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Engaging the engagers

OSC Insight | 1 August 2020 | Author: Saul Trewern

The Covid-19 pandemic has closed the doors on industry events all over the world. Regular pilgrimages to eagerly awaited expos have been abandoned by millions of people and hundreds of thousands of companies are missing the networking opportunities presented by an enthusiastic, captive audience.

Unfortunately, the ‘new normal’ doesn’t cut it for the established conference and exhibition format, and nobody knows how long face masks, social distancing and copious amounts of hand sanitiser will be required to keep us all safe, or if we will ever return to the ‘old normal’.

The knowledge on industry challenges, innovations and trends to be gained during conference plenary sessions will certainly be missed because subject matter experts and thought leaders no longer have the same opportunities to discuss their chosen topics in a packed auditorium. Their organisations’ communication efforts may suffer as a result.

I believe that building out content or messaging for first-party webinars and blogs, or case studies and opinion pieces in maritime trade journals can help to fill the Covid-19 shaped void in a marketing plans, while maintaining much of the visibility afforded by those cancelled trade events.

Reach, expanded

The project detailed above was presented at conferences, but the inclusion of this article in maritime trade journal Ship & Offshore expanded the reach of the story significantly

Those prone to taking the stage already know the value of presenting papers to qualified delegates in an auditorium, so why not demonstrate to them that their audience still exists, only as readers of maritime trade journals? They can still share the same messaging and enthusiasm, just through a different medium.

If further convincing is needed, it’s worth looking at reach. The leading publications have qualified readership figures in the thousands, with online and social media following often measured in the tens of thousands. A by-lined article will reach more industry professionals than a conference session ever could.

Most of the experts I’ve worked with over 18 years of developing maritime content have been more helpful than I could ever wish for, but with conferences currently not an outlet for industry knowledge, now really is the time to engage with those who would normally stand up and talk, and show them that sitting down and writing is an endeavour just as worthy.


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