13 Communications Strategies To Ensure Your Company’s Next Special Event Is A Success

Special events can draw a lot of attention to your company if marketed correctly. But in order to make sure your next big special event generates a ton of buzz (both before and after), you need to develop a solid communications plan.

In order to do so, you must consider your business’s brand, audience and how you’ll get the word out. The plan should not only adhere to your usual brand voice and style, but it should also include enough excitement to make the day a memorable one. The key to a successful special event is creating a communications plan that checks off all the boxes.

To help, we’ve asked 13 Forbes Communications Council experts to share their top tips on preparing for special events and how to make the most of your communications plan.

Forbes Communications Council members share actions communications teams can take to make the next company event a memorable one.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Engage Speakers In Promotion

Event speakers usually have followers who love to hear them dispense their wisdom. Make sure that whoever will be presenting at your event lets their audience know they’ll be speaking at your event. Make it easy by sending templates of communications they can personalize and use across various channels. In addition, provide sign-up links they can use so you can track results. – Holly Chessman, GlowTouch Technologies

2. Have A Higher Purpose

People now expect a higher purpose when attending events, so make sure your event has “heart” with a community benefit. A philanthropic storyline can drive your communications plan, making it more powerful and fun. Have hosts personally greet and connect people to build and track relationships and have photographers get names and social media handles of guests so you can tag them in your online recap. – Jeremy Park, cityCURRENT

3. Ensure Timely Communication

How well a special event is produced reflects on the professionalism and public image of a brand, so make sure that all details are verified and confirmed before making a public announcement. Ensure you have a timely communications schedule in place with your internal team, vendors and corporate sponsors, so there’s no detail left unchecked and everyone has all the information they need. – Karla Larraga, Champions School of Real Estate

4. Have The Whole Company Participate

We’ve learned to host a yearly client event: The communications team shouldn’t handle all the communications. You must involve every customer-facing team in the plan, give them talking points and brief them on highlights so they can communicate and promote as well. Take a unified approach for maximum exposure, update email signatures, mention the event at the end of customer calls, leadership, social media, etc. – Amanda Sullivan, TEAM Software

5. Support Your Team

The old event adage of “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” is a cliche for a reason. Events can be chaotic endeavors and in the midst of complicated logistics, the purpose can be lost. Actively supporting your team, empowering them with appropriate messaging and espousing a shared vision will all position them to champion the brand and drive the desired event-based ROI from your target audience. – Patrick Ward, High Speed Experts

6. Rally Your Brand Ambassadors

Involve your employees—they are your best brand ambassadors. Make this easy by drafting messages they can use and ask them to share special events announcements on their social feeds. Start with a save-the-date teaser and send brief, informative reminders (drafted by communications staff) right up until the event. Make sure they share after the event posts as well! – Marija Zivanovic-Smith, NCR Corporation

7. Send Event Reminders

People are busy, so assume that at least 30 percent of attendees, even if they spent money, will forget to put an event in their calendar or will find a better offer. Be thorough in your follow-up. Send event reminders that offer material in advance of the event and get people excited about being a part of your day. – Mandy Menaker, Shapr

8. Use Email Too

Successful marketing plans for special events should take advantage of a variety of communication channels. While a channel like social gets more buzz, email remains the go-to method for promoting an event and communicating with attendees about the details. There’s a reason that industry event organizers continue to use email as a primary communications vehicle with attendees—it works. – Tom Wozniak, OPTIZMO Technologies, LLC

9. Be Consistent With Visuals

When developing a communications plan for an event, make sure that you develop a visual language that defines a consistent design style, color palette, font treatment and more for all visual content you create— from flyers and social media posts to email announcements and presentation slides. This will create high quality, recognizable brand for the event. – Erin McCoy, Killer Infographics

10. Create An Attendee Experience

The focus of events is to create amazing guest experiences: Cool venues, awesome content, strong news value, etc. But creating exclusive access, unique moments and shareable content online is also essential. Invite or sponsor influencers with big social reach and equip them with great assets to share. Establish a dual-track planning process and teams to maximize both the offline and online experience. – Joan P. Hammel, Comcast

11. Begin Planning Early

As someone who runs a major annual conference, we start marketing our event at the previous one—a year out. Not all events need that long of a runway, but if you’re marketing to senior business professionals, their calendars often get booked up months in advance, and their “free” time could go to competitive options. It’s never too early to get an event on their calendar. – Erik Samdahl, Institute for Corporate Productivity i4cp

12. Create A Cheat Sheet

With complex plans going into the event itself, different teams tend to go in with their own messaging once at the event. This means that sometimes you get execs, employees and hired staff all saying completely different things. Create a simple five bullet “cheat sheet.” This way the main points will be easy to remember and will be consistent while allowing everyone to speak naturally to it. – Caroline Tien-Spalding, SymphonyAI

13. Have Constant Communication

Planning an event will be a major part of your work life, if not your whole world, so it’s easy to think everyone is just as sick of it. But you’ll be lucky if your prospects see your invite once, much less read the details. Send, resend and use your CRM to track actions, creating appropriate follow-ups based on that data. If invitees internalize it enough to get sick of it too, that’s a good problem. – Adam Giffi, Alexander Mann Solutions

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