The future is visual part 2 – Why do we need to create visual content at events?

We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%. This is because our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text.

Eventbrite data shows that the top two online spots to which people bounce coming from an event page are YouTube and Google Images. We know that online content with interesting images gets 94% more views than content without images.

When you create an event, you create an ecosystem by defining the location (environment) and the rules of engagement (networking event, party, conference, trade-show, etc). By doing this, you enable a series of valuable exchanges to occur. 

For you to be successful in any of the future duplications of the process, you need to gather data. This comes in many forms, from who attended (registration) or how many people scanned a badge, to demographics and footfall data.

All are important for you to have the whole picture, but for that to be complete, you need to document at least the highlights of that through visual content. You can consider it as proof of existence.

Do not tell me what happened, show me what happened!

If you remember what I said in the first article about how “we see our next meal, we see our next vacation and we see our next date” this applies to events as well: we see our next event, so images are a great tool to sell your next event.

Melissa Friedman said in the Digitalist Magazine that “there is a direct link between high-quality images in marketing and growth in sales. Photographs help consumers visualise themselves using a product or service and allow them to imagine it improving their life in some way.”

As we start from proving the existence of the event, it also helps to break the physical boundaries and reach out to a wider audience. Live-streaming an event, for example, can help you get in touch with a community across the globe. Even giving them access to a “live” stream of content that they can use to share online can help carry the conversation past the environment you have set up.

The ecosystem you are building is short-lived as it dissipates the day after, but the content you create can help prolong its life past the momentary physical existence. It can even go so far as to link to your next event, by creating an online ecosystem, that is powered by the value exchanges and the content you have generated at the original event.

You can use, for example, the recording of the keynotes to generate a series of educational posts. This will help with keeping your audience engaged in between your events, grow your community, allow new people to engage with your brand and create new value exchanges in the process. It will also be easier to create that buzz before the next event and increase your ticket sales. This is where the content lifespan becomes extremely important!

You can also use the content you created at the event to showcase to your old and new sponsors how effective your event was to increase their brand awareness to the correct audience. A correctly-curated stream of visual content (we will talk about this in the “Where” part of the series) is a very effective way to add value to your relationship with your sponsors. Don’t forget that all of this is linked: more online engagement, happier sponsors and attendees, and a powerful, engaged community will attract more revenues from sponsors.

However, revenues are not just coming from indirect interactions. Why not use the streams of content you have as a sponsorship asset? You will have more data from interactions with visual content than you would have from a lanyard in terms of impressions. You can use the educational materials to have a constant stream of revenue after the event. You can use a simple Photo Booth to create a user-acquisition tool.

What we need to understand is that the event ecosystem generates visual content as a byproduct that, if used correctly, can generate value beyond its initial creation. It is a RAW resource that, processed correctly, can multiply its value, increase its lifespan and by direct connection increase the lifespan and value of your event.

As Splento would say: #GreatImagesSell, but as important as that is, and as valuable as they are to events, they are only effective if used correctly. Producing great images at your event is just the base of the pyramid, and as much as you need a very strong base to build a correct strategy, the base is not the whole story.

Next week, we will look at “When do we share the visual content?” and why the importance of providing timely access to visual content is crucial to the success of your event.