From the initial promotional material to the post-event speech, getting attendees invested in your event requires an effective event communication plan. Without it, you risk losing attendees' attention, money, and participation in future events.
Fortunately, an engaging event communication strategy is just what you need. Use this guide to create powerful communication strategies that guarantee a successful event.
Learn how to implement an event communication and messaging strategy, one that conveys your event purpose, furthers your brand, boosts revenue, and, most importantly, gets your target audience to come back for more.
What Is an Event Communication Plan?
An event communication plan is an outline of the event communications before, during, and after the event. It aims to define a clear event goal, promote this goal to all relevant parties, and relay all essential event information to attendees.
On a physical scale, the plan is a document with event communication strategies. It’s an essential tool that outlines how the event will achieve its attendance goals. It also showcases your ability to plan and succeed at managing future events. This will promote your abilities with stakeholders, as well as current and future clients.
Engaging Event Communication Is Integral to Success
Event communication planning is essential for event success. It’s a strategic approach to target audience communication, which increases the hype around events and guarantees packed attendance. And what does a packed event mean? Increased revenue!
Beyond increasing revenue, an engaging communication plan ensures your events are built with clear goals and a strong foundation. Attendees will understand what’s happening when it’s happening, what the message of the event is, and whether they want to go or not.
All of this is necessary if you want to increase your reach and establish your brand as one worth knowing.
Key Markers of an Event Communication Plan
Before we get into the exact ways to optimize your event communication plan, let’s take a look at three foundational pillars of event communication.
A Clear Event Goal
First, it’s essential to determine the event goal. This means clearly defining the event message, and outlining the goals you’d like to achieve with the event.
Once you know what the event's message and goal are, it becomes much easier to work toward it. You’ll know what type of event you need to host, what type of attendees you want, and what you need to do to draw them in.
Effective Event Communication Timeline
Next, the timeline will be a huge driving force behind the event's decision-making. The timeline will outline all pre-, inter-, and post-event communication steps, including when emails, promotions, thank-yous, etc., need to be sent to attendees.
Buzz Worthy Event Entertainment or Presenters
An event needs appropriate entertainment. A great way to create a cohesive theme and atmosphere at your event is to bring in a host, presenter, or entertainer who makes sense for the audience and can help further buzz around the event.
Of course, this all depends on your event budget. But if you are hosting a big event with a large group of important people, the event entertainment and presenters need to match.
Optimize the Event Communication Plan With These Steps
To optimize event communication for your next event, create the event communication plan along these steps.
Determine the Target Audience
An essential step in pre-event communication is determining the event's target audience. This allows you to tailor the event to the attendee's tastes and to maximize the event engagement.
To determine your target audience and learn more about them, create a target audience profile.
This profile should define key markers for your attendees like their age, interests, gender, income, etc. You can use software, like CRM software, to gather all this client information and build comprehensive profiles of all your attendees.
Create an Event Timeline
As mentioned above, an event timeline is crucial. Without it, you risk forgetting key messages or not having enough time to build interest around the event.
So, gather your team and use historic analytics and other event data to determine how long you’ll need to build and effectively communicate the event. As a general rule, the bigger the event, the more time there needs to be before the event D-day.
Start at minimum 4 months before the event, especially on pre-event communication strategies. Note the sequence of communication events and deadlines for each.
An example is event social media accounts. This should be one of the first things you do and can be used to drum up interest long before any official information about the event is available – even to you.
Choose the Event Communication Channels
Instagram, LinkedIn, X (formally known as Twitter), email – there are dozens of communication channels to use to market your event. However, there are some things to consider before committing your resources.
First, determine which communication channels your target audience frequents. Different social media platforms attract different people.
When we compare the demographics of TikTok and LinkedIn, we can see just how stark the difference can be. TikTok is popular among younger generations, while LinkedIn is frequented by Millennial professionals. You would waste resources marketing a corporate event to younger people on TikTok.
Once you know which social media platforms hold your target audience, commit your time and resources to those platforms instead of all platforms.
Second, compare data to find the communication channels that have proven effective in the past. Compare social media insights and email marketing data to see which social platforms have the highest engagement rates and returns.
Lastly, you can also create an event website and link to it from your social media channels and emails. People can then follow the links to learn more about the event and the story behind it. Big events can also utilize a mobile event app for an even richer experience.
Establish the Event Communications Budget
Establishing a comprehensive budget early on will prevent any event communication plan cuts closer to the event. Consider the type of event you’re hosting and all the resources you’ll need to advertise the event and convey the event message.
This includes the cost of promotional designs and advertisements, merch to be sold at the event, communication tools costs, etc. Consider every cost that you’ll possibly need to fulfill the event communication plan.
Create Pre-Event Hype
An event communication plan should include pre-event marketing to drum up interest among potential attendees. Social media is a cost-effective way to do this. Create a social media account on your chosen communication channels and drop teasers about the event.
Another great way to build hype around the event is to partner with a popular presenter or entertainer. If the entertainment partner releases a hint to their fans about participation in the event, it will increase social media engagement and conversation around the event – guaranteeing a host of potential attendees.
Measure the Effectiveness of the Event Communication Strategy
To ensure the event is on track for success, measure the engagement and effectiveness of the communication plan. The best way to do this is with software, most notably analytics software.
Install analytics plugins to your website and take advantage of social media and email marketing insights to see how many people are engaging with the event notices and teasers.
If there is not enough pre-event buzz around the event, don’t stress. The event communication plan allows time before events to manage situations like these. Examine the data, find the points people are engaging with, and play up these points further along the event communication timeline.
Formally Invite Attendees
Post social media teasers along the event communication timeline and organize a press release, before formally inviting attendees. Ensure the invites match the event style and contain all relevant event information.
Even after releasing the invites, you should continue publicizing and marketing the event. Your goal should be to keep attendees excited about the event up to the day of the event.
A great example of this is music events. Traditionally, music events will post an event countdown on their website and regularly post how many days are left until the event.
Communicate the Event Message Clearly
The event communication plan should extend into the event agenda and venue management. The event and venue should match what the messaging strategy promised, and communicate the event message.
When you make a commitment to attendees and uphold it, it builds trust in your brand and encourages future partnerships.
Reach Out After the Event
When the event is over, it’s time to move on to the post-event communication timeline. Send a ‘thank you’ message to attendees a day or two after the event. A few days after that, you can also send a survey to get insight into what worked well at the event and where improvement is necessary.
Lastly, use the gathered information to build your contact list and increase brand exposure for future events.
An event communication plan is a strategic approach to pre-, inter-, and post-event communication. With a communication timeline, event organizers and managers can effectively plan how to drum up interest in an event, maximize the buzz around the event, convey a clear event message, and ensure attendees have all relevant event information.
Use the above communication methods to enthrall your target audience with engaging communication and marketing, and further your brand smartly.
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