Leave Them Wanting More

I originally moved to Nashville wanting to play drums.  I had the opportunity to play in a few bands and make some great music that I’ve very proud to have created, and I’ve definitely reached a place were I’m content playing only at church now.

When we had a gig coming up, we always created set lists to work from, and creating these set lists was never easy.  But as we got to the end of each show, we wanted to go out with a bang every time, so we would always put one of our best and most fun songs at the end.  The goal was as our bass player would say, “Leave them wanting more.”

I know what you’re thinking, “how does this apply to events?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  You probably sit around, plan and dream what the beginning of your event is going to look like.  But do you put as much emphasis on the ending as you do the beginning?  Do you leave the attendees wanting more?

Take the time to create an incredible ending just like that beginning you worked so hard on.  And I’m not just talking about ending in prayer.

If your event is spiritual in nature, maybe you close with an even better worship set than the beginning.

If your event is teaching, maybe you save the best speaker till the end.

If your event includes breakout sessions, maybe you save the best breakout till the end.

You’re starting to get the picture, right?

I bet your team can get creative on how to end your event, and probably even better than some of the ideas I’ve mentioned above.

As your plan your event, be as intentional on creating a closing experience as you are an opening experience.

Remember: Leave them wanting more.

Online Media Resources

Some churches and organizations are blessed with a staff member designated to media, someone who can create videos, still backgrounds, motion backgrounds, countdowns and other graphics.  For those groups who might not have these people right down the hall to create media for their next service or event, there are a number of online resources specializing in these exact things.  Here are a few you can look at when preparing for your next event.

  1. Igniter Media – Igniter Media offers mini-movies, as well as stills and motions including countdowns, backgrounds, title graphics and multi-screen options.  You can subscribe as a monthly or yearly member to download great media options.
  2. Worship House Media – Worship House Media offers many of the same projects as Igniter Media.  Here you can download media a la carte from their website.
  3. Floodgate Productions – Floodgate Productions, like Igniter Media and Worship House Media, offers mini-movies and various motion options.  They offer a pay-per-video option or a yearly subscription service.  For smaller churches of 30 to 75 adults, they offer a discount in order to get videos/media into churches who might not be able to otherwise afford it.
  4. The Skit Guys – The Skit Guys offer their own comedic videos plus additional videos and motions at their website.
  5. Wing Clips – Wing Clips is an online resource offering movie clips you might need to help illustrate your theme or message.  You can search by movie title, Scripture, movie category or theme on their website.

One of the great things about each of these websites is you can preview videos before you buy them.  Doing this can often spark ideas for ways to incorporate your theme or message into other parts of your event, as well.

It is important to note there are licensing agreements you must adhere to with each different online company you use to download media.  These can be found on their websites, along with help sections to assist you in downloading your media content.

What online sources do you use to download media for your events?  Share them with us in the comments section below!

Social Media Content Calendar

I got a new trick I’ve started with my social media clients that I wanted to tell you about today.  It’s pretty simple: create a social media content calendar.

What is a social media content calendar, you ask?  Great question.

A social media content calendar is what I and my clients use to know what they’re posting that day to their various social media networks.  This helps you be prepared so that you don’t have to create a post on the fly that day.

This also helps you to tackle your social media content for the week all in one day.  One of the biggest complaints I hear from people is they don’t have time for social media.  I understand that completely.  This helps with the time factor because you already know what you’re going to post, to what network and when you’re going to post.

Let’s talk about how you create this social media content calendar.

The first thing you’re going to need is a template in Excel or Numbers.  I did a Google search for “calendar template” and downloaded that to get started.

Now that you have the calendar template setup in Excel or Numbers, open it up and find the month you want to work on.  I create shortcuts for each social media platform I’m working with.  For instance, “T” is for Twitter, “FB” is for Facebook, “IG” is for Instagram etc.  You get the picture.

Put down what you’re going to post that day to that platform in the grid.  It’s really that simple.  Once you do this for the full month, just start posting to that particular social media platform.

Let me give you one caveat: my social media content calendars are always fluid.  These are great guides.  However, if I need to insert something to that day, I just move that days post or cancel all together.

A social media content calendar has become standard in my social media toolkit.  Try it for a month, and see if it doesn’t help you manage all your social media platforms.

Finding Graphics for Your Event

Marketing material, event signage, name tags, and programs. All need to be designed and printed. If you’re directing a new event you’ll need a logo, and supporting graphics that will help pull all of these pieces together. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, look around for items close by that have been professionally designed. They don’t have a single logo, followed by blocks of text. Layers of colors, fonts, and multiple graphics make up the overall visual presentation.  So where can you find the graphics you need? Here are a few places I’d check as I begin the hunt for the right design pieces.

  • creativemarket.com An array of graphic designers have uploaded completed and unique graphics, you can browse and buy, after you create an account.
  • placeit.net This service allows you to take an image, and place it on a computer or mobile screen in a professional-looking photo. You can pay for a monthly subscription or  for one image at a time.
  • graphicburger.com Free graphics for your perusal and use. Here you’ll find everything from vector images, to icons, to business card and brochure designs. Again, it’s free!
  • creationswap.com Free and for-sale graphics around Christian themes. Lots of worship slide and sermon series options.

