The Complete Guide to Building an Effective Event Communications Plan
Why Event Communication Strategies Matter
Event communication encompasses integrated messaging across all platforms and channels related to your event. The overarching goal is to create intrigue, spread awareness, and ultimately drive registrations and attendance.
With crowded event landscapes and fragmented audiences, a deliberate communications plan is essential to cutting through the noise and reaching your target participant demographics. Robust event communication strategies can:
- Generate enthusiasm and recognition for the event
- Attract well-aligned attendees
- Boost event participation and registration conversion
- Reinforce the larger event brand identity
- Foster deeper engagement during and after post-event
Recommended Timeframes for Communications Planning
For large-scale conferences and trade shows, commence communications planning 6-12 months out or more. This provides time to promote across multiple channels and create anticipatory buzz.
For smaller local events, 2-4 months of lead time may suffice. However, aim to define your detailed communications calendar no less than 6-8 weeks prior. This imparts adequate time for execution.
Regardless of the event scale, initiating communications planning as soon as the date, venue, theme, and other early details are confirmed is advised.
Crafting a Comprehensive Event Communications Plan
Your communications plan should outline:
- Messaging strategy and architecture – define target audiences, communications goals, core themes, styles
- Channel mix – pinpoint the optimal platforms and vehicles to reach your audiences
- Content calendar – map out planned content across channels and sequence logically over time
- Sponsor promotion plans – collaborate with sponsors on shared communications
- Branding guidelines – maintain visual brand consistency across touchpoints
- Performance tracking – define success metrics and monitor results across channels
- Responsibility matrix – delegate communications tasks to owners
- Budget – estimate and allocate costs across activities
Event Communications Timeline Milestones
Below is an overview of key milestones in an 8-month communications timeline:
- 6-8 months out – devise strategies, budget, themes, core messaging; launch website
- 5 months out – release “Save the Date” announcements; gather email lists and leads
- 4 months out – distribute formal invites with full event details
- 2-3 months out – amplify event particulars on all channels; open early bird registration
- 6 weeks out – push event app downloads; deploy targeted promotions to boost registrations
- 1 month out – communicate event logistics like schedules and venue maps; upsell add-ons
- 2 weeks out – build excitement around the event experience; share preparatory tips
- Event week – provide live updates across channels; facilitate social media engagement
- Post-event – thank attendees; share recordings, photos, and recaps; seek feedback
Optimising Event Communications
- Personalise messaging and content to relevant audience segments vs. one-size-fits-all
- Employ visual formats like videos and infographics to grab attention
- Synergise communications across channels based on audience consumption preferences
- Align timing with audience interest cycles – around speaker announcements for example
- Continuously optimise based on performance data and metrics
- Automate cross-channel campaigns to conserve resources
- Deliver value during quiet periods through relevant content beyond promotions
Using Technology for Event Registration
Leveraging the right technology can streamline and enhance the event registration process:
- Implement an online registration system for 24/7 access and easy data capture
- Choose a system with customisable registration forms to gather key info
- Integrate payment processing to enable real-time transactions
- Use email confirmation and reminders to drive engagement
- Build in social sharing options so attendees can spread the word
- Offer mobile registration via optimal devices and apps
- Provide self-service portals for attendees to access info and manage registrations
- Capture data throughout the cycle to understand your attendees
- Automate backend processes like sending joining instructions, name badges etc.
- Provide different registration tiers and customise offerings for each
The right registration technology solution can create seamless experiences for attendees whilst saving time and resources for event organisers.
In summary, a strategic communications plan combining artful content and persistence upon key audience insights is instrumental for cutting through the noise and connecting with eventgoers. Maintain an emphasis on conveying value and continuously optimising based on data-driven insights. With the right balance of strategy and creativity, you can generate event intrigue, boost participation, and drive success.