Every subcategory of editing has its own particular requirements, and event marketing is no exception. At USGBC, we host many in-person and virtual events (mainly virtual in 2020!), so I see a lot of articles in the course of my work. Here are my top four tips for editing content for promoting events.
1. Fact-check like crazy.
Even if you don’t do a lot of fact-checking in the course of your daily work, this is very important for event promotion. If keynote speakers’ names are misspelled, you will, at the least, get a flurry of panicked internal emails; the worst outcome would be that the presenters themselves are offended, especially if the mistake is all over social media. Always double-check that the content you have received matches what’s on the formal event site (and sometimes, even that is incorrect, so I always Google them just to be on the safe side).
Similarly, it’s critical that dates and times are accurate. Sometimes sessions get moved, or the times are listed in a time zone other than the default one for your audience or house style. Never assume the facts are all up to date—the copy may have been written days or weeks ago.
2. Scan for clone copy.
When your company hosts a lot of annual events, it’s only natural that there may be some boilerplate or pasted copy from previous years. Make sure there are no references to “the most anticipated event of 2019” in your 2020 article, or any links to retired products or services. It’s an easy mistake to make—and I have made it myself.
3. Expand the messaging.
If you review content across campaigns for your organization, you’ve seen a lot of messaging and resources. Where appropriate, add links to articles, resources or company news items that are aligned with the author’s message, to show how your event relates to larger goals. You can also add in a phrase here or there to fill things out and make those connections to the organizational vision stronger. However, be sparing—with many pieces of event promotion, the main focus is encouraging attendance rather than driving readers to current resources.
4. Use an appropriate word count.
The ideal length of an article or sections therein may depend on the persona or stage of the customer journey for which you are writing, or on the information available at the time.
For example, if I’m editing an article on the top five reasons to attend Greenbuild, our big annual event, having a thorough description of those reasons may be important, because the reader is part of a large general audience that has not yet decided if they plan to attend. They may be in an earlier stage of their customer journey and mulling over whether this year’s event is right for them.
However, if I’m editing an article going out a couple of weeks before the event, sharing links to specific event sessions that may appeal to an architect persona, I’m going to assume the reader doesn’t need each full, 400-word session description from the main site. A 100-word summary will be enough to motivate them to click through to read more.
With attention to detail and an understanding of the goal for each piece in your event marketing campaign, you can rest easy that the final content reaching your audience is clear and concise—and that it motivates industry professionals to come together for the event, whether virtually or in person.