Category Archives: Events

#ProTip: Put Needed Info Info Prominently on Your Website

#ProTip: for those of you producing an event, whether big or small: PUT YOUR DATES, TIME AND LOCATION AT THE TOP OF THE FRONT PAGE OF YOUR WEBSITE!

This goes right along with having enough toilet paper as something that is easy and cheap to fix that really enhances the experience of your patrons. Why make people search for this most basic of information?

You would think this kind of thing would be self-evident, but I cannot tell you the number of websites that hide this important information.

Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper. The answer to the question, “How do you tell you are at a poorly organized event?”

I have been to some bad events in my time. Recently, I have been to some really terrible events. It seems like we have an event-epidemic these days. I am not going to name names, so don’t bother to ask. Even if organizers are good intentioned and “doing their best”, if the event is poorly executed, it reflects badly on not just the organizers, but on other similar events. It brings everyone down. The more bad events that are produced, the more likely people will not attend future events, even if by a different organizer.

You guys know this is a pet-peeve of mine, that anyone who can pick up a phone and rent tents thinks they are an event producer. Event production takes careful planning and execution, and to create truly great events takes lots of experience and understanding of what the attendees want.

So, toilet paper. Toilet paper is one of those small things that makes a big difference. Running out of toilet paper is a huge no-no. Ladies, especially, hate it when there is no toilet paper, and when the ladies are in a bad mood, you know the gentlemen are, too. The thing about toilet paper is that this is so easy and cheap to fix, yet many inexperienced producers forget about it.

Sure, if you have a TON of money, you can rent massive stages and glorious tents, and make it look all pretty, but if you forget the toilet paper, this is a clear indication that you do not know what you are doing. It is like the canary in the coal mine. I can guarantee you that any event that runs short on toilet paper also has issues backstage. I would bet you that if you asked the performers or participants, they would tell you a horror story. Poor communication, bad marketing, disorganized execution, delayed payments, schedule running behind, all of those things are likely happening behind the scenes. There is no chance that an event producer who forgets toilet paper runs everything else smoothly, it is a clear indication of bad organization.

Now, so what? So, please stop supporting bad events. Buy continuing to buy tickets from the same bad organizers, you continue to encourage this bad behavior. There are so many bad events in Miami and the reason is that attendees have low standards. Raise your standards. So what if your favorite band is playing, they will be back soon. Spend your money with those who do a better job and soon either the bad producers will go away or learn their lesson, which improves the event scene for everyone. But, you have to raise your standards!

As more poor events are produced, more sponsors get burned by these producers, which means that they will be less likely to sponsor other events, even if my different organizers. This means less money for the good events and fewer good events. These bad events really do ruin it for everyone.

If you are one of those whose events ran out of toilet paper PLEASE GET OUT OF THE BUSINESS and let the ones doing a better job grow. You know who you are and you are making us all look bad. There are better ways to make a living and it does not matter how good your intentions are, if you are doing a bad job, you are hurting everyone.

19/30 #SMCSFblog

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How To Promote Your Event Part 1

I get this question a lot, so I figured I would share with everyone. The other day, I received an email that said, “What will be the best way to promote this event since you, of all people, knows best how to start the proceedings and communicate to the proper contacts for this event?” Here is what I answered (slightly edited for public consumption):

What you ask is a really in-depth question, but I will try to answer a bit briefly. We have spent the last several years going out to every event we could and networking, shaking hands, trading business cards and passing out flyers. Some nights we would hit five or more events. Through that we built up our network and name recognition. That is where you start (unless you have a giant marketing budget).

In terms of promoting any individual event, I use all the channels available: website, email, social media, personal connections, physical flyer distribution. There are at least two dozen online calendars in the area and numerous journalists who write about events. For larger events, radio is the first advertising media I choose, followed by print, then television. Billboards are also good. Having an advertising budget or being able to set up media sponsorships is very important for bigger events.

I find it very helpful to hire a professional and experienced PR management team. I think that is key. Hiring a professional PR team can really make the difference in news coverage, they have the connections and reputation with the reporters to make that happen. You will get much more coverage than just trying to reach out yourself. A good one will already know all the channels through which you can promote.

Sponsorship of similar style events is also a really good way to get your name out. That would place your name directly in front of the current attendees. Just make sure you are getting good value for your money when you choose who to sponsor.

We always print up physical flyers. Many people have given up on this form, but I think it is one of the keys to our success over others who have tried similar things and given up. Online stuff is nice, but there is nothing like a good piece of glossy paper in your hand to make the event seem more real.

Also, email advertising is still very powerful. Do not dismiss it in favor of just doing social media. Social media is important and should also be handled by someone trained and experienced in it, but email still have better conversion for events, in most cases.

You know, a lot of it really depends on what you are looking for and what your budget is. Do you have a program outline for the event?

I embellished a bit there, but that is essentially what I told them. Marketing is a big part of business, and this is something people do not always realize. Too many people subscribe to the “build it and they will come” theory and that just does not work. I have been to quite a number of larger events recently that were very lightly attended. Yes, you start with a quality product, but then you have to let the people know it is there. Once you have shown them that you can create something good, they will eventually show up. Eventually. Meaning the other part of the equation is persistance, but we’ll leave that to a future writing.

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