Events: Are Your Marketing Visuals Telling a Good Story?

Trade show and event planners, let’s talk about visual promotion for a quick second. How big is your photo and video budget? How specifically do you plan the photos and videos you want taken during the event? When was the last time you made any changes to either of these areas?

For many planners, the focus is on the here and now, getting everything together for the current event. I get it. There’s a lot going on. But it’s time to put more thought into the visuals you’ll use for promotion of the next event. Too often, I hear, “we have photos, but they aren’t great” or “video would be nice, but we didn’t shoot any”. Why? At this point, there are few more important marketing expenses.

Video has never been bigger. Our consumption of video online is growing substantially each year. It’s safe to say it’s a must in marketing. And really powerful images are important for many of digital tactics, such as Facebook ad campaigns, used in today’s event marketing. The visuals are critical in telling the story of your event. Capturing the right images and footage during the show can make your content marketing strategy that much stronger the following year.

Here are a three questions you should to see if you’re keeping pace or if you need to up the effort:

Is your onsite video and photography budget adequate?

Given that today’s marketing opportunities are so visually focused, the answer is probably no. Most trade show could stand to do more. But to answer this question, ask yourself, does your current photography and videography budget allow you to capture images and footage of various aspects of the show over the duration of the show (not just a few hours on one day) as well as interview key stakeholders?

Your videography budget should be large enough to include a mix of b-roll footage that captures the excitement and energy of the event and interviews with exhibitors, long-time and first-time attendees and event leaders such as the association president or executive director. Capture the networking, the handshakes, the active education sessions that make your event great. Interview event stakeholders about the show while there is action behind them, rather that in a separate room in front of a routine backdrop with no personality.

Take it a step further and use drones or a Go-Pro to film from different angles.

Are you producing multiple videos?

Make sure your marketing promotion plan and budget include the production of several videos in a range of topics, styles and lengths so that you can share video throughout the promotion cycle. This is where all of the interviews will come into play.

Have you updated your photographer’s punch list lately?

Photographers should think about website hero images, Facebook and mobile ads when shooting your trade show. Digital advertising outlets and social media content in general rely on one or a few powerful images and very little text. Those images must grab attention immediately; therefore a few wide shots of crowds are ok, but photographer’s lists should prioritize close up, candid action shots. Give your marketing team the best possible library of options from which to select images.

Many common types of trade show photos are unusable when marketers are designing digital and print pieces so don’t waste your time or budget capturing too many of them because they don’t tell the show’s story quickly enough. Photos to ditch: attendees standing in line at registration (who wants to think they are going to go stand in line to get in?), riding elevators or walking halls not talking to anyone and empty exhibit aisles which are usually shot when the hall is closed. Posed group shots and holding drinks at receptions are very useful either. Get people in the moment, doing something active.

Remember, a picture’s worth a thousand words so make sure your trade show visuals are telling people how great your event is and giving non-attendees some FOMO so that they think twice before not attending in the future. Your content marketing strategy will thank you.

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