Still can’t find it? Hire a local designer. I pay about $50 an hour to a fantastic local designer. To make sure I stay in budget I always ask ahead of time for an estimate on project length, and notification before they exceed that estimation. That way I’m not surprised by the bill.

Before you start looking through these sites, make a quick list of what you need and a few specifics on their “look and feel.” It will help you narrow your searches, and keep you from spending hours looking at cool stuff, but accomplishing nothing! Happy hunting.

Working With Video Producers For Your Event

Video does a fantastic job of communicating and pulling your audience into a story.  Video also serves as a great way to break up a presentation or teaching time.

I’ve had the privilege to conceptualize, produce and edit several videos recently. As I’ve dug deeper into the video world, I’ve learned a bunch of lessons.

Here are three ideas that will help you communicate with your video producer and get your video faster:

  1. Clearly outline the concept and your ideas. Be sure you have given the producer the concept and your vision for the piece in writing. The last thing you want is to get the final piece, get on set or location, and not have a clear idea of what the final piece will look like. You also don’t want to miss a shot. That’s so vital in my book.  There have been a couple of times were I’ve gotten back to the editing bay, and realized I didn’t have a shot for one particular scene.  With no road-map, you might get to end missing that one critical piece.
  2. Clearly give feedback on initial edit. This step is very important. Once the producer has the completed the initial edit, give them solid feedback for any changes you would like. The last thing you want to do is to keep going back and forth with the producer making changes. Depending on your financial arrangement, this could get costly.  Make as many of the changes as you can on the first go around.
  3. Clearly state deadline for final piece delivery. As a video producer, I want to get your project completed as soon as possible, but more importantly, I want to be sure to make your deadline. And it’s probably not your events start date as there are other concerns that need to be prepped for. One client of mine needs video delivered to a Dropbox account 3 days before their event. Easy enough, and now that I know that, I work with that date in mind.

Now that you have this great video piece, you can also use it on YouTube, your website and social media platforms.

Have you used video in your events?  How has it worked for communicating a story to your audience?

Instagram: Creating a Visual Impression of Your Event

According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, Instagram has 75 million active users . . .  per day.  It’s a social media network that is booming, and continuing to grow.

Instagram is also a great spot to create a visual impression of your event and share it with the world.  We’ve talked in a previous post about streaming an Instagram feed at your event, (read that here) so I won’t go into detail about that aspect.

instagramToday we’re going to discuss creating a visual impression before and during your event on Instagram.

Take beautiful photos of your event location and preparation. Try getting down on the ground, or way up high, to give a unique/unusual perspective. Vary your photo posts, post a close-up of a unique architectural element of the event local, then a photo of a musician setting up, then a wide shot of an arresting landscape.  You get the idea. Make it interesting and unique.

Always accompany your post with your event hash tag. That way people will be able to follow and hopefully remember the hash tag to use with they post pictures of the event.

Repost photos from artists, speakers, or other event persona’s that are related to your upcoming or in-process event. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see a photo posted by your favorite artist on the tour bus, en-route to the event? You should be following the Instagram streams of people related to the event.

Make during event photos interesting and limited access.  Hopefully your event attendees will be Instagram-ing event photos once the event is underway, and you’ll be following the hash tag you set up and re-posting their best photos. Now you should focus on what most attendees don’t have access to- it will make your photos more interesting and desirable. Go backstage, see what’s happening earllllly in the morning while everyone is still asleep, or catch a late night jam session at midnight. Post those limited access photos for your followers!

Use these tips to create a visual impression of your next event on Instagram! Share your event hash tags with us so we can see what you do!

How To Create Your Own Social Media Promo Image in Photoshop

Sometimes, on Facebook and Pinterest you see an image with words imposed over it, that really catches your eye.  Today, I’m going to give you a quick tutorial on how to create these professional looking visuals that will steer people towards your site.

  1. Choose an image as your background. You want this to be interesting, not too busy, have “space” somewhere on it for the text you will be adding, and be representative of the topic. Save this image somewhere you will be able to find it.
  2. In Photoshop click File, then New.  Name it, and choose the canvas size.
  3. Now click File and select Place. Find the image you have saved and select it. Move it around on your blank canvas until it is exactly where you want it to be. Once you double click it will be set onto the canvas.
  4. Click the Shape Tool on the toolbar and select the rectangle tool. Draw the shape that will show behind your text. Now choose a color that complements your photo. In the Layers toolbar you can select opacity and slide it down until you like the effect. I like somewhere around 35%.
  5. Go to the text tool, draw the text box and add your text. Fiddle around with fonts until you love it. Be sure to include a minimum of words, remember, people will be scanning, not reading a paragraph.
  6. Save as, and then upload to your social media or website.

Here’s an example of an image that was used to draw people to a specific article on a company website.

