Whether you’re hosting a musical festival or street fair or an invitation-only gala, planning every detail of the event is crucial to success. One thing that is often overlooked is a communication plan.
I’ve been in the event planning meetings where there’s no plan to guide us – and chaos soon takes over. Different tactics, such as social media promotion and poster and invitation design, get randomly assigned to different people without a cohesive focus.
Don’t overlook the importance of a communication plan. Even if committee members are charged with different tasks, a communication plan will keep everyone on the same page before, during and after the event.
When considering communications for an event, here are five tips to help keep you on track.
- Consider your channel and audience
So often, we don’t consider our audience or the appropriate channel when thinking about communications. I once worked an event where the organizers insisted on mailing a postcard that asked anyone for online RSVPs. The postcard was being sent to people from our database who did not have an email on file. The registration for the event was extremely low but turnout was high – and we didn’t have enough food. When attendees asked why they didn’t RSVP, many said they did not have access to a computer.
On the flip side, I once received a wedding invitation from a friend who worked at a local tech firm. Instead of an RSVP card, the couple included a QR code that brought you to a very short online RSVP. It was so simple – name, number of guests and dinner options.
Is the second example for everyone? No, but the couple clearly knew their audience. They knew many of the tech-savvy guests would appreciate – and use – the easy online form.
- Don’t underestimate the power of your network
When promoting your event, don’t be afraid to tap into your network of professionals and friends. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in event planning. Don’t be afraid to share on social networks. Friends and colleagues are almost always happy to support their friends.
- New media is wonderful, but traditional media is king
Ok, king might be a bit extreme. But really, it’s important to not underestimate the power of the media. If your event has a unique angle, think of pitching it as a story. Having a unique angle will make the media not only want to cover the event, but maybe do a feature. Also remember, just because you have a great event doesn’t always mean the media will pick it up.
When promoting and advertising an event, keeping everything straight can be a challenge. This is where calendaring comes in handy. I like to use a simple Excel spreadsheet to keep track of interviews, press releases, social media posts, and anything else we might be doing to promote an event.
- Remember the basics
So what do I mean by basics? Posters to promote the event? Postcards? Press release. Well, yes. And no. I mean when writing the content for the event, don’t forget the basic need to know information. It may sound silly, but I can’t tell you how many event posters or invitations I’ve edited that were missing information such as time, location or cost.
Our attention spans are short and getting shorter. We want quick-hit information. So I say, remember the basics. If there is a great amount of necessary information, try creating a website.
- Everyone likes to look at pictures of themselves
I recently spent 20 minutes pouring over a friend’s online wedding album looking for a photo of myself. I’m not proud of this. But I promise, I am not the only one who does this.
What I really mean by this is that post event follow-up is just as important. Social media is a great way to post a recap of your event. Create a Facebook album to share photos from the event. People not only will “like” your photo, but they’ll share it on social media and thus, creating a buzz for your next event.
With these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful event and promotion.