Almost every trade show or expo organizer I talk to says their number one problem when it comes to creating great content for their community all year long is resources, both time and people. They are stretched thin as it is getting their newsletter or magazine out the door every month.
The idea of keeping up with a blog, creating video content or infographics, and publishing studies or white papers seems an impossible task, yet they understand how important this content is to keep their audience engaged.
You are probably used to hearing people tell you there is no magic bullet. Well, I am going to tell you that there is in a fact a magic bullet when it comes to producing quality content on a regular basis. That magic bullet is a content or, as media organizations call it, an editorial calendar.
No one has to tell a trade show organizer how important planning is. An editorial calendar is your content plan. With one glance, you can see where the holes are that you need to fill. You never have to wonder what you are going to post this week because it is right there on your calendar.
Creating a content or editorial calendar is simple. Here are some best practices to help you on your way.
Set Reasonable Expectations
A calendar filled with content ideas does not mean you are magically going to adhere to that schedule. You have to set realistic goals.
Do not put a weekly video release on your calendar if you don’t have either a backlog of evergreen content from your event, or the resources to create new videos to deliver on that expectation. Perhaps a monthly video is a more reasonable schedule to maintain even when your workload increases as your big event approaches.
Note Important Industry Dates
Be sure to include in your calendar any important dates that are relevant to your audience. If your audience is the manufacturing industry, you want to note dates like Manufacturing Day in the U.S. and dates the legislature is scheduled to vote on key industry issues. That will help to ensure you’re creating relevant content leading up to these key events.
Assigning the Task of Creation
Once you have your calendar filled with content ideas and dates for release, you can start determining who is best to handle the task of creating that content. Enlist the help of your members and exhibitors as well as your staff. Ask your attendees to write about what their organizations are doing to celebrate an event like Manufacturing Day or contribute to a photo album you will post after that momentous occasion.
Are there still holes where you need resources? You can consider bringing in outside help where you lack expertise or resources. Knowing this in advance helps you budget for it. And it doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment! If you just need to bring in some temporary help the month before your event when your staff has a lot on their plate, it shouldn’t be a problem to come to a temporary agreement with freelancers.
Allow for Flexibility
Give yourself some flexibility. You might decide the best person to write about upcoming legislation is not a very good writer, but they are great on camera. Easy enough, you can adjust your plan to include video for that piece of content. Either way, your content calendar should not be carved in stone. If big news is taking place in your industry, it's okay to ditch or cut back on your plan to make room for this important coverage.
Planning like this will ensure you are living up to the expectations you have set for your audience. You will also be able to see where you can reformat and repurpose your content for other platforms. Planning allows you to budget time and resources needed to keep you on track. It means never having to wonder, “what will we write about this month?”