Whether you are planning a large conference, an intimate meeting for VIP customers, a quarterly gathering for club members, or an annual fundraising event, content plays a pivotal role in attracting and pleasing attendees.
Compelling speakers are the most important factor in attracting attendees to your event. Finding speakers who are relevant, experienced and have a unique story to tell will not only drive attendees to your event, but keep them talking about it well after the event is over. You should even consider soliciting potential attendee feedback in the process of selecting keynote speakers, panelists and meeting topics. A great example of this is the South by Southwest Panel Picker, which allows their community to vote on proposals for various speakers and panel topics, thus engaging their audience in the actual content programming of the event.
Networking is more than a handshake. Besides great speakers the other reason people attend events is to network. As an event organizer you can help your attendees get the most out of the event by making networking easier before, during and after your event. Use the existing social networks to get attendees talking prior to an event—event Facebook Pages or Groups, Twitter Hashtags, LinkedIn Groups etc. Consider hosting Birds-of-a-Feather sessions or lunches where attendees can gather to informally discuss topics of mutual interest.
Attention grabbing materials. Print and digital materials you use to promote your event—brochures, flyers, newsletters; and inform attendees while at your event—programs, daily papers, agendas etc. are an important factor in audience engagement. Events like music festivals, sporting events and business conferences are complemented well by programs that can serve as both a guide to attendees as well as used for marketing material down the road. An event program is a great way to showcase the talent you’ve organized, share the purpose of your event, promote your sponsors and acknowledge those who deserve thanks.
Here are a few of our MagCloud favorites (from MagCloud publishers as well as others) to provide some inspiration:
- Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs published the program for their August 2011 event in San Francisco. This program does a great job of posting the packed schedule along with speaker bios and ads for local businesses (It’s clear they put a priority on great design – a top MagCloud tip!)
- 2010 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – it’s not just about a one-week event in October. This program delves into the history of the annual Balloon Fiesta and gives details on each balloon flying at the event – it’s sort of like the “speaker bios” of the balloon festival world.
- 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open program has a clear focus on great photography especially the shots of the individual holes (pages 50-66) not to mention beautiful integrations with their sponsors. The ads are woven into the program and don’t feel forced or out of place.
- SXSW 2012 Event Marketing brochure is chock full of impressive stats, engaging content and gorgeous design.
- TED Fellows 2011 Booklet gives shout outs and thank yous up front along with a brief description of the program and of course a look at each TED Fellow and the work they are up to.
- Guide to Davos dives into the topics at hand for the 2011 Davos Conference and gives the reader a feel for the tone and sheer importance of the event. Layout is unique and could work well for an event that requires articles in their program to communicate its story.
And if you are ready to get started on materials for your next event and need a little help check out our collection of free event program and brochure templates:
Have you taken a unique approach to selecting speakers, creating networking opportunities or created killer event materials? If so please feel free to share those ideas in the comments section and tell us what kind of feedback you received from event attendees and partners.