Contently Case Story: How Event Coverage Helped xAd Boost Site EngagementBy Yardain Amron December 5th, 2016
Contently Case Stories is a series highlighting some of Contently’s most successful clients.
Starting a marketing summit at 8 a.m. is ambitious. But xAd, an ad-tech firm based out of New York, didn’t have to worry.
At eight on the dot, the lobby of Skylight Modern, a venue in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, was already full of guests. It was a big day for the employees of xAd who were looking to connect with current and prospective clients over the company’s location intelligence technology. The packed summit, called “On Location,” took place on September 22. It was the company’s first conference and included new product demos as well as a number of ad-tech panels. The goal was to entertain and inform an exclusive group of data-collection experts in tech, retail, fashion, and advertising.
After breakfast, guests were directed downstairs to a larger, darker space with hundreds of cushioned chairs. Plastered across the walls were inspirational quotes from tech giants like Carly Fiorina (“The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight”) and Alan Kay (“The best way to predict the future is to invent it”).
High ceilings accommodated ten-foot industrial lighting trusses. And toward the back of the room was the “Location Lab,” where people could play with the company’s mapping software, called Blueprints, on desktop computers.
xAd hoped the summit would be one to remember, which is why its marketing team enlisted freelancers to cover the event for the company’s website. Jessica Meyers, marketing manager for xAd, handpicked writers with ad-tech and data-collection expertise from the Contently freelancer network to report on the panels and overall experience. In addition to covering panel topics, the event was an opportunity for the writers to learn more about xAd and where the company is headed in the future.
“Our summit gave us a great opportunity to nurture specific Contently writers and educate them on our company as well as industry-specific topics,” Meyers said. “Our team was confident that our longform content was in good hands so we could focus our efforts on making sure the event came together.”
The reporters were assigned to cover specific event tracks: the general session, a data panel, and a lifestyle presentation.
“We invited clients from our agency, programmatic, channel, and brand direct divisions,” said Kimberly Konstant, VP of brand and buzz at xAd. “We trusted that our partnership with Contently would yield great content about the event with a quick turnaround.”
Tessa Wegert, a veteran Contently freelancer, covered the first two morning sessions on “Turning Data Into Action” and “The Future of Location.” Almost as soon as the panels commenced, she began conceptualizing the stories.
“My goal is to find a balance between reporting on the event and covering the key points for the people who weren’t able to make it,” Wegert said. “Because there were new product announcements, I’ll also include a few of the themes that are important to xAd.”
A few weeks after the event, xAd published Wegert’s article on the company blog. (The articles are positioned from the xAd team, so they do not reveal Wegert’s byline.) In “‘Big Data Is Not a Strategy’: 5 Tips for Making Location Intelligence Work for Your Brand,” Wegert breaks down how to translate the concept of big data into a strategy with specific action items—a valuable subject for xAd’s target audience.
A few weeks later, xAd published Wegert’s second piece, “How to Gain Consumer Context by Using Location Intelligence in 2017,” followed by a story on augmented reality by Haniya Rae, another Contently freelancer who covered the event.
The goal of the coverage was to fuel conversations about location-based advertising and communicate its importance for brands. It appears the strategy is working.
Two hundred marketers attended the summit, but the results of the conference extended well beyond the attendee list. From September to October alone, xAd event coverage played a role in boosting blog traffic up to 4x and increasing social media engagement by 36 percent. Part of this success can be attributed to Wegert’s location intelligence article, which was the most-viewed story in October.
For the xAd marketing team, stories about the conference served not only as a tool to spark social engagement, but also as a source of evergreen content. “Contently writers helped us extend the life and messaging of the event with focused blog posts that can be shared months after,” Konstant said. “The outcome of this partnership is that we have content that long outlives any single-day initiative.”