is the most effective promotion strategy.
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Why Is It Important?

Word-of-mouth is the most effective promotion strategy. It has been since the beginning of history; the only thing that’s changed over time is the delivery vehicle. Where people used to rely on face-to-face communication to build relationships and make decisions, they’re now relying on electronic platforms to achieve the same thing. UGC is the electronic equivalent of word-of-mouth, so you get all the same benefits, but on a much larger scale:

  • Creates credibility because people are voluntarily talking about their experience
  • Develops loyalty by valuing people’s opinions
  • Generates trust via personal recommendations, which is more influential than traditional paid advertising
  • Builds community by connecting people with shared experiences

Why Is It Important?

Word-of-mouth is the most effective promotion strategy. It has been since the beginning of history; the only thing that’s changed over time is the delivery vehicle. Where people used to rely on face-to-face communication to build relationships and make decisions, they’re now relying on electronic platforms to achieve the same thing. UGC is the electronic equivalent of word-of-mouth, so you get all the same benefits, but on a much larger scale:

  • Creates credibility because people are voluntarily talking about their experience
  • Develops loyalty by valuing people’s opinions
  • Generates trust via personal recommendations, which is more influential than traditional paid advertising
  • Builds community by connecting people with shared experiences

Who Makes It?

It seems evident that user-generated content is created by users, or in the case of conferences, delegates. However, there are several other types of users that you may not have considered:

  • Speakers
  • Exhibitors
  • Suppliers
  • Contractors
  • Event staff

Each of these people has a different perspective of the same event, and by gathering UGC from all groups, you’ll have a more diverse pool of content to use and repurpose.

How Do You Get More Of It?

It’s clear that there are many benefits to utilising user-generated content, but how do you make sure that you’re getting a lot of good quality content to use?

There are four primary considerations:

  • Make it easy – tell people exactly what you want, e.g. “share your favourite quote for a chance to win…”
  • Make it fun – gamify the process to keep people participating, e.g. award points for every post shared
  • Show some appreciation – share delegate posts on your social media accounts and tag them so their friends and colleagues will see
  • Harness the power of peer group pressure – FOMO is a good thing when it leads to more great photos being shared with your conference hashtag

What To Do With It Once You Have It

In the conference space, there are very few organisations making use of UGC, which means there’s a big opportunity for the early adopters. It’s free marketing content, so mastering the art of gathering and repurposing such a valuable asset makes sense.

You can repurpose UGC to use in:

  • Newsletters
  • Review sites
  • Social media posts on your accounts
  • Paid social media ads

UGC gives your delegates a voice as your brand ambassador and allows them to share their conference experience and tell their own stories. This gives you the ability to talk directly to potential new delegates in a way that’s far more powerful than any traditional paid advertising or marketing.

Banner Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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