The Content Standard has written extensively about how content can appeal to consumers on a more meaningful level. Relevant and informative content is one way to create authentic connections with their consumers—but those connections might be even better with a personal, human touch.
We’re living in a connected era that brings unlimited opportunities. Digital media and social networks have disrupted the landscape of human interaction. Making an additional investment in in-person events, however, gives brands the opportunity to meet consumers and to nurture communities through unique, memorable interactions. After all, what better way to show there are humans behind a brand than to actually come face to face with people?
Red Bull is one content marketing leader that devotes considerable effort to community-building events. They embody their brand image by organizing extreme sporting events. In Red Bull Flugtag, participants (anyone is eligible) from all around the world create human-powered flying machines and launch themselves off a pier. In Red Bull Paper Wings, contestants make paper planes and battle for championship titles in distance, hangtime, and aerobatics. You can’t make this stuff up.
Now, I’m not saying you should host your very own Cherry-Pit Spitting World Championships (because it’s already a thing), but it’s important to identify your community and craft a special, relevant event tailored just for them.
Take Tina Roth-Eisenberg, for example. With the intention of fostering a unique space for creatives to share and discuss their work, Tina founded CreativeMornings in New York in 2008. Her concept started out as a simple monthly meeting over free breakfast, but it quickly expanded into an international lecture series for a diverse community of like-minded individuals. An oxymoron, I know, but you’d be surprised to find out how much in common Tom the Full Time Marketer has with Diana the NYU Student Slash Freelance Photographer. Today, CreativeMornings hosts monthly events in over a hundred cities and remains free thanks to the support of local sponsors that believe in their mission.
Just like Tina in 2008, the Community Management and Creative teams at Skyword saw the value in connecting to the community. In a collective effort to further engage local creatives, we collaborated with CreativeMornings Boston and hosted an event called “Build Creativity, Careers, and Community.” We invited local videographers, photographers, writers, designers, and animators to take part in an evening of workshops, networking opportunities, thirty-second pitches, salsa-dancing . . . and lots of wine.
Transformation catalyst Dieter Reuther led a fun LEGO® Serious Play® session designed to unlock a creative’s full potential through problem-solving techniques. Participants used LEGO bricks as a medium to build and express complex ideas through storytelling and metaphors.
CreativeMornings member Kali Hawlk conducted an interactive workshop for the creative type seeking to spread word about their work in a content-saturated world. Participants worked through five different copywriting frameworks to instantly make their written communication more persuasive and effective.
Skyword contributor (and Content Standard writer) Erin Ollila guided freelance creatives through the process of owning their freelancing business and career planning for 2018. Freelancers walked away with real takeaways to position themselves as industry experts in their creative endeavors.
See what we did there? Instead of pushing our services onto attendees, we focused on providing value to the stars of the show—the members of our community.
There’s more to marketing than metrics. To craft a real voice for your community, remember to let your actions do the talking. Avoid fixating on the brand itself and instead focus on providing value to people so you can build genuine connections.
In fact, just let everyone else do the talking. Ninety-two percent of individuals are more likely to trust their peers’ reviews of companies, while only 20 percent of individuals believe a company’s claims about themselves. Word-of-mouth, or the organic distribution of information, becomes a huge component of this community-building approach. It’s easy to have your snackable content shared on social media, but it’s more effective to have Kristen rave about how much fun she had at your event over brunch with her girlfriends. Kristen then becomes the ideal vehicle of exposure and distribution, where her genuine enthusiasm and endorsement are translated into a credible, trustworthy recommendation.
We all want Kristens at our events. However, not being able to fully control the conversation can be daunting for marketers. If positive reviews can spread fast, negative reviews can spread even faster, right? But, at the end of the day, it’s the brand’s initiative that resonates with consumers. They will appreciate your commitment to community-building and remember the human touch that sets you apart from the rest. It’s time to let go of the reins of power and focus on creating a memorable buzz to set your brand up for success.
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