When organizations host an event such as a conference, there is a lot at stake.
A successful event can:
- give your organization an opportunity to stand out from the competition
- position your organization as an industry authority
- expose your company to more opportunities for the creation of content that can be shared in newsletters and on social media.
- forge partnership with sponsors that benefit your company apart from the event
- give your prospects a chance to discover more about your perspective and dedication
- build trust and relationships that will help seal future deals.
To accomplish all this, your event needs to reflect a high level of professionalism. A recognizable branded identity is essential to attracting more people in your target market and encouraging them to share the event with others.
Scaling up from small
Small events can be handled quite well with a landing page on your company website. The larger your event, the more you will benefit from giving your event its own real estate. Here is a checklist to help you figure out what you need.
- Can your current staffing easily update your corporate website? Is there a possibility that the event information could get lost in your website’s navigation and content? Creating an event site that links back to your existing website allows you to update important event information quicker and easier without having to go to the web designer for each change. This is important because an event website needs to have fresh content at various stages of your event cycle (see below). If the event is very small and not a mainstay of your business, you could use a very simple website that is cross-linked with your main site.
- Is the topic of your event ancillary to the main goal of your business?A separate event site avoids confusion and worse. Having the information on your company site could risk alienating your company’s target market. Event participants can be turned off if they perceive a disconnect between the event and your
- Are you are looking to build attendance for the event? A standalone site allows you to market the event more effectively via search engineering. Your event branding occupies the home page, front and center.You have plenty of space to prominently display key conference information and position your organization as the event host. Because you can liberally link the event site and your company website,this cross-linking gives both sites a search engine advantage.
- Is this event positioning your organization as an authority in your field? A separately branded website gives the appropriate gravitas. This type of site is more likely to attract major sponsors and popular speakers, and offers opportunities for more effective marketing to increase attendance and recognition. If you put on an event considered a mainstay of your yearly marketing plan, a separate website communicates importance and authority.
- Would your company benefit from building relationships with sponsors? A separate event site is more likely to attract corporate partners because they get to have content and logos visible on every page of the site. They enjoy the opportunity to write a post about their company and how they can help your attendees. This information stays on the site all year giving them more bang for their investment.
Managing Event Cycle Content
As an event host, you are faced with delivering distinct content before and during your event. An effective event website helps you with these critical tasks.
- The launch of the event website establishes the event theme and information in a clear format. It shows that you are serving the the needs and desires of your target market.
- Through the website, you can ask people to sign up for updates. Because this core audience is interested in what you are doing, you can reach them with targeted messages. Through them, you build more anticipation for your event.
- The event website will help you attract sponsors and make a call for speakers. By featuring prominent call to action buttons, you can send prospective sponsors and speakers to more information and their respective online application forms.
- The prospective participants are your leads, and you nurture them through your event website. Your event promotion should schedule a series of touch points including emails, direct mail and social media—all of which can be organized through your WordPress event website. The type of event will drive the promotional activities that are appropriate to your audience.
- By helping you communicate often and well, your event website will produce your optimal turnout. People show up to an event that is top of mind.
How WordPress Supports Event Planning
WordPress sites are particularly easy for your team to update and offer the ability to post easily. You can use the blog posts to publicize news of your event, such as new sponsors and speakers. The blog posts become updates to your mailing list, creating anticipation.
Social media updates can be created from this same content and sent out to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google +. This attracts new people back to the event website. They sign up for updates, and as your blog posts become more numerous, so does the audience for your event.
When the time comes to open ticket sales (usually four months before the event), this important information has a great distribution channel. You announce that ticket sales are open on the home page, send this news out as an update to your newsletter, and post on social media sites. If you create an event #hashtag, Twitter will help people follow you and others who are excited about attending, speaking or sponsoring the event.
Here are links to five of my event sites you can see as samples:
I have an eBook coming out soon called the Event Organizers’ Handbook. It is chock full of information organized into following chapters and includes tasks in each of these areas that give you a blueprint for success.
- Organizer Role
- Creating a Budget
- Booking Your Venue
- Choosing a Committee
- Developing Your Timeline
- Branding and Graphic Design
- Website Development
- Marketing, Content and Social Media
- Speakers and Presenters
- Sponsors and Exhibitors
- Social Events
- Food and Beverage
- Audio-Visual Requirements
- Wrap Up
If you are interested in getting notified when The Event Organizer’s Handbook comes out,
And get ready to build anticipation along with my ebook release!
Everything I have learned about event organization boils down to this advice: Enlist a team to work with you, take it one step at a time and your event will put your organization on the map.