Tips for Promoting An IRL Event

Everything has gone smoothly for your event so far: you’ve set the date, found the perfect speaker, and the venue is booked. But now how will you promote your event and ensure that it’s a success? How can you reach your target audience, and make sure you’re providing value to attendees, as well as providing the thought leadership and development opportunities they’re after? Here are some ways to promote an event online that can translate into IRL attendance.

Make sure the site for your event is easy to find, and tickets are easy to buy. Whether this means using your own website, or sourcing ticket sales to a third party, you’ll want to make sure links are available for people to easily click through and RSVP. Creating a Facebook page for your event is also an option, but a stand-alone website, especially if you’re promoting something like a conference or a recurring series, is best.

Submit your event to industry trade publications and local event calendars. It’s important to get the word out there about an event, especially if it has particular relevance to a specific field of work. You can also use paid media in these types of outlets, but sometimes journalists and other figures will want to cover the event if you offer free attendance.

Make sure your key stakeholders are sharing news about the event on social media. Of course, you’ll want your own branded social media to be promoting the event, but figures like speakers, panelists, or even the event’s board of directors may have their own audiences who can help spread awareness and activate the audience.

Of course, the easiest way to get stakeholders excited about the event is by making sure they have assets to share — like graphics, images, etc. — that look polished and professional. Keeping the event website up-to-date, contemporary, and interactive is a huge plus for visitors. The website should include a concise description of the event, as well as speaker photos and bios, and an itinerary. When people are proud of their contribution, they’re more likely to share, and that energy can be infectious.

You can also lean on members of your organization, speakers, or other thought leaders to create pre-event content, like short videos and blog posts. In these, you can highlight what some of the reasons for attending the event might be, and also make a case for why your organization and your speakers are the ones they need to see. You don’t have to necessarily be directly promoting the event the whole time, having an informative or entertaining post will hint to your audience that you are experts in the field and worth spending time and money on.

Creating a hashtag can be helpful in creating a sense of community around the event on social. You can use this hashtag after to aggregate content about the event, and turn that into more marketing material for the website or for social media.

Overall, beginning to implement these steps a few months in advance will make the event much easier on the day of, and will ensure that you’re creating a space that people will want to return to for future functions.

Daniel Meek