We’ve talked in the past about the importance of adding events to your media repertoire. But, what does that really mean? It’s about bringing your brand to life for your readers and giving them a more tactile, highly engaged experience that will foster an ongoing relationship with your content. Just how do you do that?
1) Know what your brand looks like, in person. Of course, your brand is informed by your audience, and vice versa. But what does that look like off the computer screen or page? Your audience is attracted to your style, and the value of what you offer. Having a good sense of how to express that in person will inform all of your subsequent decisions when planning an event.
2) Offer relevant and enticing content. For an event, this is about taking solutions, expertise, ideas and best practices and putting them into a living, breathing package. Say you have very popular blog specifically focused on how to inspire co-workers to comply with workplace rules. Offer a workshop with the author of the blog that promises unconventional, amusing and proven tactics participants can take back to the office.
3) Go headliner. Who does your readership love? Who is known for innovative thinking in your field? Who is your most popular writer? There is no getting around it, leveraging the power of compelling individuals is a good way to bring your brand into the spotlight. Find a strong keynote speaker or presenter who embodies the best of your event theme and build your event around what they have to offer, with other skilled speakers and related topic areas. Remember though: a compelling person may not be the strongest presenter, so do your homework and know how they perform!
4) Choose a fantastic but sensible locale. No question, this choice is based on the type of event you are having, but ideally, your participants are within reasonable range of the venue or are willing and able to travel to it. People want a stimulating environment to learn in and are often attracted to something unfamiliar. Other qualities of the perfect venue include:
Contemporary audio/visual capacity.
Easily navigated configuration.
Proximity to accommodations and regional attractions.
Pleasant meeting rooms, with comfortable seating and good light.
Good food options - don't be THAT convention where everyone disappears for lunch...
5) Remember, it’s still about the audience. Relevant and stimulating content is the number one priority, but providing participants with opportunities to expand their own network and be entertained are also of utmost importance. Allow time for breaks, social hours, structured networking (like focus groups or games) and entertainment.
And if you think about it, events are a great way to build your audience. You may attract attendees who aren't customers, but by asking a few key questions on your registration form, you may be able to identify common types of people who are interested in your businessn (and learn more about your audience). Offer a free newsletter, and they may become customers in the near future!
6) Time it right. If you know your audience, you know the overlying rhythms of their work lives. A summer event may work for plumbing and heating professionals, since they usually have more free time to focus on the business instead of house calls. But, summer may be the worst time for outdoor professionals (depending on their region of operation). There is also more to timing than the actual date of the event. You need to:
Allow ample time to inform potential participants of the event (at least 60 days) and also time your email reminders or calls for non-respondents as well as registrants, accordingly.
Ensure that you are not scheduling to compete with other, related events.
7) Choose appropriate delivery. To be sure, your event will never come to life if you aren’t reaching your audience through appropriate channels. You know where they hang out; meet them there with relevant, related ads and simple registration processes. Use your newsletters, social media and site taxonomy to ensure you are reaching your list and beyond. Don’t forget that planning an event is a good time to make sure your contact lists are up-to-date and segmented appropriately!
Before you know it, your event will have you and your readers feeling like old friends—with new energy.