Here are five key steps to get started with actionable tips you can employ right now.
The first step in developing a communications plan for your event is to define objectives that align with your event strategy.
Examples objectives are:
It’s important your event looks and feels consistent across all content. Having a verbal structure for content and key messaging doesn’t need to be complex, but is an important pillar of your communications strategy.
Examples include adjectives such as, our tone and voice is...
Who are you speaking to? Set up stakeholder profiles for your audience and ensure the personality, tone, and voice align with these profiles.
Every event will have specific stakeholder groups - the information they want and need to know can vary greatly. To provide the best event experience for each, define what information each group needs to know and what is the value they are expecting to get from the event. For example, your exhibitors and sponsors are interested in who is attending and if they are a good fit for their business. Your attendees want to know who the speakers are and if there are networking or professional development opportunities.
Understanding what they value and what they need to know will help you decide which key messages are relevant to each profile.
Planning your event communications into a schedule for relevant distribution times and channels is key to a successful strategy. Once you have your key messages and stakeholder profiles make a list of all the content that needs to be distributed, relevant audiences, and timeframes.
A substantial amount of content can be scheduled pre-event. In fact, some of this content is paramount when promoting your event, ensuring ticket sales, and maintaining sponsors, speakers, and other stakeholders.
Pre-event communications include the event announcement and content about the benefits of attending.
You want to discover more about our services? Discover our services
During the event, your communications will be a mixture of planned and ad hoc. If you schedule your planned content in advance and have a clear strategy for ad hoc messages, you will be managing your event communications like a boss.
Here are some examples of planned and ad hoc messages you might need to consider during the event:
Lead by example to encourage attendees and other stakeholders to share content on social pages with your hashtag and in the event app. Prompting discussions and posting images of event preparation will build excitement. By establishing a welcoming social environment, you’ll create a means for your attendees to network and socialise.
The event is done and dusted, but don’t forget to send out this follow-up information shortly after the event.
Thank sponsors and others involved in making the event happen.
Provide web-based access to speaker presentations and other materials. Share images and tag the people in them if applicable . Collect all the data and feedback to start planning for next year. Decide what will go in your sponsor prospectus and event highlights video.
Now that you have your list, apply your content to your distribution channels: email, website, social media pages, and your mobile app.
Your event website is the foundation of your event promotion. It’s where you will be driving ticket sales. Create a landing page with highlights and unique selling points that communicate to your target audience why they should attend. Keep it clean with clear call-to-actions and ensure the check-out process is seamless. Monitor new sign-ups every day to gauge where the traffic is coming from and collect any other data that may streamline the process.
Choose your social networks and what content to share on each. Facebook is great to create dedicated event pages and target audiences through paid promotion. LinkedIn is perfect for B2B and networking events. Create an event hashtag and make sure it is in all of your bios. Encourage speakers, performers, exhibitors, and sponsors to use it as well.
A great email campaign can help drive ticket sales and distribute important information to attendees. Emails should emulate the look and feel of the event brand.
Instant notifications via the event app or through SMS messaging can be used to direct users to further information or simply act as an announcement or reminder. These can be sent instantaneously or queued in advance to send in the coming days or weeks. These types of notifications can be more interruptive than other channels, so make sure it’s for important content only.
To take it one step further, target stakeholders with personalised content relevant to them. Consider how your event registration data could be used to improve functionality for each attendee or group. An example of personalised content is creating unique surveys for exhibitors, attendees, sponsors and speakers.
Don’t wait too long to ask for feedback. You want this to be fresh in stakeholders’ minds. A great way to collect feedback is via the event app. Send a notification after closing with a link to an in-app feedback form, or email over some post-event questions to jog their memory while it's new in their minds.
Have a clear loop for accepting and responding to feedback to ensure the information is documented and analysed and the stakeholder who gave the feedback receives a response.
To measure the results choose metrics which will help decide if your original objectives were met. Some example metrics could include:
Remember effective communication involves giving and receiving information. A clear roll-out and time frame will help establish expectations of everyone involved. With your strategy in place, you’ll be able to concentrate on running the event with the peace of mind that important information is being distributed to stakeholders when they need it.
This article was written in partnership with Entegy, an industry-leading event technology platform and partner program powering remarkable experiences worldwide.