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Creating an Event Communication Plan

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks January 8, 2024
Table of Contents
5 min read

The main goal for any event is getting people there in the first place — so you probably have a pretty solid plan for promoting it to your members. (And, potentially, non-members!)

...but, that said, do you have a plan for communicating with your attendees? You ABSOLUTELY should. Whether you’ll be face-to-face, all online, or some combination of the two, keeping attendees informed and engaged is imperative to event success.

That’s why you’ll want to put together an event communication plan that takes into account what you should tell them about before, during, and after the event.

What is an Event Communication Plan?

An event communication plan is a strategic document that outlines how you will communicate with attendees and team members before, during, and after an event.

It's essential for ensuring that all of your event attendees have the information they need, and it helps to manage the overall flow of information across your organization when planning your event.

A robust event communication plan will include:

  1. Event Objectives and Goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve with when communication about your event. What do they need to know and when do they need to know it?
  2. Target Audience: Identify who you need to communicate with. This could include attendees, staff, vendors, sponsors, and media. Understanding your target audience is critical for all facets of event planning, not just communication.
  3. Communication Channels and Tools: Through what channels will you be speaking to your attendees? What tools will you be using for communication on each channel? These might include email, social media, event apps, websites, press releases, and signage.
  4. Communication Timeline: Create a calendar for your communications that maps out when information will be sent out and on which channel. This includes pre-event announcements, updates during the event, and post-event follow-ups. More on this later.
  5. Team Responsibilities: Assign team members specific communication tasks and responsibilities. This ensures that all aspects of the communication plan are executed effectively and at the right time.
  6. Event Crisis Communication Plan: Prepare for potential emergencies or unexpected situations at your event. These can include medical issues, criminal incidents, and natural disasters. Remember, failure to plan means planning to fail!
  7. Attendee Feedback: Communication got both ways. Establish systems to receive feedback from your audience. This can help in making real-time adjustments and also provide valuable insights for future events.
  8. Event Budget: Consider the cost of implementing your communication plan, including any tools or resources you may need. Ensure that these costs are factored into the overall event budget.
  9. Evaluation and Adjustments: After the event, evaluate the effectiveness of your communication plan. Gather feedback and analyze what worked well and what could be improved for future events.

Your event communication plan should be a living document, adapting to circumstances and feedback. Ensuring all stakeholders have the information they need and contributing to the overall success of the event.

Communication Before Your Event

This is your biggest opportunity to not only answer frequently asked questions (i.e. is there a hotel room block?), but also build some anticipation:

  • If they’ll be coming from out of town, give suggestions for places to explore and how they can make the most of their time in a new city. Also, you’ll want to provide timing and travel details well in advance.
  • Is it all virtual, or is there a virtual component? This is when you should communicate exactly how they’ll join virtually, and any technical testing or setup they should take care of in advance. Don’t be afraid to over communicate these important steps!
  • Encourage attendees to download your event app in advance so they can start to get familiar with it. (And, if your event is a conference or similar, build their personal itinerary.)
  • Look at your promotional emails: should you be including attendees on those, too? They’re already registered of course, but definitely consider it, if the messaging will give them more reason to be excited!

Communicating During Your Event

You likely won’t rely on email as much during the event, but you’ll want to have some communication strategies, particularly when it comes to on-site changes:

  • Again, encourage attendees to download your event app if only to get push notifications for last-minute changes or additions.
  • For virtual events, you’ll want to do a little “housekeeping” at the very beginning of the day to let attendees know how to use their in-session tools. Consider communicating this throughout the day, too, for attendees who may be jumping in and out.
  • If you’ll have a TV or screen (or virtual waiting room) where you can share a slide presentation, put one together that’ll loop with important information. (WIFI, where the restrooms are, contest promotions, etc.) This can easily be updated with changes and additions throughout the event, too.
  • Email comes in during the event if you want to send reminders in the morning (valuable for virtual events, in particular) or a recap in the evenings — or both!

Post Event Communication

Start putting your post-event communications together before the event even starts. That way you can make quick updates and send them out without having to put too much thought into it at that point. (You’ll be too tired to even THINK about writing anything!)

  • Of course, you’ll want to thank your attendees for spending their time (and, probably, money) with you! This is a good chance to also give a recap of everything they gained by attending.
  • Be sure to share pictures, videos, social media screenshots, prize winners, etc. The more you can remind them about the great time they had, the more energized and excited they’ll be about your next event.
  • Previous attendees are a great audience to send targeted communications to for the next event. They already had so much fun with you before, it shouldn’t be as tough to get them on board again!
  • What additional value can you provide post-event? If you have a relevant blog post, white paper, eLearning course, etc. consider sharing those, too!

Be sure you make a regular practice of thinking about your attendees’ experience — that means their entire journey from registration to the weeks following — and what they might need to know about before, during, and after the event.

Ready to Create an Effective Event Communication Plan?

Crafting a comprehensive and effective event communication plan is a vital component to your event success. The plan serves as a blueprint for engaging with your audience at every stage - before, during, and after the event. By strategically outlining your objectives, identifying your target audience, selecting appropriate communication channels and tools, and establishing a clear timeline, you ensure that your message resonates with attendees and enhances their overall experience.

A great way to facilitate effective event communication is to utilize an event management system. MemberClicks provides you with the tools needed to launch and run successful events for your organization.

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