Top tips for event write-ups

Top tips for event write-ups

Putting on an event takes a lot of effort. You have to book a venue, organise presentations, sell tickets – there are loads of things to think about.

One thing a lot of organisers miss out on is investing some effort in writing about the event. This is a valuable activity, because it helps to promote everyone concerned with the event, from the organisers all the way down to the individual delegates.

So, let’s say you do want to produce a write-up of an event or conference. How do you go about it?

I’ve handled written coverage for several events and conferences – here are my tips for success.

Introduction

Event write-ups may not be the most exciting pieces of content on the web, but they serve a valuable purpose. A decent written summary will allow you to:

  • give non-attendees a sense of what the occasion was like.
  • raise awareness of you and your event on social media.
  • sell the next version of the event, such as an annual conference.

Let’s dig in to some tips for helping you create the best possible write-up for your events and conferences. Ready?

Note 👨🏻‍💻👩🏼‍💻

The tips here assume that you’re going to give the task of writing up the event to one person.

If you can get more people involved, that’s great. It means you’ll have more camera angles for photos and also be able to cover multiple speaking tracks, if your event has them.

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Meet the speakers

You’ll probably already have some sort of professional relationship with the speakers at the event. After all, people don’t just show up and talk without there being some discussion and agreement beforehand.

It’s a good idea to speak to them in person before they go onstage, to understand their thoughts about the event and their mindset ahead of the presentation.

The write-up should capture the essence of the speakers’ content, and meeting them face to face beforehand gives you a chance to mirror their language at the event.

Action for the writer 📌
Meet the speakers in person before they speak.

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Connect with speakers on LinkedIn

As well as doing your meet and greet at the event, make sure you connect with the speakers on LinkedIn. When the write-up is done, you’ll be able to share the content on LinkedIn and tag the speakers, increasing the chances of them sharing the write-up with their networks.

Such connections also give you the opportunity to stay on the speakers’ radar. Perhaps they’ll come back and do another session for you in future. Or perhaps they’ll introduce you to the perfect speaker for your next event.

Action for the writer 📌
Connect with speakers on LinkedIn before the event.

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Ask for a preview of each talk

Find out what the key messages are before speakers deliver their presentations. You should already have a reasonable idea of this when you book speakers for the event, but it’s always good to check what the most important part of each session is from the speaker’s point of view.

That way, you can be sure to include that point in the write-up. This means that you help to fulfil the speaker’s agenda, and they’re more likely to share the content afterwards and look back favourably on the event as a whole.

I also ask speakers what other strategic or brand messaging would be good to include in my write-ups. This lets me write something promotional on their behalf without them having to make their own sales pitch. Anything that gives them a boost like this is always welcomed, and it’s a great way to keep up good relations with speakers.

Action for the writer 📌
Find out the one-sentence summary of each talk before it’s delivered.

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Take photos to set the scene

No one wants to read walls of text, so including photos of the venue and surroundings are great for setting the scene. I find that images like these are best at the start and end of the write-up.

FM Inspired at the Intercontinental O2 Hotel, London

FM Inspired at the Intercontinental O2 Hotel, London

Action for the writer 📌
Include attractive photos of the venue or the surroundings.

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Take photos of speakers and stands

Good-quality photos of speakers and sponsors’ stands will add some colour to your write-up and will naturally encourage the people in the photos to share the article with their network. All of this is great publicity and showcases your event as the place to be.

Box stand at CMO Inspired October 2017

Box stand at CMO Inspired October 2017

To take this to the next level, try to grab short video interviews with these people and embed those in the write-up as well.

All such content will be valuable when the time comes to promote your next event. When that event’s tickets go on sale, you can point back to the previous write-up and say, ‘look at what we did last time.’

Action for the writer 📌
Capture good close-ups of speakers and sponsor stands.

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Tweet with relevant quotes

You can promote speakers by tweeting images of them along with key quotes from their presentations.

