event communication plan

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Posted on 12/23/2022

How to Create an Engaging Event Communication Plan to Keep Attendees in The Loop

67% of event managers find keeping their audience engaged in virtual meetings challenging. Whether you are planning a virtual or in-person event, a clear line of communication between your team, partners, and audience can make all the difference in making your event a success. 

It all starts with creating an event communication plan that keeps everyone in the loop. 

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What is an Event Communication Plan?

An event communication plan is a breakdown of your messaging strategy for promoting an event and guaranteeing it’s a success. More than this, it also covers all your internal communications, ensuring everyone is kept in the loop, and the event runs as smoothly as possible. 

Your strategy and the means you utilize can take different forms. For example, for liaising between different teams and the partners you are working with, it may be better to call directly using business phone systems. Alternatively, an email could be more appropriate for making initial contact with your audience.  

A good event communication plan will detail your messaging strategy and should achieve these three things:

  • It will create excitement and buzz around the event.
  • It’ll engage the audience before, during, and after the event.
  • It will ease the planning of the event and keep all those involved on the same page. 

Typically, most event communication plans achieve the first two quite easily. However, many often miss the third. 

You can achieve all three of the goals listed above by creating an event communication plan that ticks the following boxes. 

Account for All Attendees

Regardless of your best efforts, whether your audience relates to your content will have a significant influence on their engagement.

Knowing who you’re speaking to gives you an insight into how to approach the audience. In turn, this will increase your audience’s engagement. By understanding your audience better, you can connect with them more effectively. 

Each event has a specific demography it targets. Your event could be targeting top corporate executives, young professionals, or students. Therefore, the communication mode and systems you use will need to be considered according to each audience group. 

Fortunately, it’s easy to analyze and understand an audience; you just need to look at past similar events and the audience they targeted. Build on this by examining the audience’s reactions before, during, and after this past event. That’ll give you insights into what to improve in your future event scheduling and communication plan.

Flexibility and Out-of-the-box Ideas

Whether you intend for the event to happen online or offline, your plan must be flexible enough to accommodate sudden changes. You won’t always get the luxury of everything going the way you planned it, and contingency plans are a must. You can consider using technologies, such as softphones, amongst your team to allow them to stay connected on the go. 

Additionally, your plan must accommodate out-of-the-box ideas. It’s not uncommon that some attendees may have participated in a similar event therefore, it’s important to be original. Hence, including creative ideas in your communication plan is an effective way to engage your audience. 

For example, a part of your event might be launching a new software or application. You can make your event feel more exclusive by letting your audience be the first audience. Just be sure to be aware of methods such as this Ad hoc testing definition, so you can prevent any bugs and ensure everything works perfectly. 

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A Step-by-Step Map of the Journey

Your communications plan should be a detailed outline of how you intend to go through your correspondence with all parties involved. It should show how you’ll reach, interact, and follow up with the audience.

Additionally, the plan should include how you’ll publicize the event and the best communication channels to use. For example, you may consider webinar marketing or direct correspondence.

You could also consider using a radio advertisement to generate interest in events. 

Finally, your communications plan should fit with your overarching brand content strategy. That way, you can avoid discrepancies when implementing them.

Phases of an Event Communication Plan

An engaging event communication plan will have provisions for the three main phases of an event — before, during, and after.

Pre-Event

The period between when you get the event idea and when the event starts are crucial to its success. You’ll predicate what will happen during and after the event on what you did during this phase. Hence, you must get it right.

The primary elements of your communication plans start at this stage. In fact, many of them are only effective at this stage. Hence, your communication plans here must account for the following. 

  • Names of the presenters, speakers, and the audience’s demography: This will enable you to inform all involved individuals and psych up the attendees.
  • Event timeline: An event timeline will give the audience and speakers an idea of when and where specific presentations are occurring within the event. Knowing what’s coming next helps to keep the audience expectant.
  • Communication methods: You also have to define your communication channels for the event. Fortunately, you have multiple options for that. You can use apps and digital frameworks to reach all the necessary parties before the event. You can also use an automated business phone system to correspond directly with prospective attendees, giving a personal touch.

Once you have the abovementioned factors, you can start implementing your pre-event communications strategy. Below are some ideas for that:

Create a Buzz

Before making a formal announcement, you should create hype around the event. Your aim is to get people excited about the event. An excellent way to do this is by sparking curiosity in your followers and audience.

You can use elements of social media marketing here. For example, you can give clues and teasers to get people talking on your social media platforms. Refrain from giving anything solid for a while; instead, offer tidbits to arouse the viewers’ interest. 

Then slowly amp up the effort until you create enough speculation to make the announcement a formality. If you apply this technique well, your audience will talk about the event long before you announce it.

Send Out Formal Invitations

Once you’ve made people aware of the event, the next thing is to send out formal invites. Let your audience know how grand the event will be and the value they’ll get from it. 

This is your first and probably best chance to communicate directly with the potential attendees. So, you should leave a good impression.

Formal invitations should follow your brand’s style guide. You should specify the event details in the invitation message. Taking a creative approach to capture people’s attention and make it memorable. 

Send Reminders and Teasers

Refrain from assuming potential attendees will always remember the event. They’ll probably forget the next day after they receive the invite. So, it’s up to you to keep reminding them. 

You should create a sequence of emails or messages that serve two primary purposes. First, they’ll provide relevant information about the event, and second, they’ll promote it. 

Once you have it, you can roll out the content to potential attendees at planned intervals. The promotional content will mainly contain teasers and relevant information to keep viewers informed about the upcoming program.

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During the Event

You’ll share a lot of information once the event commences. You’ll also be communicating with your team to ensure the audience gets the promised value. Hence, you must have a transparent communication system regarding the event’s timeline.

That means all team members should know their roles beforehand and what they should do at intervals. Particularly, you should pay attention to when specific announcements are being made and where. 

It’s a good idea to do the following during the event:

Send a Welcome Email

Send welcome emails to the attendees as they check in to the event. This welcome email should summarize what the attendees can expect from the event. 

It should also include relevant materials to boost audience engagement at your virtual event. 

For instance, the typical welcome email can include FAQs, reference articles, resource download links, and important contact information. 

Share Excerpts and Takeaways from Each Session

You should ensure the attendees don’t miss anything important throughout the event by sharing key takeaways from each session. 

Using specific hashtags, you can roll these out as part of your social media communications strategy. You can also display them on screens at the venue and use other means of communication to share them. 

Post Event

Your correspondence with the attendees should continue after the event. Your post-event communications plans can include any of the following:

Thank You Email

Be sure to thank everyone who was involved in the event appropriately. Don’t limit your thank you message to the audience; be sure to acknowledge the speakers and your team members for the event’s success. 

People often take note of such recognitions. Plus, it sets a basis for future correspondence.

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Survey of Attendants’ Experience

You should also try to get feedback from everyone involved to know their opinion of the event. That’ll help you determine what went well and note improvements you can make for future events.

Keep Your Audience in the Loop With an Engaging Communications Strategy

An engaging event communication plan covers before, during, and after the event. It will keep your audience right where you want them — in the loop. 

Finally, remember to prepare your communication strategies and test them well beforehand. This will reduce the chance of any surprises and, your audience and all those collaborating with you will thank you for it. 

This article was written and co-developed by Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her Linkedin

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