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.

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.

How To Deal With Negative Team Members

I work on several teams.  Teams at church.  Teams at work.  Teams as a contractor.

It’s important these teams have a single minded goal and are working to head in the right direction.

Every once in a while, you’re going to have a negative team member.  These team members can have a bad affect on the goal and objective of the team.  If that issue is not handled soon, it will have a long term affect on other members of the team.

I watched this recently on a team I was a part of.  The person was always negative in outside conversations we would have as well as various team meetings.  It started to wear on me personally.

I believe negative team members need to be dealt with swiftly.  The more their voice is heard, their attitude starts permeating through the team.  Talk with the team member first to analysis their negative attitude.  Maybe something is going on at home that is coming to work.

I believe negative team members need to be separated from the rest of the team.  Until their attitude improves, let them work on their own projects without interaction with the team.  Hopefully this will keep that attitude separated from the rest of the team, and even more will help the negative attitude correct itself.

I also believe the other team members need to work to correct the negative team member.  I got so tired of hearing from the negative team member that I started encouraging her to find a better situation.

It’s amazing what happens when the negative team member is removed from the team.  Our team is no cooking with gas (as we say in Arkansas.)  Without that spirit hanging over us in my opinion, there is no telling what we can do.  To be honest everyone else’s attitude is amazing as well.

While it might be difficult to deal with the negatively, you owe it to your other team members to deal with it.

“All Is Lost” and Your Events

Have you watched a movie, read a book or listened to a song that stuck with you for a while?  That happened to me recently.

I watched a movie called “All Is Lost” that has really affected me.  The movie features one actor, Robert Redford and tells the story of his journey on a ship sailing across the Indian Ocean.

Redford’s character is simply named “Our Man.” Watching this movie made me think of about 3 things about how we live life:

  1. We’re not made to go through life alone. The whole movie features Our Man in the middle of the ocean by himself.  I would go nuts not having someone to talk too.  Matter of fact while watching this movie alone, I talked to the screen.  Life is meant to live with friends and family.
  2. We need the right tools to live life. I don’t want to give the movie away (until we get to the next point), but all the way through it, Our Man keeps looking at his compass. He needs that to make it home, or at least try to make it home. At one point he fires off a couple of flares. Without these tools, he’s lost in the middle of the ocean.
  3. SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this if you’re going to see the movie.  Sometimes a helping hand comes when you least expect it.  Our Man gets that hand when he finally gives up.  Every once in a while, God sends that person along to help us right when we need it.

I would imagine when the producers set out to make this movie, they didn’t think I would have these takeaways.  The same applies for your events.  Participants will surprise you with what sticks with them after your event.

As we wrap up this blog, I would encourage you to look for takeaways and inspiration from any piece of art.  These might be inspirations that even surprise you!

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?

Pinterest For Events

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who was telling me she is using Pinterest to drive traffic to her blog. I asked her what the percentage was, and she said 45% was coming from that social media platform. That’s by far the biggest source of traffic for her blog.

Adding Pinterest to your social media toolkit is something you should consider, especially if your event is geared towards to women. Statistics show Pinterest has 80% women. Probably the 20% of us men just want to know what’s going on in there.

With all things social media, I believe you have to have a strategy for adding that platform.  Don’t just do something to be doing it. Have a strategy for content and implementation.

Let’s look at the different kind of content you could pin to your boards:

  1. Quotes from speakers.  Your event has wrapped, and you heard some great quotes from your speakers. Find an image at a place like Big Stock Photo that ties to the subject matter of the quote, add that quote to the image and pin to your board.
  2. Quotes that apply to your event.  If your event is on leadership, pin some great leadership quotes to your board.
  3. Re-pin content from speakers. This is a big one, and a great way to promote the speakers at your event. Add some fun to this by teasing speakers at your next event.
  4. Pin area attractions. Pretty self explanatory, but a great way to let your attendees have an idea of what to do in their free time.
  5. Pin resources.  This might be my favorite one. Share resources by pinning them to a resource board. This is also a great way to generate some affiliate income.

Don’t forgot to promote that your event is on Pinterest. That can be as easy as Tweeting or posting to your Facebook Page about your board. Another idea is using apps to add Pinterest to your Facebook Page. However you do it, an awareness campaign is a must.

Lessons From The Consumer Electronics Show

One of my favorite events every year, is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  When I read news stories about CES, I tell my wife the same thing: I really wanna go to that.

At this years CES, director Michael Bay, famous for Bad Boys, Transformers and more shoot’em up movies, was the featured speaker at a Samsung presentation. In what has become a viral sensation, Bay got confused because the TelePrompTer wasn’t working and walked off the stage. Watch it here.

Now in fairness to Bay, he’s use to being the one behind the camera and not in front of it.  However, you would think a guy who has done numerous interviews would be prepared to wing a presentation about electronics.

Preparing for these types of technical issues for potentially happening at your event is a must.  Here’s three ways to handle a situation should it happen at your event.

First, own it. Had Bay merely said “I can’t do this” instead of just walking off the stage, people would have forgiven him.  Again he’s not use to being the one doing all the talking.