The resulting social content can be embedded in the write-up, to help give context to the whole piece. Here’s an example from a write-up I did for the CMO Inspired event in London:

And here’s another, from Digital 2016:

As well as enhancing the visual interest of the write-up, embedded tweets give a sense of authority to the content – and that could be enough to encourage readers to share the write-up with others.

Top tip for sharing good-quality photos quickly on social media
When I cover events, I take photos using a DSLR camera (not a smartphone) and then connect the camera to my iPad via a lightning cable. This lets me import good-quality shots to my camera roll and then I can share them to Twitter and elsewhere.

My iPad Pro uses the Apple Smart Keyboard, so typing tweets is super quick. It’s not the cheapest setup in the world, but it produces great results.

Action for the writer 📌
If you have control of the relevant social media account, share tweets about proceedings.

Here are some more tips for live-tweeting your business events, by social media consultant Nicole Osborne:

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Include relevant external links

One of the main roles of the write-up is to make speakers and sponsors look good, so make sure to link to their websites and social media profiles.

This is ideal for post-event follow-ups and adds weight to the write-up.

Action for the writer 📌
Point to speakers’ and sponsors’ websites and social profiles.

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Include relevant internal links (make navigation easy)

Include navigation with jump links so that readers can go straight to talks of interest (in the same way that I’ve done in this post).

Sample jump link

Sample jump link – takes you straight to the action

This approach means you can share URLs that speakers will be more likely to share. Instead of pointing to the top of the post, they’ll be able to point their audience directly to their bit.

Action for the writer 📌
Make navigation simple and painless for the reader.

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Get speakers’ social teams onboard

A good event will usually have lots of social media activity going on.

If you have high-profile speakers or sponsors at the event, find out who manages their social media accounts and get them primed to retweet and share all of the content that is posted about the event.

This is great for raising the profile of the event, and it makes the speakers and sponsors look good – it’s the ‘here we are, experts among lots of other clever people’ effect.

Action for the writer 📌
Encourage everyone involved to share your updates on social media.

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Use a hashtag for the event

An event-specific hashtag will help you to find what others are saying about proceedings, and that makes it easier to identify tweets and other social posts that could be included in the write-up.

Hashtags don’t need to be registered or created in any other formal way. All you have to do is search social networks for a relevant name with the # symbol at the start and see whether anyone else has used that hashtag.

If your search reveals nothing, that’s your green light for using the search term as your own hashtag.

An unused hashtag on Twitter

An unused hashtag on Twitter

Action for the writer 📌
If the event has a hashtag, use it in all tweets and in the write-up. Suggest a hashtag for the event if there isn’t one.

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Engage the audience

If the event is pitched at the right sort of audience, it’s quite possible that your delegates will produce their own reports of the event, which they’ll share on their own blogs and on social media.

This is great for promotion, and it’s something you should consider encouraging during the event.

At CMA Live 2017, for example, there were more than 30 independent write-ups of the event. Consider how powerful this content is as sales material for the following year’s conference.

Such user-generated content is usually fantastic, but bear in mind that you’ll have no editorial control over what’s written. What happens if someone focuses on the odd negative point during the event, or if one of the sponsors or sessions is inaccurately represented?

One way to get around this is to create your own official report of the event, which should automatically be well ranked when people search online for information about what happened (because the content will be on your site, and that’s presumably where the rest of the event info is, too).

Action for the writer 📌
You’re producing the official write-up of the event, but you should still acknowledge and link to the other write-ups.

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Let’s wrap up

It’s easy to get your head down and focus on organising an event and making sure that everything runs smoothly on the day.

But it’s important to think about producing content that will help promote future events as well as enhancing your online profile. And that’s where a good event write-up can be worth its weight in gold.

Follow my tips above and you’ll create a piece of content that makes you and your speakers and sponsors look great. And who doesn’t want that?

Need an event write-up?

If you don’t have the spare time or resources to handle a write-up of your own event or conference, you can save yourself hassle by getting me to do it.

I’ve covered events and conferences in England, Scotland and Wales. Drop me a line at support *at* espirian.co.uk to find out how I can help you at your event.

About event write-ups

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Thanks for reading,

John Espirian

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