This article originally appeared on December 19th, 2017 in Forbes.
With an oversaturated event market, where almost any business with a budget for it organizes a high-profile launch or a flashy business gala, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make your own event stand out from the crowd.
However, the right mix of marketing and communications strategies — such as a plan for an effective distribution and a well-distilled message — can go a long way toward making your event an astounding success. With a proper communications plan in place, your business not only will be able to attract its target audience and desired speakers, but also deliver real value to attendees and make a lasting impression, ultimately resulting in a growing customer base and higher ROI.
Below, 12 expert communicators with Forbes Communications Council discuss what steps you need to take to make your communications strategy effective when organizing a high-level business event:
1. Do A Situational Analysis
In building a communications strategy, it is important to do a “situational analysis” first. Then create goals that are in context, as well as aligned to high-level objectives. Do not just jump into tactics. – Anthony Petrucci, HID Global
2. Plan For An Effective Distribution
The most finely crafted launch falters if it falls prey to a failure to prioritize and plan for an effective distribution process. Prepare and brief newsletter contacts, press, social influencers and bloggers well ahead of the launch. – Malia Powers, Heavybit
3. Develop A Powerful PR Plan
An important step in building a communication strategy for a launch or event is to develop a powerful PR plan that incorporates media briefs, campaigns, webinars, thought leadership content and leveraging influencers. – Lakshmi Randall, Denodo
4. Be Clear About What You’re Offering
Before you dive into the communications strategy for any launch or event, you first need clarity on your company positioning and POV. By answering the question of what problem your company is solving, and how it is solving it uniquely, the launch or event becomes a proof point for your POV. Your communications strategy should follow suit. Know the strategic objective of the launch or event and how it ties back up to your category. This will make your communications strategy clearer. – Jennifer Johnson, Tenable
5. Align Communication Objectives And Tactics
It’s critical to get to clarity and alignment on high-level communication objectives and tactics. This includes defining the audience that you are trying to reach; metrics, in terms of desired results with that audience; acceptable cost per metric; and agreement on how these metrics will be measured. Completing this foundation work up front gives guidance to the communications team and sets the right expectations. – Serge Vartanov, AutoGravity
6. Prepare Early On
Time and preparation are crucial. If you want success, you need to make sure you are set up for success. – Kat Krieger, Joyride Coffee
7. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Internal Training
When we plan for a big launch, we spend a lot of time on the products or services and how they ladder up to the overarching strategy, and rarely take the time to ensure that we speak with one voice as an organization. It takes a village to successfully deploy a communication strategy — in any size of organization. What we want is consistency, repetition and focus, which can only be achieved if we all sing the same song. – Hagar Spits, Philips
8. Distill Your Message To A Few Key Points
People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and there’s never been more competition for mind share. When you’re at a busy conference or launch event, it’s even worse. You’re not going to be able to say everything you want to say. So it’s critical that you distill the message down to a few key points, turn that into a structured communications plan, and get everyone internally aligned around the message before the event. – Brandon Ortiz, Salesforce.org
9. Understand Your Audience
An important step to building a communications strategy for a high-profile launch or event is understanding the audience persona. It is important to think critically about what your target audience stands to benefit or achieve. Once your hypothesis is developed, challenge it rigorously by soliciting marketplace feedback, in order to ensure you do not have any “blind spots.” – Andrew Moses, MorganFranklin Consulting
10. Play To People’s Emotions
One of the most important steps in building a communications strategy for a high-profile launch is to play to people’s emotions. People will feel connected to news or events, and will even be encouraged to take action when there is an emotional impact. – Chris Foerster, Fremont College
11. Work With Citizen Journalists
It is increasingly important to engage with citizen journalists — bloggers and influencers — in a blended earned and paid strategy that acknowledges their unique role in publishing, and how they build audiences that are a fit for your brand. – Hans Eisenbeis, CROPP Cooperative / Organic Valley
12. Add Real Value For Your Audience
The goal for any event’s communication strategy is to add real value for your audience — not to simply promote key speakers or sessions, but to inform and educate your audience, so they want to know more. The key isn’t what we want to tell them: It’s what they want to know. – Bill Sheridan, Maryland Association of CPAs
About MorganFranklin Consulting
MorganFranklin Consulting (www.morganfranklin.com) is a global management and technology consulting firm that works with leading businesses and government. The firm helps organizations solve their most pressing challenges and address critical finance, technology, and business objectives. MorganFranklin is headquartered in the Washington D.C. area with regional offices in Atlanta and San Francisco, and supports clients across the globe.
MorganFranklin Consulting is the brand name referring to the global organization of MorganFranklin, Inc. and its subsidiary MorganFranklin Consulting, LLC.