It is no secret that one of the keys to search engine optimization is building deep connections with reputable online sources. It isn't enough to simply have a backlink to your brand's website. For a referral link to have any true SEO value, it must also come from a source that is both relevant and highly trustworthy, both with human visitors and the search engines. Traditional offline marketing strategies are pretty similar to their online counterparts. Building a revenue-generating network that produces precious word-of-mouth leads is only possible if one convincingly demonstrates a level of expertise and experience, while also giving others a direct, clear opportunity for getting in touch. Although most consider on and offline marketing to be entirely different things, digital efforts can benefit IRL initiatives and vice versa. This is particularly true if your business or brand frequently participates in public events, like speaker panels, industry conferences or networking mixers. Regardless of the type of event or its size, these engagements can prove beneficial to digital campaigns and offer considerable value long after the party has ended.
As The Event Is Happening
From beginning to end, in-person events can provide a seemingly endless number of opportunities to boost online SEO efforts. From pre-event promotion, to real-time posts during the event and post-party follow up, there are many chances to score digital points –– if implemented correctly, that is. Where people usually fall short is in their execution and implementation –– more often than not, event hosts miss prime opportunities to solidify offline connections digitally. Don't make this mistake –– below we've included tricks and tips you can utilize in person events to score SEO value.
Event Sites & Listings
The first step in creating an experiential marketing campaign is to establish a digital presence for your event. It is always a good idea to set up a specific, dedicated landing page on your website that shares need-to-know details and registration info directly on your brand's primary site. Not only is this the most professional option, it also encourages visitors to explore other pages on your website as well. When creating a Facebook event page or EventBrite listing, include the link to your party landing page inthe profile. In addition to keeping a visitor engaged, doing so will also provide valuable SEO juice as well. Smaller, local events should look to geo-specific outlets to post event details. Those hosting something boasting a larger, national (or international) draw should rely on EventBrite or MeetUp to increase event visibility.
Connecting with notable industry or geo-specific influencers to promote your event is also a great way to obtain backlinks to your website and digital profiles. Prior to reaching out, make sure to have a game plan. Do research to learn which influencers will most directly target your audience and that they have a specific, ROI-producing call to action to share. Of course, not everyone will respond to you –– and that is okay. When reaching out to influencers, make sure that their followings vary… while influencers with larger audiences have been more attractive to companies, those with smaller yet committed “micro” communities also have very strong and dedicated followers–– whom you also want to reach. Even a few shares from notable, relevant sources is enough to provide considerable value before and after the event. When you do reach out, make sure to be short, sweet, straight to the point and personable. Hosts should do more than just explain what your event is, where it is being held and why it is relevant. Elaborating on why the affair directly benefits the influencer and what they will gain from participating can make the difference between action and non-action. Influencers get a zillion messages every day –– a little effort to make yours stand out will go a long way.
Clearly Explain What The Return Is For Participation
As the great Lil Wayne once said: "Don't sit at the table if you bring nothing to it." The same goes for cultivating influencer connections. As previously mentioned, highly followed accounts get a ridiculous number of messages asking for promotional favors every day. Often times, sweetening the deal will help persuade influencers to contribute to your cause. Try to do more than just cross-site promotion –– everyone does that. Go the extra mile by also incentivizing the deal with free food, drink, transportation or goodies. In addition to making an existing connection stronger, it will give an influencer more of a reason to promote your brand and its events.
Leading Up To The Event
Whether your company is hosting the affair or you are just one of many attendees, opportunities to bolster online marketing efforts are plentiful at corporate events.
If You Are Attending The Event
Especially if you're attending the event, link opportunities are everywhere ––if you know where to look, that is. First, it goes without saying that content documentation is absolutely essential. While floating around, make sure to capture both photos and videos that demonstrate the day's activities. The more content you document, the more you'll have to work with when posting during and after the event. Make sure to post live to social media outlets, such as Facebook or Instagram, to give your audience an insider look at what is actually going on in real time. Additionally, make sure to compile a list throughout the date of notable people, topics and quotes to include in post-event content, such as a recap blog entry. With this being said, it is also a good idea to similarly jot down as many social media handles of prominent attendees as well. This way, when referencing them in both live and after-the-fact coverage, you'll be able to tag the correct accounts and further increase your reach.
If You Are Not Attending The Event
If you cannot attend the event, all is not lost! Make sure to reach out to either an associate or another event attendee to capture some photos, videos and in the moment quotes that you can use for post-event coverage both on your website's blog and social media outlets.
Once The Event Is Over
Just because the festivities have ended, doesn't mean your link building opportunities have to as well! Put your content documentation during the event to good use with audience outreach in the days following. Not only can it reaffirm connections made while there, it can also reach other attendees who didn't get a chance to meet you too.
Recap The Event On Your Blog
Almost immediately following any event, it is always a good idea to write a short recap piece on your website's blog. The textual copy doesn't have to be long –– as long as the who, what, where and why is covered you will be good to go. The key for post-event recaps is to include as many visuals as possible. This is where your content documentation comes in great handy, as featuring photos and videos from the festivities is eye catching and goes to further connect with readers and attendees alike.
Share Your Recap On Social Media
This may seem obvious, but once your post-event recap blog is live, the only thing left to do is share it! In addition to sharing the link to the post you wrote, be sure to include photos and videos here as well. Social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook are great outlets for visual content, as they are more eye-catching than normal text.
Follow Up With Connections Via Email
Whether you spoke at the event or not, following up with those you connected with is always important. This can be done in whatever medium you feel most comfortable, but is typically best over email as you can send to multiple parties at once. When crafting your message, make sure to not only thank them for their time and attention, but include important website links and social media handles as well. This way, should they wish to get in touch with you in the future, they will have the tools to do so.