Secondly, if you’re on stage and the talent walks off, explain to the audience what happened.  In the video, we hear Bay say “the type is off.”  Once he leaves, the other gentleman carries on.  He could have easily (and might have, we’re only working from a YouTube clip) explained the situation was a teleprompter.

People in this day and age are forgiving.  Be transparent, and explain the situation.

Thirdly, make sure your talent is prepared for any technical issues. Someone should have given Bay cue cards to put in his pocket for instances just like this.  Better yet if you have the right host up there, that person should have a sheet of dialogue they can help cue the talent for what to say next.

This is definitely one of those cases where you prepare for the worst hoping for the best.  There is nothing wrong with that, and beside just talent on stage, you should do that for all aspects of your event.

4 Resources For Event Planners

Another week, some more great resources for event planners.  Let’s take a look at this weeks articles.

Facebook made some recent changes to how status updates from your events Page are seen by people who have followed the page.  Greater emphasis is being placed on what Facebook is calling link-share posts.  What that means is when you make a status update, add the link an image should appear that is clickable and now delete the link.  The image and other verbiage stays and remains clickable for your followers.  Read more on Facebook’s blog here.

While we’re on the subject of social media, how do you handle a social media crisis that happens around your event?  This article from Social Media Examiner outlines 7 ways to respond to such a crisis.  I like point number 2: Take Charge.  Only you can tell what’s exactly happening at your event.  Do it!  Don’t wait for anyone else to take charge.  I highly recommend you subscribe to Social Media Examiner’s blog.  I always find their posts to be of the highest quality.

I’m a sucker for a good awards show.  I like the Grammy’s, Oscars and Golden Globes.  A recent post on Associations Now gave us some “Lessons In Event Planning From Hollywood.”  The author gives five thoughts that would have made the recent Golden Globes better and how event planners can learn from the show.  Check it out here.

I’m always looking for ways to help educate me on various aspects of social media and other areas of interest.  Cvent recently posted an article titled “15 Blogs To Help You With Marketing and Events.”  There are some fantastic resources that I’m looking forward to adding to my daily reading.

Well that brings us to the end of this weeks update.  I hope you enjoy some of these great resources.

Caravans and Mini-Retreats

I’m a big sports fan.  The Atlanta Braves are my baseball team, and the Tennessee Titans are my football team.  Both of these teams do something really cool during the off season, and it’s called a Caravan.  The great thing about these caravans is they create excitement for the upcoming season.

These caravans also feature players and coaches.  That’s what gets the fans out; the chance to meet their favorite player or coach and get an autograph.

A caravan could be a great way for you to promote your event.

I know of one event for children’s pastors that tours into markets that their event is not in.  I love this idea!

This caravan or mini-event, features a speaker that could be on their platform or just someone local they feel represents their brand and a musical artist.

Could your event pull off something similar?

Imagine hitting a marketplace and rallying it for your event.  The publicity in that market could be priceless.

I would also setup a hashtag and get a social media plan in place to promote your caravan.  How did I hear the Braves Caravan was recently in my area?  Facebook.  It was fun for me to follow along as they made all their stops and signed autographs.

This might be a daunting task to add to your big event planning because your essentially planning mini-events in different marketplaces.

Think of this as part of your marketing plan.  Look for a free venue that would be interested in hosting your event, and work with local radio to help spread the word.

And don’t forget the power of social media.  Look for bloggers that could be a part of the mini event.  Some of those might even make great speakers.

The mini event can create excitement and momentum for your big event.  Give it some thought to see if it make sense for your event.

2 Ways To Add Revenue To Your Events Bottom Line

Your event is probably like anything right now.  You’re trying to max out every opportunity you can find adding revenue to your bottom line.

I’m in the middle of two big projects.  As part of that, I’m looking for help to spread the word on these two pieces.  In addition, I’m also looking to create additional revenue from products that I recommend that tie to my bigger product.

How I am looking to spread the word on my projects?  Well first I’m signing up affiliates.

Let’s say your event is a conference for writers. Research people who blog about writing by doing a simple Google search, and then work with them to promote your event to their community. You could ask the blogger for promotion help, you could give the readers of the blog a 10% discount to your event or some similar promotion.

I’m looking to pay my affiliates 25% of the cost of my product, and you can negotiate something similar with your affiliates.  In my book, this is “found money”, and what I mean by that is odds are these people may not be familiar with your event till reading about it on the blog.  Hence they “found” you.

I’ll setup a page in the backend of my website that will be an affiliate center for great resources for affiliates to use.  This will include banner ads, sample tweets and more.

The second thing I am looking to sign up is affiliate partners. I consider an affiliate partner a company with a product that aligns with your event and that you would want attendees to use.

Back to our writers event example. Maybe a desk is a product you would recommend to your community. Research a desk company, contact them telling them about your event and negotiate being an affiliate partner for their product.  You would then be paid a commission by the company adding revenue to your bottom line.

There are probably several items you can think of that your attendees would love to get their hands on. You can get as get creative on this one as you want as long as it aligns with your event.

Amazon is an easy way to setup an affiliate program.  They offer great tools for their affiliates, and signing up is easy.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to find ways to add revenue to your events bottom line.