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How to Use Participation Marketing to Promote Events & Connect with Influencers

Sep 2, 2015
This is a guest post by Ashley Zeckman, Director of Agency Marketing at TopRank.

Brands large and small are searching for ways to separate themselves from the pack. At the same time, marketers are struggling with everything from producing enough content, to measuring content effectiveness. As more and more brands become publishers, it has become increasingly difficult for brands to create a variety of engaging content on a consistent basis.

To stay relevant and continue learning, many marketers attend workshops, trainings and industry events. Unfortunately, there are so many to choose from it can be difficult to weed out those that don’t live up to the hype.

Therein lies the challenge:

  • Quality conferences need to build awareness of their events
  • Influential speakers need to drive people to their presentations
  • Marketers need useful information presented in an engaging way

As a solution, TopRank Marketing has evolved the practice of using co-created influencer content to promote marketing conferences. From identifying the right mix of influencers using tools like Traackr for recruiting participants, collecting content and inspiring promotions, there is a fine art of attracting and engaging influencers to participate in event content creation.

Participation Marketing for Content Marketing World

Whether you run a conference or large corporation, the task of consistently creating quality content can be overwhelming. One way to lessen the load, is to partner with industry influencers to co-create content marketing assets.

For the past five years, TopRank Marketing worked with Content Marketing Institute to promote the Content Marketing World Conference through a co-created content marketing program.  

The strategy involves identifying key influencer speakers from brands, vendors, agencies and other organizations and inviting their participation in conference promotions. The specific influencers are identified from the speaker list using the Traackr influencer search engine. Filtered by keywords and criteria representing audience reach and resonance, a speaker list of 200 is narrowed down to 30-40.

Using the conference theme as a metaphor and the main educational tracks as segments, this content marketing program combines multiple content types:

  • eBooks
  • blog posts
  • social images
  • infographics
  • speaker quotes
  • speaker tips

And marketing tactics:

  • content marketing
  • influencer marketing
  • SEO
  • social media marketing
  • online PR
  • email marketing
  • lead generation

For The 2015 Content Marketing World Conference

A hub and spoke model was used where all of the assets were based around a vintage Hollywood theme of “Bright Lights, Big Content”.  A series of eBooks served as the hub content, aka our “triple feature”, that included advice on content marketing strategy, making content marketing a bigger part of overall marketing and measuring content marketing success.

The spokes included long form interviews, promotional blog posts, an infographic, social graphics, microcontent for all major social networks and mentions on industry blogs.

Not only were we able to tap into some of the brightest minds in marketing to provide valuable marketing advice, but the eBooks and infographics were published in sequence to create anticipation of each release. Because of the sequential nature of the series, we were able to begin laying the content marketing groundwork by discussing strategy, which ultimately led to one of the biggest challenges: Content marketing measurement.

Below is the content marketing triple feature hosted on SlideShare:

The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy - A Content Marketing World eBook from Content Marketing Institute

Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing - A Content Marketing World eBook from Content Marketing Institute

Measuring Your Content Marketing Box Office Success - A Content Marketing World eBook from Content Marketing Institute

While this co-created content program is currently underway, the eBook series have already attracted nearly 85,000 views on SlideShare and well over 20,000 additional impressions of other program assets. Through exposure of the hub and spoke content assets and thousands of social shares, the program has generated awareness of the event, visitors to the conference website, exposure to participating influencers and a great resource for content marketers in the industry.

3 Important Participation Marketing Steps

Encouraging participation with content marketing should be a rewarding experience for everyone involved, from the influencers, to the audience, to the brand. If you’re thinking of implementing a content co-creation program, here are three important and actionable steps for connecting with influencers:

1. Identifying the RIGHT Influencers

Knowing where to start a participation marketing program can be the most difficult part. You want to find individuals whose message aligns with your own, and ideally those who have recognition within your audience.

Traackr can be incredibly useful in uncovering influencers based on targeted keywords. Your first step may be to pull in a large group of influencers, and begin monitoring their message and style before even reaching out. Then you can dwindle down your list to only include the influencers that will be most impactful in spreading your message.

2. Engaging Influencers

Consider this step to be the courting phase. Often, you may have no prior connection to the influencers that you’re about to ask a big favor. Use the lists you created in Traackr to begin interacting with these influencers on platforms like Twitter prior to reaching out and asking them to participate in your program.

Once you’re ready to reach out to the identified individuals, keep in mind that you need to make it as easy as possible for them to participate. Depending on their expertise, they may get requests like yours often.

Do what you can to make your message enticing, describe what is in it for them and clearly and concisely describe what it is that you want them to do.

3. Prompting Influencers to Share

Sure you may have gotten influencers to participate in your co-created content, but can you encourage them to share?

A participation marketing program can only be successful if it is shared and consumed. Because of the shared experience of co-creating the content, the influencers have a vested interest in making the content successful. Make it easy for them to share by providing the following:

  • Share metrics of a previous campaign that performed well
  • Provide them with a preview into their contribution
  • Continue to provide updates of the performance of the campaign
  • Write pre-written social messages to make sharing simple
  • Feature some influencers with long form blog interviews
  • Create visuals for more inspiring social shares

The sharable links provided to influencers can then be populated into Traackr, so that you can monitor which influencers are most engaged in sharing the content.

Want to Learn More About Participation Marketing & Connecting with Influencers?

We’ve only just scratched the surface of the art of participation marketing. If you’re hungry for more, and want to learn how to put participation marketing into action and make your content marketing a success, come see TopRank Marketing speak at Content Marketing World in the session titled: “Participation Marketing: How to Co-Create, Optimize & Socialize Content with Influencers”.  

As an added bonus, TopRank Marketing is giving away a free pass to the conference for one lucky winner. All you need to do is email by September 9th, 2015 and share a question your organization has about content marketing that you want answered.

You can also find Traackr at Content Marketing World at Traackr Caafe (booth 3),  which will present the opportunity to sit down with some of today’s biggest content marketing influencers and chat over a cup of joe. Bernie Borges, host of Social Business Engine will also be running interviews on building relationships with influencers.


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