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So what do you need to promote today? How might an image, inviting people to register or sign up to receive an information pack, be shared on Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media site? Enjoy experimenting.

How To Choose The Most Effect Promotional Items

The range of promotion materials you can have printed for your event is extensive.  But some event planners seem to fasten on to just one or two options and never venture away from them. Here’s a list of choices to get your creative juices flowing, it might be time to try something different.

  • Baseball cap
  • T Shirts
  • Polo Shirts
  • Lanyard
  • Coffee cups
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Golf balls
  • Bags
  • Magnets
  • Luggage tags
  • Stationary
  • Memory Stick
  • CD/DVD
  • Banner
  • Tent card
  • Key chain
  • Postcard
  • Memo pad
  • Sticker
  • Gift basket
  • Chocolate
  • Water bottles
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Umbrella
  • Calculator

So how do you decide what would be most effective? First, identify your end goal. What do you want to happen because of this piece of promo material? Do you want someone to advertise your event for you, or remember to go online and register? If you want someone to remember to register a memo pad with “Register online at www.greatevent.com” would be much more helpful than a T-Shirt with your event logo printed on it.
Where do you want your user to be when they interact with your information? Near a computer? In the kitchen? The answer to this question will help you choose your best specific promotional piece.

If you’re planning on giving out your promo material at a conference- think about the likely weather and activities. Will it be sunny and warm, is everyone golfing? Perhaps you could have your logo printed on a set of golf balls or water bottles.

If you have a very desirable or more expensive promo item, you could require an action from your visitors before giving them the piece. For example- filling out a survey or watching a one minute video and answering three questions to “earn” the item.  Remember, your goal is not just to come up with the “coolest” promo item, but to find one that is desirable, useful and moves people to accomplish the action you want them to take. Keep track of an item’s success, and build on what you learn after each event.

Providing Event Marketing Materials To Churches

A group of churches can be an excellent place to advertise for your next event. You might be providing them with advertising materials because you have an established relationship, based on their physical location, or for pre-registered guests to take back to their home church. Here are some materials I would recommend you prepare:

  1. A bulletin insert. This should be a printable file, preferably in pdf format. A half sheet (5.5’’ x 8.5’’) is the standard size. Make it well designed, colorful, and with all the basic information including how to register and who to contact with questions.
  2. A short summary with a photo.  Some churches send out weekly emails, or provide their bulletin digitally- this is where a two or three sentence explanation and invitation to your event is a good idea.  Be sure to include a relevant and interesting image.
  3. A poster. A high quality poster can be visually arresting and grab people’s attention while they are waiting on the elevator, walking down the stairs, or grabbing a cup of coffee. Again, great images, relevant dates, and how to register should be listed.

Design these well, and then make them easily accessible.  I recommend putting them somewhere on your event website so that people can open them as pdf’s and then print them immediately.  Another option is to ask people during registration if they would like advertising material for the event for their church or community, and then mail a package, or send an email to them with the necessary attachments.  People are more likely to attend an event if a friend or colleague invites them, so this advertising strategy encourages that invitation and gives tools to facilitate it.  What types of advertising materials have you created for individual churches?

Beyond the “Hello, My Name Is…”

We recently blogged about effectively designing name badges.  When done right, name badges can be a great tool for your event.  When done incorrectly, they can be a distraction and something attendees purposefully “forget” to wear.  Name badges are often considered a necessary evil, but they don’t have to be!

Here are a few ways you can utilize name badges for more than their intended purpose.

  1. Meal Tickets.  If the event is being held in a location requiring meal tickets for entry into the dining facility, consider using name badges to serve that purpose.  Talk with the event host to see if this is a possibility.  This is best utilized if the entire group is on the same meal schedule; however, there are ways to differentiate between guests with varying meal plans.  Consider a different color lanyard or name badge background for each meal plan.
  2. VIPs.  Do you have particular guests that might need “special attention?”  Perhaps these people can charge items on the conference tab, such as at the location’s coffee shop or office center.  Certain guests might need easy access to backstage areas or the green room.  Attach a badge ribbon or sticker to the name badge of these people in order to differentiate them from other attendees.
  3. Small Groups.  Will guests break out into pre-arranged small groups during the event?  Note the group an attendee will be in on the corner of the name badge.  This will take a little extra preparation time, but it is an easy way to quickly divide into groups.  (How many times have you tried to number off a group only to find half of the people forget their number by the end of the line?  This is a helpful way to solve that dilemma!)

Name badges serve a primary purpose:  they tell us your name.  With a little creativity, however, you can make use of these conference staples for additional purposes.  Keep these two things in mind if you want to go “beyond the name badge.”  First, too much information can distract from the name.  Choose one or two extras to add, if needed.  Second, and most importantly, the key in successful extra uses of a name badge is communication between your leadership and your event host location.  For example, don’t assume you can use name badges as meal tickets without talking with the host location.  (And, if you are the host location, make sure you communicate with the dining facility if the typical meal ticket required is done differently.)

Have you used name badges for something extra in an event?  If so, share those ideas with us in the comments section.