Conference PR Strategies | Marketing Across Channels


Business conference On our PR Parade podcast yesterday, Jenny Hamby reminded me that we first met at a sold-out Writing for the Web conference I put on for the Independent Writers of Chicago about five years ago. It’s been way too long since I produced a major event and if I had to do it today, I’d do it differently.

Here’s how:

Know Your Audience

Who needs this information? Why? What will they do with it? How will their life change? Be careful: you may want more for them than they want for themselves. It’s easy for us to see potential – you need to tell them what’s possible and show them, if you can.

Set Goals

What’s the purpose – for you and your attendees? Although this can be a free event, it’s okay to make some money. Okay, make that lots of money. One contact recently told me about a seminar that cost $500 for one day. If 100 people show up, you get $5000. An institute charges $297 for a two-day training that leads students to a $5000 personal development program. Think beyond the day to the next level for your and your students.

Meet an Urgent Need

Writing for the Web sold out because writers needed to know how to make money in a new market AND how to write in a new space. Mark Joyner’s book, The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less talks about how to sell to a thirsty crowd. The more thirsty the crowd, the less resistance and opportunity to keep serving and selling. How thirsty are they? Ask a test group to rate the importance of your topic. Then, go for a need to know versus a nice to know approach.

Bring in Top Experts

Draw up your dream panel of experts. Although they don’t have to be household names, their experience must be directly aligned with the subject. “You could speak on anything!” a friend often tells me. While I appreciate the compliment, I know that the value of the presentation is directly related to the experience and research that goes along with being an expert.

Sell the Experience

List out the top 5 benefits, not features, and keep coming back: location, more money, less stress, professional development, new connections, business growth, results. Come up with a tagline that sums it all up in under seven words.

Make it Affordable

This one goes for both you and your students. Local hotels charge around $175 for a room that holds up to 30 people and includes free wi-fi. Downtown Chicago hotels might charge three times as much. Adding in food is hospitable, but not absolutely necessary.

Integrate Marketing

Align communication goals with your audience’s need to know.

Strategize Delivery

Chart out a grid that lists the audience, communication channel and timing. Then, follow it!

 emailpress releases
Guests4-15 date
4-22 registration open
4-1 calendar item
4-15 event 
5-1  speakers


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