When it comes to event content design, it is easy to believe that there is some sort of formula that we have to follow to ensure that we are meeting ‘best practice’. So, we delve into the world of research and attend all of the highly acclaimed events that we can to see how they reach their success.
But then it’s just as easy to become despondent when we follow their example exactly and don’t have the same results. In my experience, this is because there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to events. There are so many variables to consider and a different audience will respond differently to varying approaches.
So, how do you create an approach to ‘best practice’ that works for your event? I’d like to share five tips to help:
1. Keep it simple and targeted.
If you have a new conference, or one that needs reinvigorating, take it back to the basics – less can often be the most effective. Don’t get distracted by the latest technology, celebrity or theming look if they are not what your audience is interested in.
A traditional approach has been to provide your audience with as much information as possible in the quickest time possible, with a belief that is offering value therefore you should sell more tickets. However this is often not the case. You might find it works better for your audience to spread the information distribution out across a couple of days in different formats to hold their attention.
2. Keep researching to stay ahead of the game
Instead of researching what other event runners are doing to make their events more ‘successful’, instead maintain research on your sector or industry. Look into trending topics and find out what fresh ideas your audiences are learning about. There is little to no point in talking to people about what they already know and re-hashing old ideas. This is a sure-fire way to make people switch off and begin to start thinking about what they need to put on their shopping list. If you’re suggesting new spins on old ideas, that’s different. It will provide your audience with something that is unique to your event.
3. Authenticity – focus on your beliefs
When you began your business or began thinking about your conference, I bet there was a belief fuelling every decision you made and an outcome that you wanted to reach. It’s easy with day-to-day life and stresses for that core belief that began everything to begin to fade into the distance. Return your focus to that original dream and what beliefs you want to be underlying your event. Trust me, your audience will be able to tell when there is something deeper to everything that you’re saying – they will appreciate your passion for it and it will leave them with something memorable. If you are speaking at your event, you could even make it personal with an anecdote on when the belief or dream sparked within you.
4. Analyse all results – not just the numbers
Don’t think of your attendees as sponges who are there for you to soak with information. Remember that they are people who want to feel actively involved in your event, as if it has been created for them personally. It would be easy to analyse results on the basic data such as the number of attendees and the number of ticket sales to your event. But just because they bought tickets doesn’t mean that they would return again. To be able to achieve a better understanding of how your audience responded to your event, run a poll while they are there. Mostly everyone has access to devices, meaning that you can receive a real-time idea of what they are thinking via a poll or a survey.
5. Always put your audience first.
No matter what, keep your audience at the forefront of any plan you make for an event. Think about what you want them to gain from attending and how you want to relay the information to them.
Ask what do you want your audience to learn and take away from your event? If you were in the audience, what would you expect? How would you expect the information to be relayed to you? What would impress you? What wouldn’t you want to see? Form an action plan with your team to see what you would all want to gain from attending an event, match it together with your poll from your previous event and keep moving onwards and upwards.
So remember – your event is unique, your audience is unique and your content should also be unique. This is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ event design plan so stop looking for one! Create your own ‘best practice’ and grow from there.
Author: Peta Moore