A few people have asked me recently, ‘why are you attending an event that’s about content marketing? Don’t you already know how to do that?’
This has been in response to me telling them that I’m attending Janet Murray’s Content Live 2018.
I can see why it might seem strange to them but attending events within your own niche can be priceless and I’m really looking forward to spending two days with some amazing people.
If you haven’t taken part in masterminds, live events or classes within your creative niche, I highly recommend it. Not only does it give you a chance to broaden your own knowledge but it benefits your customers and audience too. You can share your experiences with them and as Janet herself always says, ‘everything is a content opportunity’.
For any of you who are still on the fence about attending an event, here are my 7 top reasons for signing up:
Keep creativity flowing
Something that comes up in my conversations with clients often, is a sense of being stuck for ideas. Most people have heard of writer’s block but it can happen in any creative pursuit from photography to garden design. This is especially true when you are not only trying to come up with original ideas for your business but also for your content marketing.
I never fail to be amazed by what can spark an idea, so when you’re in a room full of like-minded people to bounce things off of, conversations are bound to get your creative juices flowing.
Being an expert can be a powerful thing and you can become the go-to person in your field. The further you expand your knowledge, the better you can serve your clients. Nobody knows everything about a subject and there is always more to learn – even the world’s top scientists attend conferences to learn from each other.
Also, speakers at events are likely to be experts within a particular area themselves, so you will learn about their niche as well as your own. They will be able to offer you guidance on a far deeper level than you may find elsewhere.
Perhaps you are an architect and you attend an event where the CEO of an oak-frame building company is giving a talk. You will of course learn about their speciality but it will also give you an insight into how other architects are working and you might bring that knowledge into your own business.
Events can be a great way to find clients. By that, I don’t mean you should go with the intention of pitching to everyone you meet, far from it in fact, it’s rare that people go to these things wanting to be sold to every five minutes.
General chat with other attendees can lead to sales down the line though. It could be something as simple as someone asking what you do and you replying with, ‘I’m a lighting designer’. You might think of it as small talk or insignificant but perhaps their friend runs a theatre company that might need you in the future.
So be proud to tell people what you do, just don’t give them a full-on Dragon’s Den pitch!
A room full of like-minded people to bounce things off of, is bound to get your creative juices flowing.
Networking for your own business needs
Chances are that If you’re running your own business, you won’t be able to do absolutely everything yourself, at some point, you’re going to need to bring in a helping hand. Just because your IT setup is working perfectly now, doesn’t mean your laptop won’t have a meltdown in the future.
Pay attention to what people tell you about their business and if you get a good feeling about them, make a note of their details for future reference.
When I joined a mastermind group over the summer, I didn’t go into it looking for a graphic designer. However, three months later, when I was looking for exactly that service, I didn’t even consider anyone else, other than Hollie Ellis, who I’d met in the mastermind. This also proves my point about not being salesy at events – Hollie never once pitched her services to me but she still got the job.
Broadening your specialist knowledge is brilliant but when you’re running your own creative business, you need to know about more than just writing music or drawing architectural plans.
Events like Content Live, Youpreneur Live and Moz Con can be incredible resources for teaching you how to manage your business on a day-to-day basis. There are events for almost everything from SEO and copywriting to PR and finance.
Keep an eye on social media and websites such as Eventbrite for events taking place in your area.
I consider myself to be an introvert, so I tend to find attending in-person events a bit daunting – I’d much rather meet one-on-one or in a very small group. The advantage I’ve found with niche events, is that you’ve all already got common ground and it’s fairly easy to break the ice with people. Simply asking what type of business a person runs, can open up a conversation in seconds.
You’ll be amazed what a difference it can make to be surrounded by like-minded people and generally people drop their guard a little quicker than you might expect. I believe it’s because you’re all in the same boat, so there’s less fear of judgement.
Going to these events isn’t just great for your personal confidence, it can work wonders for your business confidence too. Spending a day or two mingling and networking, telling people about your business can be a great boost; especially when people are showing interest and start to get excited about what you’re telling them.
Inspiration and motivation
Being around the right people is an incredible thing. In fact, I think that is my biggest lesson of 2018. Surrounding yourself with people who are focused, determined, supportive, passionate and doing what they love, is unbelievably powerful.
Cultivating relationships with positive people will not only inspire you but also help to keep your momentum going, even at times when you feel your motivation slipping. Seeing others succeed, shows you that your hard work will be worth it and you can have the creative life you want. Whether you are aware of it or not, their energy and vision will influence you and that works for them too.
Surrounding yourself with people who are determined, supportive, passionate and doing what they love, is unbelievably powerful.