Planning an event can be a daunting feat without, well, a plan. Structure and organization are key elements in pulling an event together. When it comes to developing the necessary steps, one of the best things you can do is map them out. Here are some areas that you should be mapping out to make your event a success:
Mapping out a timeline
Having a laundry list of things you need to accomplish and pull together for an event is a great place to start. Unfortunately, it is a not a stellar way to oversee your plan of action. Creating a timeline of due dates and deadlines is a surefire way to stay organized. A timeline will help you know when vendors have been contacted, who’s assigned to each piece of your event’s puzzle and help you stay ahead of the curve (or know if you’re behind schedule). It is also helpful to “bucket” your timeline as follows:
- Program or speakers
- Operations – including when payments are due, when counts are due
- Marketing – including when emails will go out, when to advertise, when to post on social media sites
- Exhibitors and/or sponsors
Just as an atlas helps tourists and researchers learn more about a region or area, planning out where event information is going on your site will help users learn what they might need or want to know about your event. Few things are more frustrating to users than to be told about an upcoming event only to be led to a site with little or no additional information than the source of where they heard it. Or worse, the information is hidden away in the form of an impromptu scavenger hunt – one that users may grow tired of and quit searching for altogether.
Instead, strategically map out where your event details will be housed on the site before it gets updated. Consider some of these questions:
- What pages will be linked to your event on your current site?
- Will you need multiple pages or content blocks?
- How will attendees register?
- How can attendees best contact you about the event?
- Is your event sponsored by other companies or donors? If so, how or where will they receive recognition on your website?
- How will you post the schedule for your event? Will there be speakers at multiple times?
Keeping your website up-to-date will encourage users to stick around and browse for more information while building a connection with your brand.
Sketching out social media
Now that you’ve considered where your event information will go on your website, it’s time to think about driving traffic to those pages and to generate buzz about it with event marketing. Social media has become increasingly common in spreading the word about events. Will you be using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others like Instagram or even Snapchat? Whatever your channel decision, if you’re using more than one platform, be sure to keep your images and branding consistent across each channel. Nothing sends mixed signals like a different variation of logos, colors or imagery around your event.
Map out the venue
You should know your hosting venue inside and out, whether that means touring the place several times before your event or committing the floor plan to memory. Your attendees will appreciate your willingness to direct them where they need to go (or your initiative to help if they’re too stubborn to ask you first). You will also need sufficient signage on-site to help out with this.