Building event buzz
One of the challenges many event organisers have is ‘Developing buy-in’ for an event. This often happens when the events are seen as optional, and when employees are busy trying to meet deadlines.
The sad truth is, many of the events people choose not to attend are created for their benefit and designed to enhance their well-being and job satisfaction.
This article explores how to build event buzz and get greater buy-in.
The tools at your disposal to build event buzz
As an event organiser you already know you have to tell people about the event. You probably already know the tools at your disposal for this, namely:
- Internal boards
These tools need to be deployed carefully because the danger is you end up throwing more information and content in front of people who are already busy; so, you have to think creatively about this…
In truth, this is a marketing job, so if you are in HR or L&D or not used to marketing, it might be worth having coffee or lunch with a key marketing person to get their ideas on how you draw people to the event with this keynote speaker and topic.
Building marketing buzz for your event
The key to drawing people in, is to create a hunger to be at the event. This is done by building curiosity as well as sharing the benefits and some features of the event. Your marketing people can likely help you develop wording that will increase buy-in.
In the meeting with the marketing person share the event brief, along with the speaker’s blurb and bio and outline the logistical details. This will help them get a feel for the event. Keep in mind in order to attend people need to picture themselves at the event, sitting in front of the keynote speaker, with friends and colleagues, in a specific room or venue, with a waft of coffee or food.
Building the buzz around the topic
Think of it this way…
Most people are hardwired with a desire to say no to anything they view as new or inconvenient. So, imagine this is how people feel about your event.
Meanwhile, you know the event will benefit them, so you have to think about how you draw them to it. Ask yourself ‘What’s the first thing they want to know?’
The first thing they’ll want to know about is the topic. Let’s say the topic is Mental Health. If you just tell them the topic is mental health, most people will decide, no. Some will think ‘I’m too busy’ while others will think, ‘I’m okay, I don’t need that’.
The sad fact about this is they don’t even know what they are missing out on at this point, yet they’ve decided already!
Your job is to get them to the event where the speaker can work their magic. This means not explicitly telling them the event theme or topic. For example, you could say,
‘This mental health training will help break down stigma and demonstrate the prevalence of mental health.’
Or you could say…
‘This training will break down the number one challenge we all face as we work together and it will demonstrate growth and damage if we don’t.’
Do you see how the second example doesn’t mention mental health or stigma? It leaves the challenge, the growth and potential damage to the imagination. And the imagination likes answers, and they can only get the answers at the event. In the second example, we also suggest a sense of ‘working together’ and controlling the growth and damage.
Building the buzz around the speaker
Once the audience knows about the event topic as demonstrated above, they’ll want to know about the speaker. You can of course tell them about the speaker by sharing their bio. The temptation is to share the speaker bio including qualifications and experience, but remember we’re dealing with busy people, who will find it easier to say no, so you may want to just give them a headline at this point.
For example, ‘Known as the Doctor of Self Love, Andrea Pennington is a number one best-selling author and guest of Oprah Winfrey more than once’.
To give your audience even more of a sense of your speaker, ask the speaker to record a quick voice message to your team that welcomes them to the event and a sound-bite about what they’ll get. Again, you could work with your marketing person on this, along with the speaker to build curiosity and benefit into a 30-60 second video or audio clip. Remember to keep it light and focus on building curiosity.
Building the buzz around the venue
Once the attendees know the topic and have a feel for the speaker, they’ll then want to get a feel for the event logistics. Here they’ll want to know where it will be held and what is on offer in terms of food and drink.
But don’t just tell attendees the name of the hotel, tell them why you’ve chosen that hotel for this event. Show them how it fits the theme, give them a little of the hotel history or gravitas and make it feel special. If they’ll have drinks on arrival tell them this. If they’ll be served a lunch or a snack, let them know. And if there will be food and the chef has credentials, tell them this.
Even if the event is to be held in your conference room tell them why you chose the conference room and how it will be laid out specifically for this event.
Building the buzz with your senior team, keynote speaker and audience
It helps develop more buy-in if a senior leader, like the CEO, can talk about why they wanted this event to happen and why they wanted it now. If they have a personal story, they can share related to the topic, it helps people build empathy with the leader and bond with the topic. A leader sharing in this way builds loyalty, especially if they get the balance of detail right – not too much so they lose credibility, but enough to show they are human.
Also, ask the keynote speaker to share on social media how much they are looking forward to working with your company and endorse the company’s efforts to deal with a challenge that surrounds the topic of the event. This is of course something your PR people can use, to promote the company and its forward-thinking. It can put the company front of mind in the industry or locally, or both. Taking this step may help the company recruit and retain top talent.
The audience can also be asked to participate. They can be asked to submit questions the keynote speaker can either address in the keynote or in a follow-up podcast recording shared with those who attend.
Using the event buzz to your advantage in the future
Hiring a photographer and videographer can help after event buzz, with the keynote speaker photographed or videoed with attendees. Images from the event can be shared in internal newsletters or on social media.
Footage from the event is something you can share as part of future training. Video clips you can use to promote future events. Clips can also be created as little reminders that can be included in newsletters or posted on a company’s internal network. The video and photographs can also be used as reminders to employees of the things the company has done to support them and make their workplace a great place. Again, involving your PR or marketing people will generate new ideas of post-event footage.
How to find future keynote speakers
Professional keynote speakers have so much more to offer than just a keynote. As we’ve demonstrated in this article working with a keynote speaker, and developing an event buzz in can help fill this event, positively promote the company and develop more buy-in for future events.
Thinking like this helps you get the most from your speaker. This article helps you find the right key note speaker for your event
Meanwhile, Stellar Speakers are a unique speaker agency representing change-making keynote speakers. We provide expertise to help you manage your budgetary expectations and provide realistic options. We provide a preferred partner’s service base, so that partner clients get everything they need, lowering your risk as a booker of speakers, so you can make your choice about your next speaker with confidence.