When you’re event planning, it’s easy to let communication slip through the cracks. Taking the time to develop a communications plan will help you avoid reactivity and attract the right people to your event.
Here are six steps to create a stress-free communications plan (skip to the end for an example!).
1. Choose a project management tool
A project management tool can house everything you need to plan and execute all aspects of your event—including a communications plan. If you don’t already use a tool or system to manage your projects, it’s worthwhile to do the research and try one out.
I’ve had success using Basecamp and Trello, but there are plenty of other options, such as Monday, Asana, Notion, or even Google Suite.
2. Know the basics
- Who—Take note of the target audience for your event.
- What—What will happen at this event? What should attendees expect?
- When—Take note of the days/times your event will be offered.
- Where—Will this event be in person, online, or both?
- Why—Take note of the purpose of this event and the value to attendees.
3. Hone the messaging
Keeping in mind the who/what/when/where/why, brainstorm several single-sentence and paragraph-long event promotions. These brief promos should share the vision, value, and appropriate detail concisely with your audience.
Once you’ve jotted several ideas down, refine your messaging so that you have a few catchy promos of different lengths.
4. Choose the best communication channels
Be selective and intentional about which communication channels you use to reach the audience for your event. You may not need every method at your disposal, or you might use a channel differently than usual.
For example, you could share VIP information with a segment of your email list or send a company-wide message to share the vision of the event and get your team onboard.
5. Plot out goals/deadlines
Depending on the size and scope of your event, there may be several goals or deadlines to meet along the way. Put these on the timeline in your project management tool so you can plan to meet them.
For example, if a newsletter promoting the event needs to go through a review process before being published, set the publish deadline and a goal to have the draft done a week prior.
6. Plot out tasks to reach the goals/deadlines
Working backwards from your goals and deadlines, schedule out the day-by-day, week-by-week tasks that need to happen in order to meet your goals.
If you’re a granular, task-oriented person (like I am!) planning your tasks this way will be a major help.
Example communications plan
If learning new apps isn’t your thing, you’ll be happy to know that you can make just about any tool work for you. Below is an example of an Easter communications plan I developed for a church using Microsoft Excel.
- I used a visual calendar (with color coding) alongside a detailed list of deadlines and tasks. This allowed me to see the high-level overview, as well as the granular details.
- I assigned at least one platform and team member to each task. You could also add a Completion Date column to help keep team members accountable.
- Using my event messaging brainstorm, I formed a central call-to-action (CTA) and placed it where I could reference it often. This helped keep my event messaging on point.
Though it takes time to proactively plan to this level of detail, having your event and communications plan in an orderly, centralized location can give you tremendous peace of mind.