Mentee to Mentor’ is a series of articles featuring budding digital marketers who’ve learnt the practical aspects of online marketing under my mentorship. As part of their internship experience, they came across exciting challenges that they had to solve. And they learnt some valuable lessons that they’re sharing with you here.
Fifth up in the series is Anny Daudry. Anny has been working with us behind the scenes of organising Language Professionals’ Networking Event. She’s also an organiser of Signal, a Festival by Language Professionals’ Networking.
She has seen the in and out of what it takes to organise events online, on a monthly basis. She compiled her experience on event planning in 9 steps which I’m proud to share with you here.
Over to Anny now:
Event planning might look easy and simple to the eyes of those who attend, but behind the scenes there’s quite a lot going on. Each step of the organisation requires effort, time and research, and you need to make sure that everything goes as planned, while bearing in mind that inconveniences can happen! Still, the final result is incredibly rewarding and worth it: bringing people together, seeing them having a great time and making memories together totally pays off the hard work you put in.
If you’re a newbie and never organised an event before, this blog is for you! I delved into the world of event planning and event marketing a couple months ago, when I started my internship. I’ve learnt so much along the way and I keep learning, day after day. So here I am to share with you some tips and tricks that helped me and that hopefully you will find useful.
These are 9 steps to help you organise an event starting from point zero:
#1 Think about your WHY
Before starting with the proper planning, you want to make sure to know your why, or in other words your purpose. Why are you having this event? Perhaps to celebrate a special occasion? Are you planning to launch a new service/product? Once you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve in mind, you are ready to dive into the other tasks.
#2 Identify your target audience
Who do you want to reach? Potential clients? People who work in the language industry? And which specific profession? It’s important to set this from the beginning because much – if not all – of what comes next depends on the targeted group of people you want to focus on. You’ll use specific channels to connect with them, develop marketing activities that attract them and put out there a message that resonates with them.
#3 May the planning begin!
Here comes the moment in which you’ll start to actually plan your event. It’s time to decide on a date, pick the right venue (if it’s in-person) or platform (if it’s online), the format and set a budget. This step requires a lot of research and it can be quite lengthy, but pinning down these key details is fundamental before moving to the next step.
#4 Reach out to speakers, hosts and sponsors
Once the plan is shaping up, you need to get into action and start to approach your guests. Reach out to them, introduce yourself and what you do, and schedule a call/meeting to discuss all details together. And let’s not forget about the sponsors! If your budget is tight and need support, you can secure a couple sponsors to help you cover part of your costs.
Does the idea of contacting someone scare you? No worries: worst case scenario they’ll say no, or you simply won’t receive an answer. I was a bit hesitant at the beginning as well, but I can tell you there’s plenty of people out there and chances are they might be interested in what you’re doing and/or willing to help you… so just give it a shot! ;)
#5 Let’s create the event
At this stage you’ll select the platform which is most suitable to create your event and then add all the details. In addition, you’ll create the tickets and just a tip: you might want to consider making a distinction between early bird and general admission. If instead you’re planning to have free admission, I suggest having attendees register anyway. By doing so, it’ll be easier to estimate the number of people who will join and you’ll be able to keep in touch with them.
It’s important to carve out a time in the day when you can fully focus on this step and make sure you write all the details correctly. Based on what they read, people will decide whether or not to participate. Therefore, it’s better to avoid mistakes.
#6 Promote, promote… and keep on promoting
Teaser videos, flyers, social media posts where you reveal your guest speakers and hosts, giveaways in collaboration with sponsors, emails to announce offers and send reminders… There are countless promotional opportunities to create a buzz. And depending on your target audience, you’ll decide whether it’s best to focus on online or offline promotion or a mix of the two.
#7 The countdown is over: it’s event day!
When the day comes, remember to enjoy it! Take a moment to look at it through the eyes of an outsider and leave all concerns aside. It’s so easy to get caught up in the organisation and making sure that everything runs smoothly, but please don’t forget to enjoy the result of your efforts.
#8 Post event activities
This step is really important, yet many forget about it. Event planning doesn’t end with the event itself! After your event, you should reach out to your attendees and guests to thank them for joining, and write to your sponsors to show your gratitude for their support. A simple “thank you” message doesn’t require much effort, it’s polite and a great way to build a relationship. Moreover, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask for feedback.
#9 Measure your success
At the end of it all, write down the number of attendees, the quantity of tickets sold and distinguish them by type, the profit, the average engagement rate on social media… All these key metrics will help you improve the organisation of your next event and make it even better.
So, as you may have concluded from all these steps, bringing an event to life is far from easy and it can be stressful too. But it is okay. Of course you’re going to worry, if the responsibility of making sure that everything runs smoothly and everyone is having a great time is on you! However, being able to create meaningful experiences for the attendees and seeing them enjoying themselves makes it all worth it. I like to think about it as a puzzle: putting together all the little pieces can be challenging at first, but when it all starts coming into place and you get to see the final picture, the sense of joy and fulfillment erases all the struggles.
If you’re ready to step in the game and put these practical steps into practice, you should consider organising and hosting your own networking event. That is exactly how I got into the world of event planning and learnt everything I shared above. My colleague Ludovica wrote a really helpful and insightful piece about the benefits of both attending and organising networking events. You might want to check it out.
P.S. Just a friendly reminder that you don’t have to follow all these steps word for word. These are just some pointers to get started and have an initial approach to the world of event planning, but there’s still a lot to learn and explore. There’s no such thing as a general approach to event planning. Everyone has different goals and needs. So, what I suggest is: have a look, take up what you find useful and find a routine that works for you :)
About the author:
Anny is an Italian student and she’s currently completing her bachelor degree in Languages and Communication for Business and Tourism. As a digital marketing intern at Language Professionals’ Networking Event, she’s been learning the practical aspects of digital marketing and event planning.
Anny’s passionate about languages and would like them to be part of her future work experience. When she isn’t reading or (binge)watching TV series/films, you can find her outside walking with her dogs and trying to capture the beauty of nature through photographs.
Reach out to her via LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/annydaudry