Net2Van – How to throw a great event

27 02 2014

I was pretty blown away by Kei / @BoldLove –  I’ve seen a lot of speakers over the last few years, but she really threw it down.  Swearing, hooting and hollering… but it wasn’t all party.  There was a (queue Kei) shitload of great information she laid out that helped people get up to speed.

Again, this event reconfirmed my volunteerism with NetSquared Vancouver – I get so much more than I give.

I typed as quick as I could with my mini bluetooth keyboard as Kei gave us the 411.  I have 3 significant events for my non-profit this year… and am just a bit terrified.  I am the guy that forgets that people like to have dessert when I invite them for dinner.  So for me, this was invaluable, and I’ll be living off what I documented for the year (and hopefully still be employed next year).

Here are my notes, straight outta evernote.  I blame typos and any lack of meaning on Kei’s rapid fire pace (not at all my inability to type or comprehend). 😉

(and if my notes suck, I curated other people’s impressions –

 Let’s Party – How to create buzz worthy events
  • How to get sponsors and partners
  • How to get influence and VIPS
  • Get Media attention
  • Get your guest talking before during and after
  • 20 tips to event planning
Pro-Tip – Start Early
  • SMART Goals & Objectives – to align expectations with reality
  • You can’t have champaign on a beer budget – Budget needs to align to audience
    • How much event will cost
    • Size
    • Location
    • Date / Time
    • Bar – open vs close
    • Insurance? Permits and Licenses?
    • Need permit for outdoor event
    • Staging, equipment & decor
    • Staff? Security? Volunteers? MC?
    • Party Favours / Swag
    • Marketing?
    • What can you get inkind, what items require cash on hand –
    • Budget Template –
  • Internal / Out-of-pocket
  • Grants *** Civic Theaters have Grant program for non-profits
  • Ticket Sales – sell the experience
Make it Fun!
  • Life size boxing robots
  • Make own LED pins
  • What sort of experience you want to give guests.  What story do you want them to tell their friends & colleagues?
    • Venue
    • Competing Events
    • Dress Code
    • Accessibility
    • Cultural considerations
Contagious – Johan Berger – 6 principles of contagiousness
  1. Social Currency – people care how they are perceived by others.  Does it make guest feel special
  2. Triggers – tie something to the event.  Example was matchboxes, cavalia
  3. Emotion – sharing is caring.  Give them a reason to have an emotion – excitement, anticipation. Example was free tattoos with Sailor Jerry event
  4. Public – how visible is event to general public. More attending, more want to.  Visible behavioural residue.
  5. Practical Value – what problem is it solving.  Informing? Connecting? Inspiring?
  6. Stories – pretty bow that ties it all together.  Example – hand etched steins at Stella Event
No one cares about your event but you.  You have to make them care.
Marketing Mix – It’s called a “mix” because it has to be a combination of PR, Advertising, Inbound, Social Media; you cannot rely on just doing one and expect success.
  • PR / Publicity – what are you training your spokes people to share
  • Visually – how are you sharing
  • Advertising – do you have a budget
  • Inbound strategy.  What are you writing / sharing?
  • Social Media
    • Key to pre-marketing – build before you sell
    • Make your guest feel like insiders
    • Share your PR success
    • Social Proof – can see who is attending on Meetup, facebook events
    • Create native content. Example: The content of your posts must take into account the context of the platform within which you are posting them: Why do people go to that social platform? How do people consume information in that platform? What do they like to do in that platform?
    • “No sale without the story; no knockout without the setup. ” Gary Vaynerchuck
  • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
  • They are expressing their values when going to your event.
Sponsors and Partners
  • Start with Why > How > What
  • create a Win-Win proposal
    • Why is it a good fit?
    • How will they be perceived?
    • What’s in it for them?
      • Do your research
      • Set up a meeting
      • 5 touchpoints before they get a yes
      • Then at least 7 back and forths before the signature
      • Listen more – ask them questions. How can we add value to them?
What can you leverage when approaching sponsorship
  • Brand building
    • logo recognition
    • advertising
    • social media exposure
  • Business Building
    • Employee Engagement. Example: free block of tickets
    • Onsite activation
    • Exclusive Access
  • Sponsorship Deck:
    • Visual + Understand the sponsor
    • Who you are: Values, achievement, metrics
    • Press and Testimonials
    • Target Demographic
    •  Benefits
    • The Ask – this is where your budget comes in handy
      • Maybe there are some inkind things
    • Write a report to sponsors – tell them how event went – your integrity is on the line
    • Thank them and be creative
Influencers & VIPS (including media)
  • Invite them personally
  • Perks and Benefits before & after the event
    • Send sample product, and more to come if they show up
  • Cultivate a relationship
  • Think story angles – pitch to their beat / speciality
  • Attention-grabbing headline
  • Deadlines – don’t bother when under deadlne
  • Media train your spokesperson
  • Secure coverage before, during and after your event.
  • Lead Time – how much further in advance to you need to get in a particular issue.  Example to be in August, you need to pitch 3 months in advance.
  • Press Kits and one-sheets (so they get names and basic story)
  • Give them best vantage point for best angles for photos
  • Interview space
  • DOn’t be serious in interviews – show you are having fun
  • Program for evening
  • Have an official photographer / videographer
Be prepared for everything – Shit happens
  • Contingency Plan
  • Communicate openly if problem
  • Be the source of information
  • Provide solutions
  • Roll with the punches
  • Mitigate.  Respond, don’t react.
Bonus Tips
  1. Be kind.  Front of house staff to be kind (cough Pat)
  2. Create points of visual interest
  3. Embrace serendipity
  4. Build your tribe – help the tribe to connect to themselves
  5. Don’t wing it
  6. Be impeccable with your word
  7. Treat. Yo. Self.
  8. Pay people fairly.
  9. DO your reserach
  10. To quote Kid President – treat everyone like it’s their birthday
  11. Create space for authenticity
  12. When you give, you get. Focus on delivering value
  13. Don’t lose track of your goal
  14. Plan with end in mind.
  15. Assign tasks & areas of responsibility
  16. Empower your team
  17. Practice grace under pressure
  18. Express gratitude
  19. Act with integrity
  20. Surprise your guests! They are buzz worthy.