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10 Things To Know When Creating Your Communications Event Strategy

An effective communications strategy can make your business’ event a success, and ensure that your name gets out there for potential customers or investors to see — and remember.

But building a communications plan that organizes a memorable event is challenging. A major event is, after all, not the time to wing it: Winging it is something that is more likely to bring about confusion or lead to missed opportunities, not to mention waste time and resources. You need to prepare a fully fledged communication strategy, and this isn’t easy. There are dozens of details that should not be overlooked, ranging from getting the right people together and understanding your target audience to clearly defining your goals and success metrics.

So what do you need to know? Below, 10 members of Forbes Communications Council share their expert advice on how to develop a foolproof communications plan for your next big event. Here is what they suggest:

1. Plan, Recast And Layer

Here are three words that can help your communication land: plan, recast and layer. Layering your message is key. As soon as a timeline is set, you‘ll begin writing a project plan that will include a schedule, a content strategy, as well as multiple distribution channels to communicate your message. That’s where the layering comes in. For each piece of content created, you should consider recasting it for additional channels. By expanding the packaging and delivery of each piece of content, your message goes further and meets your audience exactly where they are. – Esther Bonardi, Yardi Systems

2. Identify And Understand Your Audience

The first thing to consider when building a communications strategy is how to compete with the myriad of messaging your audience is already receiving from today’s constant technology streams. The best place to start is by identifying and understanding your audience at a deeper level. Figure out what drives their decision-making. Determine what motivates them and what they feel passionate about. Once you understand this, you can develop messaging, and even expand into storytelling, that speaks to them on a deeper, more engaging level. – Victoria Zambito, Vector Solutions

3. Get The Right People Together

Get the right people together first to discuss the planning needed to accomplish the launch — that’s of crucial importance. Talk through timeliness, possible issues and goals for the event. A good communications strategy is built on trust and experience, and on being prepared for things that can and will arise. – Justin Bridegan, Stellar

4. Define Goals And Success Metrics

Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), define the goals and success metrics of your launch. If awareness is your objective, what is the first, second and third message you want your audience to take away? If it’s customer acquisition, what is the most relevant call to action that will lead to those opportunities? Having your overall goals in mind will help you determine which messaging or program strategies will be most effective to reach your results. – Katie Burton, Indeni 

5. Have Multiple Channels Of Communication

Knowing what could undermine your launch is critical. As an example, a breaking, powerful news story can lead to reporters shifting gears and retracting on their plan to cover your organization’s product. For that reason, ensure your launch features multiple channels of communication. Diversify by, for example, including social media, traditional media, webcasts, podcasts and other mediums. – Joseph DiBlasi, The Conference Board

6. Build Ongoing Relationships

PR professionals tend to run to their media, influencers and stakeholders only they need them. Instead, what is often understated, is building an all-year-round relationship with them — checking in to see what they are working on, asking what you can do to help them, or involving and informing them on a regular basis. When the big event or high-profile launch comes, they will be that much more likely to give you incredible and extraordinary coverage. – Amandine Robin,Pernod Ricard USA

7. Meet Your Target Demographic Where They Are

Identify the main platforms where your target demographic tends to consume content, and design a campaign that allows you to drive your call to action across multiple communication channels to maximize reach and engagement results. – Xuan Liao, LisbonTech 

8. Give Your Consumers What They Want

Connect the dots with what you want consumers to hear, feel and repeat back to you. Think: What’s visual, relevant and larger than life. We believe people want to engage and be a part of something bigger than themselves. – Brittany Thoms, See.Spark.Go

9. Get Stakeholders To Agree On A Common Mission

Before we’re able to strategize, getting all stakeholders to agree on a common mission helps us build strategies that streamline resources, capital and time. When we garner approval of an end goal, we save time later quibbling over which roads to get there. – Heidi Baumgart, Event Source 

10. Get An Internal Consensus

Setting goals and objectives is the most important step prior to a high-profile launch or event. This allows you to get internal consensus and alignment prior to executing the variety of tactics it will take to achieve those objectives. Identifying all the internal and external influencers you can leverage to help amplify your communications and reach a wider yet very targeted audience can also be a key step to success. – Ahmad Daher, Denali Advanced Integration