What We Can Learn from TED

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Four Ways to Use Their Model to Build a Content-Driven Marketing Campaign

Who is the  Sapling Foundation and why is it important to know?
The Sapling Foundation is the entity that runs TED, Ideas Work Spreading. It is a global brand that creates video content. It has a year-round buzz and  hosts highly attended events all over the world throughout the year. It is  the pinnacle of a content driven organization. What you can learn from TED is important to your future marketing efforts for several reasons. It is yours and original. It can’t be reproduced, faked or copied and you can control how your audience receives the information. Content is the perfect way to keep sponsors, attendees and speakers engaged with your brand for 365 days a year.


But before you begin a year-round content marketing strategy, there are three things to consider:

1. Understand your content-producing bandwidth.
The key to running a successful content marketing strategy is understanding how much content you’ll be able to produce. Your content calendar should be planned well in advance and the amount of work necessary to produce content should be factored into all of your decisions.

2. Strategically release presentations.
Keep things interesting and engaging by giving conference or event attendees a secret code to access pre-released content. This adds value to your conference package and incentivizes non-attendees to sign up or pay for access.

Along the same lines, think about the timing of your content releases. Waiting to release your most valuable content (keynotes, guest speakers, etc.) until closer to your next event will continue to build anticipation and get those last minute purchasers over the edge.

3. Not all content is created equal.
Keep in mind the way your audience consumes information: blog posts are usually read quickly on mobile phones during lunch or while commuting, short videos are watched during the day for a quick work break and longer videos tend to be played at night after work. Match your publishing schedule to the different content types to make the biggest impact and provide your community with multiple ways to engage with your brand. For example, TED packages their content by topic to create a series which allows viewers to watch the 15 minute series at different times and not in one sitting.

Tip for creating your content mix:
Match the medium to the message. Get speakers extra exposure (and incentive to speak at your event) by having them contribute to your blog. This is a great way to build buzz around upcoming event topics, as well as make your speakers familiar faces to readers. Then during the event, interview speakers to create a podcast series that can accompany their blog posts.

4. Have the end goal in mind.
Identify your audience and who you want your content to reach and the action you want them to take after engaging with the content. Targeted campaigns can yield an increase in attendance, speaker submissions and press coverage.

Tip for segmenting your content:
Curate relevant content through a weekly or monthly newsletter. The opportunity to nurture your relationship via a video series is an excellent way to stay top of mind. It can be as simple as a one-to-three-minute video of a high-profile attendee explaining why they plan to attend the event again next year.

By maintaining a year round strategy, your buzz will never die down and your industry awareness will continue to grow. $118.4 billion will be spent on content marketing, video marketing and social media in 2013, according to wishpond.com. How do you plan to engage your community this year?


Trevor will be speaking on how to create an annual content marketing campaign at the Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow March 23 – 26, 2014.

About the author : Trevor Lynn

Trevor Lynn

Trevor is an event technology enthusiast who focuses on evangelizing products and curating technology in order to help guide hospitality professionals on their journey to embrace new tools. As the Marketing Manager for Social Tables, an event planning software company, he focuses on growing the event community via original content, free technology consultations and education at industry events.

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