So, you’ve set in your diary. You’ve organised your speakers, your catering, your entertainment and your venue. Your tickets have gone on sale, your hashtags are established, and your message is starting to be spread on social media… all that’s left to do is start garnering some real pre-event excitement, and get those re-tweets and ticket numbers going through the roof. Sounds difficult?
Thankfully, it’s not as hard as it seems, so long as you follow the right steps, and successfully tap into the tricks of the trade that can help create a real buzz around your event.
There’s no doubt about the fact that creating pre-event excitement is key to the success of your big day. Today’s event-going crowd are a discerning bunch, and they’ve got more options to choose from than ever before. As such, generating a real and lasting buzz around your event has the potential to turn it into a real winner, and gather the attention it rightly deserves.
At Mask, we’ve been in this industry long enough to see it evolve and transform considerably over the years. Whereas once upon a time, it was pretty difficult to get your message out there (remember when we all had to stick adverts in newspapers and industry magazines?), today, the internet and social media allows you to gain a reach hitherto unimaginable.
However, it isn’t as easy as just regularly tweeting your followers and hoping to go viral - there is plenty of work involved in building up that pre-event excitement, and plenty of techniques you can use to get your audience sharing your message and chatting enthusiastically with each other about what to expect. Check out our foolproof techniques below, and see what a difference they can make to your event’s pre-game efforts!
video content is king
Your prospective guests and attendees are a busy bunch, and probably come across plenty of events on social media every week. Your job is to grab them by the lapels, and make sure they pay plenty of attention to your upcoming event. If they’re already ticket holders, there’s no reason to rest on your laurels - you want them as excited about the event as you are, and you need to get them onside as cheerleaders for what you’ve got planned.
The key to doing this? Video content. Audiovisual content is snappy, impactful, and encourages direct engagement - exactly what you need to create that buzz and get your message spread.
Make sure your video content is constantly on-point, and ties together the themes and topics of your upcoming event. Organising a conference? Share videos of your speakers’ past presentations, edit together snippets of what your guests can expect, and create buzzy adverts for the entertainment organised. There is no end to the possibilities achievable through video content, so get your creative and media teams engaged, and see what you can do with your editing suite!
Share speaker highlights
You want your attendees to be really pumped about the speakers they’re going to see at your conference. Contact your keynote presenters, and ask them to donate a showreel or footage of their previous engagements.
Top Tip: Create a ‘recap’ video of a previous event
One great way to share video content is to create a slick ‘recap’ video of a previous event - especially if your event is an annual affair. Check out the video created from 2017’s Mind the Product expo in London, which really helps build excitement for the 2018 conference coming up later this year.
create a whispering campaign
Sometimes, a sense of mystery really helps build an atmosphere on anticipation. Lots of top UK events are gaining huge success with the use of ‘whispering campaigns’, which drop little clues via their email correspondence and twitter feeds, constantly creating a feeling of excitement and a buzz around an upcoming event.
These clues could be visual - tiny snippets of footage, ‘teaser’ trailers (which have become a huge part of Hollywood movie advertising in recent years), or even a repeating motif or picture - or they could be more subtle, such as building a sense of suspense using beguiling posters or flyers in specific locations.
Taking Cues from Unlikely Sources
The whispering campaign model takes it cues from an unlikely source: the illegal rave scene of the early 90’s. Back then, attendees could only learn about an event’s time, date, and location by following a trail of clues, or meeting anonymous contacts who’d supply them with the details.
This same model works brilliantly in the events industry. You could also try signing off automated emails with thematic clues, such as a mysterious signature or a symbol, to help build excitement and anticipation.
Down the Rabbit Hole with the Great Little Events Company
When The Great Little Events Company were called upon to organise an Alice in Wonderland-themed event for Dentsu Aegis, they used a whispering campaign with amazing success and panache. Signing off emails with ‘we’re all mad here’, having images of white rabbits flash across company screens, and using ‘drink me’ bottles as event invitations all really created an amazing buzz around this themed event. What a great idea!
The Right Content, in the Right Place
There’s no point putting your efforts into building up buzz and excitement around your event if your target audience aren’t going to come across any of your promotional material. Careful thought needs to go into the placement of your content - it needs to posted in places your ideal attendees will come across it, and in a way that will garner the best response.
Consider what your audience enjoys
Have a long, hard think about who your audience are, and where you can find them in order to get the best response. Is your event based around arty, young, millennials? If so, consider placing your promotional material at a hot new art exhibition, a best-selling concert, or at the opening of a new trendy bar.
Targeting mothers? Find out where they’ll be with their little ones (storytelling sessions, new family openings etc) and make sure they hear about your event!
visual appeal and social media
As we all know, social media has completely transformed the way we promote events and hear the latest industry news. If you aren’t making full use of a range of social media accounts, you’re seriously restricting your reach.
The popular photo-sharing app is custom-made for creating buzz around events. Make sure you’re posting thematic photos on a daily basis, and using hashtags as a way of getting your message further and to the right audiences. You can also post photos of happy attendees from previous events, to give prospective ticket-buyers an idea of what to expect.
Before you even think about using social media sites like Twitter, make sure you have a snappy, memorable hashtag to use in all of your promotional material. Twitter is used best when regularly updated with news, photos, video content and short, concise rundowns of what’s going to happen. Make sure you’re tagging your posts correctly, and responding quickly to comments and re-tweets.
Snapchat is a relative newcomer to the social media scene, and is a great way of spreading audiovisual snippets and teasers to your followers. Snapchat is particularly good for whisper campaigns and building a real sense of privilege among your attendees.
develop original research
Why rely on over-shared, tired, unoriginal research for your buzz-making content, when you could be coming up with your own surveys, graphs, and infographics that have real viral potential?
Your followers and prospective guests will love anything new and relevant to your industry, and original research yields exciting, buzzy material which can be easily shared and used to your advantage.
GET ON TOP OF TRENDS
Look into the latest trends and changes which are connected to your upcoming event. If you’re able to create a snappy, visually arresting infographic regarding these trends, then get right on it - your guests will love your insight, and will value your efforts and reward your work with shares and likes.
Your industry - just like any other - is constantly changing and evolving. Show your audience that you’re well on top of all the latest innovations, and demonstrate your commitment to the latest frontiers of your industry by compiling the facts and figures, and using them to your advantage of social media.
The Open Data Science conference 2018 has shown how, by creating original research, they’re able to fill their social media channels with fascinating content that really builds a sense of anticipation for their big day, and helps give attendees a clear picture of what to expect.
Creating Pre-Event Excitement Can Make or Break Your Event
There’s no question about the effectiveness of creating a buzz around your event well in advance of its established date; time and time again, we’ve seen just how much of a difference the techniques discussed above can have. Whether you’re being creative with infographics and whisper campaigns, piecing together highlights reels, or sharing photos on Twitter, every little helps when it comes to building that sense of anticipation.
At Mask, we believe in helping our clients build buzz and excitement that really pays off in the long run. Over the years, we’ve established ourselves as industry leaders in this regard, and we’d be more than happy to share further tricks and techniques with you. Get in touch today, and find out why we’re considered the best in the business!