“Nobody reads advertising. People read what interests them; and sometimes it’s an ad.” -Howard Gossage, Is There Any Hope for Advertising?
If you have a limited marketing budget, event listings are a great (and free) way to get the word out. There are many event calendars and places to list your event online, including SpinGo.com, and the best part of getting listed is that your event is displayed in front of people who are actively browsing new and interesting things to do.
On the other side of the coin, however, your listing competes with all the other events for attention. If your listing doesn’t immediately grab someone’s interest, your event will be ignored.
Many of the event makers we speak with say that they spend hours upon hours getting their events listed on multiple websites. With such a huge investment in time, it’s crucial that your event listing is performing at its best.
Here are some simple tips to immediately elevate the quality of your listings.
Achieving synergy with your event name and image.
Wherever it’s displayed, your listing involves some relationship between showing and saying: show an image, then say something about it. Or say something, then show a picture about it. This relationship between your event name and image is the most important element of creating an effective event listing. It’s the first thing that a potential attendee sees, hears, and feels about the event.
Try to create the tightest relationship as possible by achieving synergy between your event name and event image. Synergy happens when two or more elements combine to achieve a total effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. The word/image relationship transcends event listings, and it’s something you should leverage on printed flyers, social media posts, and other advertising.
This classic ad for the American Floral Marketing Council, illustrates how words and imagery can work synergistically:
Some visual advice.
In a previous post, we discussed ideas on how to name an event. Once you have a great name, you can pair it with an image. Your image shouldn’t be an afterthought, and you may need to do purchase an image or hire a graphic designer to achieve that tight relationship with your event name.
Here’s a list of the most frequently used visual approaches:
Demonstrate the event in action: if it’s got some motion or drama, show it.
Present a close-up of some critical part of the event: delicious food, the brilliant lights, and so on.
Emphasize a visually interesting aspect of the event that you discover in your research: a piece of historical data, a founding member, etc.
Emphasize not the event but a person connected to it: this person may be a performer, an invented character, or an attendee.
Highlight the benefit of attending the event: the people pleasures rather than the vent itself. In other words, show the payoff, the result, of attending the event. Or show the negative consequences of not attending the event.
Go a step further and show the lifestyle the event helps create: beyond smiles and selfies, there is a desired lifestyle. Show this state of mind and attitude that the event engenders.
Sweating the details.
Once you’ve hooked your audience with your event name and image, your event description is where your event brand and voice really shine. Sure, it’s where attendees get the details, but it should also be an extension of your event experience. It's an opportunity for you to entertain, educate, and engage. How you do so depends on your voice. Before you write the description, ask yourself:
What voice is the best expression of my event?
How will I use this voice to communicate the objective of my event listing and other advertising?
When you can answer these questions, then you are ready to write an effective event description. When writing your description, keep in mind the principles you might learn in a freshman english composition class:
Voice: The writing has a natural, authentic sound, free clichés
Details: The writing is full of specifics; it’s particular, not vague
Style: Form matches content; the prose is not overwritten. It’s stylistically graceful, with strong, clear sentences and well-chosen language.
Thesis: The writing has one central, unifying idea. It hangs together.
Organization and structure: The writing develops this idea in some order; has a beginning, middle, and end; and coheres throughout.
Here's a great example of how voice influences branding and image:
There are other elements of your event listing to take note of like venue info, videos, social media links, ticketing links, etc. But the most crucial things to get right are the name, image and description. Add some polish to those aspects, and you’re on your way to an event listing that doesn’t just describe your event. It sells it.