Whenever I’m looking for someone to work with, whether that’s a designer for my website or a photographer to take some family portraits, I need to know that they are passionate about what they do and will care as much as I do about the end result. And not just because I am paying them.
And if you’re looking for someone to take on any of the digital marketing for your event, this is how you should feel too, You need to make sure you pick someone who knows events and understands how they work. So, with that in mind, I thought I‘d share three reasons I love events and what they can do for your business.
1. Getting ‘live’ feedback
Although I’d worked on plenty of small events before, the first big event I was involved with was a conference and exhibition aiming for a few thousand visitors over two days. It was my job to create the conference programme and write the copy for the marketing brochures and emails. Working on a magazine at the time, I was used to getting feedback (not always pleasant, of course!) on articles I had written via email or social media posts. But once I’d written a story I didn’t really think much about it again. Being at an event was such a different experience and it meant I could find out exactly what was right about it (and what wasn’t) from the visitors in real time. I remember seeing people holding the conference programmes that I had written and feeling such a buzz that it was my words that had compelled them to turn up. And the whole thing was like a giant focus group for the next event. We had 2000 of our target audience in the venue and could talk to them about why they had attended and what we could do to make sure they came back the following year - preferably with a coachload of colleagues! It’s important not to forget that an event itself is your first (and possibly best) opportunity to gather crucial feedback for your next event.
2. The chance to be creative with social media
Something I love as much as events is social media, and it really comes into its own during live events. The possibilities are huge and you can be really creative, making the most of what your favourite platforms have to offer. From a practical point of view, social media can be used to let delegates know of changes to the programme or simply that a particular seminar is starting so they don’t miss it. So much better than a tannoy, right? I once sourced an incredible seminar speaker using Twitter, who travelled over from New York with one day’s notice to replace a last-minute cancellation. But as well as helping your event run smoothly, using social media well will also raise awareness of your event to people who aren’t there, which is going to be good for business in the longer term. Make sure you have an easy-to-remember (and short) hashtag so that your attendees can tweet about the event and find other delegates to connect with. The hashtag will also help new audiences find you. At big events, it’s a good idea to have several people working on the social media, so you can make the most of all the opportunities, from going live on Facebook to organising Tweet-ups, there are so many things you can do to make sure the delegates get as much out of the event as they can.
3. Lots of opportunities for media coverage
Most journalists don’t get out of the office as much as you’d think and deadlines often get in the way. But you might be able to entice them out with an invite to your event, if you can make it worth their while. You could do this by lining up interviews for them with several of your key speakers, delegates or exhibitors (depending on the type of event, of course). If a reporter knows they might get several potential stories or features out of one meeting, they’re much more likely to show up. Make life as easy as possible for them, by getting the people you think they might be interested in talking to on board before you even send out any press invites. You could also try to pick out any other topical ‘hooks’ they might want to write about, any wider themes that your event sits within. For example, a journalist was interested in talking to some visitors to an event I was working on that was all about construction. The story was about the rise in thefts from vans, so not at all linked to the event, but I knew I had a huge number of van drivers in one place and could make life easy for the journalist by offering her plenty of case studies. So do some research and see what stories are affecting the industries surrounding your event and what you might be able to offer to any press visitors.