At Juice, we’ve increased our number of events considerably in the last year. From a larger Juice YP of the Year program to our partnership with YPC, the Charity Challenge and the Mixies music awards and the Halloween Costume Contest, we’re out there a lot.
But the events-focused session at ONA with Chad Graham, Brenda Williams-Butts and Olivia Allen-Price changed my mindset on approaches and helping define success. Here are some of my key takeaways:
PLANNING AN EVENT:
Define audience goals first: Is it a retention/loyalty event? Or audience acquisition?
Next: Determine how you’ll reach that audience, and then how to feature our content.
Have a budget from the beginning that you’re always going back to, grow it from there.
Go for a smaller room. It’ll look more lively in photos, and the energy of people being in closer proximity is better.
Set goals like number of new email addresses (which helps define audience). Make sure it’s opt-in.
BEFORE AN EVENT:
Ticketing is good for several things: It makes people feel like they have skin in the game to show up, rather than just RSVPing, It also can help keep track and define the audience that shows up — is it new? loyal? Where are they from? Just $5 works.
Online ticketing services will also give you opportunities to communicate in advance: ideas shared to do an FAQ two weeks in advance, reminder the week of the event.
For volunteers: Communicate specific expectations.
Make it easy: Figure out things like parking, overcommunicate directions.
Find a partner with resources to set up, break down. Always do a dry run at the event, particularly A/V, Graham said.
DURING AN EVENT:
Williams-Butts said she pays influencers a nominal amount to tweet from an event.
Content ideas: Stream and archive, collect stories, do live coverage, share behind-the-scenes
Know that something will go wrong. That’s OK. Graham mentioned one time during a morning meeting when a snafu meant no coffee. When someone asked where the coffee was, the attendee was given a $5 card and directions to the Starbucks a couple blocks away.
AFTER AN EVENT:
Events should be continuously refined, just like anything else we do. What swag works best? Did you reach intended audience?
It’s all about engaging audiences in a way that’s authentic and deeper than our usual interactions of social media or content delivery.