Photo Credit: IMEX Frankfurt

Only around 15% of exhibitor stories at the premier global event of the meetings industry, IMEX, convinced our editorial board to publish them on Kongres Magazine’s website. 

A few years ago, I came up with the slogan More Content – More Contracts, derived from the omnipresent and known business saying: the more contacts you get, the more contracts you sign. I deemed that the time had come for the meetings industry to understand how important content is.

Then came corona. We tend to say covid turned our world upside down. Take, for example, Uncle Google, who is the master of modern communication. The engineers who developed Google created one of the most advanced algorithms in the world. They did not come to a standstill during the corona crisis. You can only compete within the Googleverse if you offer quality content. That represents the core of Google’s algorithm, and the corona crisis did not change that. Hence, we should pay attention to the quality of the content we publish.

If we approach the challenge from a media aspect, our platform is bombarded by at least 10 to 20 news from the global, local and regional meetings industry. As we aim to share meaningful and up-to-date newsworthy news, we designed our matrix a decade ago. It is aptly named the newsworthy index. The simple matrix helps the editorial board overview which articles are intriguing for event organisers.

Photo Credit: IMEX Group

The core criteria of our index are:

• Timing and Novelty
Something genuinely new that is appealing to worldwide meeting planners. Consequently, it might affect their decision to organise an event or an event that just took place.

• Impact and relevance
The event is fresh and has the power to impact a meeting planner’s decisions or the way they think about the world.

• Reality and prominence
Real statements from real participants, stakeholders and partners. The results can be from the first, the last, the oldest, the youngest or the biggest.

• Importance
Has the event achieved results that resonate with a local, regional, international or worldwide audience? Such results can have a profound impact.

● Public interest
What exactly is in the interest of the public we are addressing? Close events are usually more important than distant ones.

● UEP – Unique Emotional Point
How well a story addresses emotions and appeals to the hearts of readers.

We decided to review the scene by assessing news and press releases that exhibitors at IMEX published in the press section: However onerous this work may be, it is one of the simplest ways to overview the quality of content, its structure and creativity.

Photo Credit: IMEX Group

This year, during and before IMEX, exhibitors published 372 press and news releases.

The structure of 372 published content pieces is as follows:

105 – PR General Promotion
91 – News Novelty
40 – News Events
39 – News Sustainability
27 – News Opening
27 – PR We are at IMEX
18 – News General
11 – Link to website
8 – Press Kit
6 – IMEX media invitation

To sum up, there were 215 (57,8%) news of different topics, 132 (35,5%) PR messages, and 25 (6,7%) pieces of content that do not fit into such a system (they are linked to websites and include standard press kits). In 2022, an incredible number of articles regarding sustainability were published. We will uncover their authenticity in future articles.

The average marks according to individual categories (from 1 to 5) are intriguing:

News – 3,39
PR messages – 1,93
Other – 0,81

Logically, exhibitor news received higher newsworthy marks compared to various press releases. To get a detailed insight, we decided to collate average marks within individual news categories:

News Sustainability – 3,54
News Novelty – 3,52
News Events – 3,15
News Opening – 3,32
News General – 3,05

Photo Credit: IMEX Group

The editorial board only selected 57 stories or 15,3% of all published content.

As expected, news regarding the latest novelties received high marks, and 32 (35,2%) of them exceeded the index of 4, which is the threshold for publishing them on Kongres Magazine’s website. Surprisingly, news concerning sustainable achievements was well-received. 14 of them (35,9%) met the threshold for publishment.

An overview of all published articles shows the editorial board only selected 57 stories or 15,3% of all published content. That is less than in our previous analysis.

To get a broader picture, we selected ten best-evaluated stories by our editors:

  • ExCeL London secures approval for expansion to its world-class venue by ExCeL London
  • Sarawak Reveals 8 Key Focus Areas to Boost Business Events by Business Events Sarawak
  • The metaverse is about to revolutionize the way hotels and event spaces do business by RandezVerse
  • City Destinations Alliance is Born! By City Destinations Alliance
  • Marina Bay Sands earns Events Industry Council Sustainable Event Standards for Venues Platinum certification by Marina Bay Sands
  • A next-gen marketing platform is live by MCI Group
  • Rethink Meetings e-book by Catalunya Convention Bureau
  • Dublin’s Newest Convention Centre Opening Oct 2022 by Dublin Royal Convention Centre
  • Allseated Raises $15 Million to Deliver Corporate Metaverses by Allseated GmbH
  • Global DMC Partners Releases Results and Key Findings of Staffing & Hiring Survey by Global DMC Partners

The stories that scored lowest were predominantly stories announcing an organisation or company that attended IMEX. That is unsurprising if one is included in the media system of a tradeshow. Far worse are articles with links to websites without any meaningful content or general promotion in the form of outdated information that convey no message.

Hitherto, there are still countless articles that only provide technical information or features. Readers will be unfazed if they read a venue boasts a certain number of halls that stretch a certain amount of square metres and that it is undoubtedly best according to them. Not to mention how oblivious event organisers will be. They want to learn about the advantages of a venue and meaningful information.

Photo Credit: IMEX Frankfurt

To get a better understanding of the structure of our newsworthy index, we analysed individual marks that comprise the average mark:

3,78 – Reality and prominence
3,03 – Timing and novelty
2,79 – Impact and relevance
2,47 – Public interest
2,42 – Importance
1,68 – UEP

Most articles are realistic, transparent and more or less credible. Serious organisations stand behind the content, as the threshold for media is high at IMEX. The challenges our research pointed to are two-fold. Firstly, the research showed the value of content for a story. The mark of 2.42 speaks for itself. It seems there is a sea of absurdly irrelevant content. Secondly, UEP is the segment with the lowest mark. It may result from politically correct language or simply a lack of knowledge. This part of story-writing is integral for resonating with event organisers, and the low mark is to blame for the low shareability of stories on social media platforms.

Even though we consider ourselves rational, we make most decisions subconsciously – our brains make decisions for us, or they are based on our (current) feelings. Whether we are selecting breakfast or considering purchasing a new phone is irrelevant. All of us strive for well-being and feeling special. Event organisers are no different.

If we don’t write our own stories, our clients will write them for us. Even the negative ones.

People are story-lovers as they are a part of our everyday lives. We were told stories as kids to become acquainted with the world. Stories foster our imagination and enable us to connect with clients and consumers. We convey emotions through storytelling so our consumers can relate to them and share experiences. It is an excellent opportunity to express pain rationally and find a remedy. Several organisations that ranked highest in our research implemented this strategy.

Photo Credit: IMEX Frankfurt

Only a small percentage of original stories deserve our attention. In our research, a mere 15% caught our attention, thus captivating our readers. Through content marketing, we provide event organisers with stories that are intriguing to them. Consequently, they reward us with loyalty and making purchases. If we don’t write our own stories, our clients will write them for us. Even the negative ones.

Our editorial selection and judgement are perhaps more complex and structured than clients’ who read such content. Nonetheless, their busy schedules render them utterly criticising and, more importantly, very selective.

Thus, we must treat content responsibly and never leave communication to chance or coworkers who are unskilled in this area. Some time ago, I wrote why I believe developing a sales and marketing team in companies is a must. It still stands true that good content represents the communication capital of your business. The prominence of content marketing is that it can stand by your clients – event organisers. Content marketing understands them and offers the right solutions at the right time.

Article by Gorazd Čad