We’ve often used blogging to promote special events for ourselves and our clients. I’m even a blogger for VisitIndiana, the website and blog for Indiana Tourism, our state government’s tourism department.
- Pre-event promotion: This is the one thing most people think of. But don’t limit yourself to a single blog post about the event coming up. Tie every blog post into your event. Blog about topics that tie into the event. For example, if you sell tradeshow displays, talk about the upcoming social media and tradeshow marketing panel discussion you’re going to host on June 9 at the Hilton Garden Inn. (By the way, I’m speaking at a panel discussion on social media and tradeshow marketing on June 9 for Skyline Exhibits – Indianapolis).
- Live blogging: This can be challenging, but it can also be fun, because it draws people into the energy of the event, especially if they’re not able to attend with you. I have live blogged at two sporting events. One was the 2009 Indianapolis 500. I had also spent several days in May on the track, blogging about different things I saw, which helped build up my readership for the big day. I also live-blogged from an Indiana Fever game, which I will never do again. As I was writing about a play, something cool would happen, and I would miss it. Now I just tweet the highlights and enjoy the game. The easiest way to do live blogging is to use the Email to Post feature on WordPress or Blogger, or set up a blog at Posterous.com. I especially like Posterous, because I can attach photos and they’ll automatically be placed into each post.
- Post-event wrap-up: You want to remind people of the good time they had, or tell them about the good time they missed so they’ll be sure to come back next year. Use this time to talk about what worked well, what could have been better, funny stories, traditions you might start, and photos of the great time people had. Ask attendees for suggestions about what they would like to see changed or kept the same.
- Photo blogging: Set up some slideshows on Flickr or Picasa, and paste the embed code into a blog post. You can show photos you’ve already taken, or embed the code early, and then add photos as you take them, which will expand the slideshow. This is especially great for live blogging. Just use a photo uploader on your smart phone, get an EyeFi card for your digital camera, or make sure you have a way to quickly download photos from your camera and then upload them to your photo sharing site. You will need to do some tweaking on your account, but you can start sharing the photos right away.
- Video blogging: The same techniques and ideas that you can use for photo blogging work for video blogging. I’m not talking about producing pre-written and edited videos. Rather, take some videos and upload them via your smart phone’s uploader, or YouTube. Take some quick interviews of event attendees, show some speakers/music/events/games, and post them as quick as you can. I especially like Posterous.com for photo and video blogging, because you can set up your account to automatically forward all photos and videos to their respective services when you email them to Posterous.
- Get other bloggers: Ask other people to blog about your event in all three stages, pre, during, and post. Give them free admission or tickets to come to your event and write about it. You want to find bloggers in that niche or industry, but don’t limit yourself to only finding the most popular ones. The ones who don’t have a lot of readers can still be valuable. For one thing, they’re reaching a group of people that the bigger bloggers might not. For another, any links they make back to your website help your search engine optimization (see #7), which makes it easier for people to find your event for next year.
- It’s all for Search Engine Optimization: It doesn’t matter if you got a lot of people to read about your event this year, or if only a few dozen people were following your blog at the time of the event. All this blogging does one additional thing for you: it builds your content out for search engine placement. If you’re going to hold your event next year, all the work you did this year will help you rank higher on the search engines for next year. This is true whether you’re hosting your own event, or whether you’re participating in someone else’s event. For example, if you’re taking photos, videos, and blogging about your participating at an arts festival, you’ll be one of the first names to pop up when people start searching for it again for next year.
Just remember, blogging is for the long haul too, not a just quick burst of publicity. It’s the marathon, not the spring. But it doesn’t hurt to have a fast start to get out in front of your competition either.
Photo credit: MattIndy77 (Flickr)