Increasing the Lifespan of an Event
It’s easy to keep folks interested in your festival when you are weeks away – or in the middle of it.
Outside of those days, it can be difficult to keep the event in the minds of your fans. It is imperative you hold your audience’s attention until next year.
Keeping your audience engaged year round ensures they don’t feel “sold to” when the time for issuing tickets comes around.
It also creates opportunities to reach out to new audiences. Below are a few ways to achieve this.
Staged release of media from the last event
Video content is cheap and easy to gather. You can generate large quantities of top-notch video material using everyone from guest bloggers covering your event to a paid video crew.
This video promotion can then be drip-fed to festival fans during the year. This reminds them of the great time they had at your event, and presents them with highlight things they may have missed. It also points them towards other information such as the release dates for early bird tickets.
Use video to generate revenue post-event. If you are inviting celebrity speakers to your conference or symposium, record their talks or presentations. Put this content behind a paywall and earn revenue from people who didn’t attend the event and want access to talks, panel discussions and workshops.
This is a useful platform for creating a story of your event from social media, your website and blog. This story is then easy to publish. Storify is used to great effect by Life Is Beautiful, held in Las Vegas every year.
Storify is designed to help you aggregate social media content from everywhere, made by anyone, and funnel it down one feed that your audience can watch as it is happening, or recap after the event.
It is also an excellent platform for keeping your audience engaged with what your acts are doing during the festival’s down days.
Social media has made it easy and almost free to stay in touch with attendees. Do this in 3 stages:
Post-Event News and Stories – Right Away
Straight after the event keep social media chattering with news and stories from the festival. It will still be fresh in peoples mind and this one activity has a feeling of keeping the event alive in people’s heads for longer. Keep the party going!
The Festival of Curiosity held in Dublin each year does this to great effect. It asks people to tag themselves and friends in photos, as well as sending out quirky and interesting photos from their event.
This is also a good time to get feedback from attendees and answer any questions people may have, send thank-you tweets and share video and photos.
Scale Back, But Keep Going
During the year, social media content can scale back but still be on a regular schedule. It’s important that your event remains in social media feeds but a balance is necessary. Too much information might be annoying. Too little makes your event look less relevant compared to competitors who may be getting it just right.
Newsletters and Blog Posts
Email newsletters have been around forever and for a good reason. Email is still an important source of information and promotional material for people.
According to research by MailChimp published this March, emails about “events and entertainment” have a 21% click through rate – pretty damn good.
Landing in someone’s email inbox is a good start to remind them that your event is coming up. You could also use it to fill them in on everything that just happened at your last event, and give them periodical updates throughout the year.
Early bird tickets
Nowadays it is assumed that ticketed events will have an early bird release at a discounted rate. This also doubles as a handy way for you to reach out to attendees and wow them with news of the upcoming event.
Early bird tickets can spur your marketing/PR plan into action, by offering tickets as prizes, making announcements of speakers or acts, or introducing whole new aspects of the event.
With so much competition, events can no longer afford to be “hit and run”. It is expected that any event worth its salt will stay in touch and add value to its fans. However, if people feel they are being sold to, it will strike the wrong cord. It takes practice, but consistently presenting your event to people over time will earn you more committed fans.