Are B2B conference organisers losing out to publications?

speaker on a podiumThat might sound like a dumb question. How can you make the comparison between B2B publishers and a B2B conference organisers? One prints magazines that have lots of useful information and advertising opportunities and the other gets people up on a stage or podiums to speak to a room full of people. Completely different, right? Well, no, not any more!

Many conference or event companies will be happy to tell you about the challenges they face when trying to fill a room. People are reluctant to pay ticket prices or can’t afford to take time out of the office. Well, B2B publishers are also feeling the strain and facing similar challenges. Fewer people are advertising or even buying publications now, choosing instead to reap the benefits of free information online. As a result, publishers are increasingly throwing their hats into the ring and joining the conference circuit. And B2B publishers are well placed to venture into the territory and break down the barriers to attendance.

  • They have a good in depth knowledge of their industry
  • They are already a trusted source of content for many people and so there is less of a barrier to people attending events
  • They already have a brand identity that is likely to be known by potential candidates
  • Most will have partner agreements and contracts with advertisers and sponsors making their search for event sponsors easier
  • Many will have regular content contributors which makes their search for speakers and presenters a little easier too(although being able to write or talk about a subject doesn’t necessarily equal a good presenter).

With this type of ready made audience, sponsor and advertiser support, it is very likely that any event could be a success without any major conferencing experience resulting in increased profits for the B2B publishers.

With competition getting tougher B2B conference organisers need to up their game if they don’t want to lose their delegates. They need to join the publishing game and let people know that they don’t only know how to organise an event, but are also knowledgeable about the subject . Think about how you can add value to your audience.

Here are some publishing tips for B2B conference organisers

1. Publish relevant content
Create whitepapers, guides and top tip lists relating to the industry topics in your conferences. You don’t need to create a major online publication for this, a blog is an ideal place to start. But, make sure your posts are relevant to your audience. Address their interests, challenges and needs.

2. Publish regularly
The key to content success is regular, relevant, quality content. The regularity will depend on your industry and target audience but you need to get it right. Too many posts can turn readers off, but too few means you can drop off the radar.

3. Use your existing conference collateral
You may already have printed or online conference materials that can be used or repurposed. Video footage of previous events is great, but be sure to get the timings and quality right. You don’t need to pay huge production costs, but you do need to make sure that your finished product is professional enough to be attractive to your viewers.

4. Prepare a content schedule or plan
Chances are you’ll have your conference dates and topics agreed well in advance of the actual events. Make sure you draft a content plan to build up to and follow up on each event. You will need to spark the interest of potential delegates before the event and encourage them to book, but you will also need to keep them interested after the event. Make sure you post follow up material and keep them coming back.

5. Go social
Use social media platforms to spread your content widely, but use it wisely. Find out which platforms your potential delegates are using and make those your primary focus. For B2B it’s most likely to be LinkedIn, Google+ and maybe Twitter. If you have other social media accounts, there’s no harm in spreading the word via those too, but put your efforts into the ones that are likely to bring you the best return.

6. Co-ordinate online and offline
If you are using printed materials make sure your website and social media accounts are detailed. Give your delegates as many ways to find you as possible.

7. Consider a publishing partner
Now, this may not be right for everyone but it’s worth considering, after all, you’re competing for the same audience. If you can work with a publishing company to maximise on the industry knowledge and produce better events with better content you may well be able to increase delegate attendance and also revenue.

The gradual cross over and sometimes merging of publishing and conference organisations is unlikely to change. Whether you decide to continue on your own or join forces, you have to think about the benefits you can provide to your audience.

You can no longer take the approach of selling a seat at an event, you have to create interest and add value for the audience. When planning your events, don’t ask “What subject matter shall we choose?” Instead ask yourself, “What are my delegates questions and problems and how can we help solve them? “

If you want help with your content marketing or social media strategy, get in touch.

Are you a B2B conference company that is using content marketing or social media successfully? Why not share your experiences of combining your offline with your online activities? Has it helped with delegate attendance?


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Nadine Thomas

About Nadine Thomas

Nadine works across the full range of the digital marketing spectrum, but spends more of her time helping clients with their content marketing strategy and content. By it's very nature, content marketing utilises all aspects of a clients online presence, from their website to their social media presence, campaign materials and marketing automation campaigns. And of course, all this has to align and complement their offline marketing efforts.  As a business owner herself, she understand the needs and motivations of clients when working to generate revenue and increase profitablity.  In her spare time Nadine is actively involved in her local rugby club where she coaches children's rugby union and has done for 18 years. If you wish to contact Nadine please email her at You can follow me on Google+