Conference attendee turned storyteller: How to write an article about an event

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Conferences can drive leads and are a great way to connect with people in the industry while learning from speakers. But what about content strategy, and when does it make sense to write an article about an event that we attended?

Let’s dive into that topic, including:

Why should we write an article about an event?

Let’s start with the why first. Events are significant, but they can also be fleeting. We go now, and once the event is done, it’s done. But they also included a ton of content we could consider using in our ongoing content strategy, and conference content can be pretty interesting. It’s different from the content we can create without leaving the office. That can include:

  • Answers to questions that people have asked
  • Observations on new trends
  • Takeaways from specific conference sessions

Given that people attend these conferences professionally, it should be easy to tie all these things back to the article you are writing and your business goals and improve your brand positioning. 

Read next: Should I put a conference hashtag in my Twitter name when I’m attending a conference?

Once that article is created, it hopefully can help with the longer-term connection of your target audience.

The value of conference content hasn’t gone unnoticed, by the way. Some companies even hire event influencers that share conference content for them.

Here are my top six tips on how you can make content creation using conference content easier.

1. Keep a tally of content ideas for the article about an event

Not all content ideas are created equal, and conferences can keep us busy. However, unless your only job is to generate conference content, I wouldn’t recommend trying to write an article while also juggling on-site activities.

Just keep a tally of highlights in your notes on the phone. Or record a voice note to yourself to review later. Just make sure you leave enough details for yourself so you can remember what each content idea was about.

Read next: 8 ways to write content faster

There are a couple of ways to think about topics:

Conference related specifically

This usually leads to articles like “Top 20 sessions I saw at xyz conference.” These can be useful when your audience is interested in that conference. They might also build relationships with the speakers as they would appreciate that you enjoyed their session.

Read next: Roundup posts: How to use expert quotes in your content strategy

The biggest problem with these kinds of articles is that they must be turned in quickly. For example, I attended a conference two weeks ago, and a brand told me which sessions they enjoyed in two more weeks. Why do I care?

Now, if they highlight some of the key takeaways from each session and offer a version with highlights that are useful to the reader, this could work nicely.

Topic related

Topic-related articles aren’t about the conference but about specific things learned while at the conference. An example could be an article that covers “Are these the latest trends in xyz?”

And then, the writer uses the information gathered in sessions to produce the content.

Other content types

Also, remember that not everything needs to be turned into an article. Some content certainly is better in the form of an article, but also consider other content types like:

To keep track of things, you could record some voice memos on your iPhone, jot down some notes, or even use a voice recorder to keep a running tally of what you’re seeing.

2. Save some details

There’s a difference between an idea for an article and a start to an article. Make sure to write down some different details for each content idea. What would you write about, and what might be the key points? Sometimes, taking a picture of a PowerPoint session can help.

The essential tip here is that it’s hard to write an article from scratch when all we have is a working title. But having more source materials can be a good start.

Read next: Content strategy: The importance of good source materials

3. Prioritize

Even if you jotted down ten fantastic ideas, it’s impossible to write an article about every single one today. Evaluate:

  • What would be most relevant to our content strategy and audience?
  • Which topics do we have something unique to say about?
  • Consider updating existing content with the new information (do you already have articles on related topics, and could they get even better with the new details?)

Make a list of articles that should be done first.

4. Outline

Starting with an outline – even in your head – helps. Here’s what you want to cover, the key points, and make sure to understand the “why would the audience care?”

5. Content production and goals

Content production can quickly get away from us. Meetings get in the way, and distractions can pile up. Before we know it, none of the ideas were turned into articles. So set a goal. Be realistic but also stick to it. For example:

  • Write two pieces by the end of the month
  • Record a podcast on one of the topics

Then get started on the production. Write the article with your unique thoughts and expertise in mind, and find a way to sprinkle your stories in there to make them truly unique. Consider when content creation works best for you, too. I know some people prefer to write later in the day, which I personally don’t like. My most productive content creation happens early in the day and morning.

Of course, remember to make sure your content is valuable and that you follow best SEO practices.

6. Publish and distribute

Once your content is published, throw it a parade and distribute it everywhere that makes sense. Use it in emails, social media, and maybe paid, and don’t forget to share it internally so others in the company can also consider sharing.

Conference content can be turned into content with a longer-term impact when done well. I know that every time I attend a conference, there’s so much potential content I could use for prioritization, and following these six steps helps me get things done without feeling overwhelmed.

Remember that if we create the wrong content or use the incorrect format, it might not perform. And when it doesn’t perform, it’s easy to say that writing articles at conferences doesn’t work. But in those specific cases, it didn’t work because we didn’t pick the proper storyline or format.

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