Q+A Friday: How Do I Decide What To Call My Event?
I'm wondering what I should call my event? It's a skills-based learning atmosphere so it's mostly workshop style, but it's more than one day, so that could be considered more of a conference, but it's also somewhere tropical, and intimate, so maybe it's a retreat? Help!
GREAT question. A lot of times, marketing and selling an event comes down to how you communicate the value, and communicating the value comes down to the words you use and the feelings you invoke when explaining the benefits of your event.
That said, here are a few tips that will help you communicate the value and structure of your event.
Don't be confusing.
I know it's tempting to call your event the "Masterclass for Master Business Owners," or the "Event of the Century!" but what the heck does that mean?
Like I've said in the past, events have an inherent amount of barriers to get people to attend (time, money, not knowing anyone...the list goes on), so if you're not communicating WHAT the event is in the first place, then you're not going to be able to even get your audience to consider reading about the value.
Use words people understand
"Workshop", "conference", "retreat", "vacation", "mastermind group", "seminar", "demonstration", "trade show"...these are all words people can get on board with. Pick one of those and stick to it. No flip-flopping halfway through or else people are going to think you aren't committed to your own vision.
Consider the events taking place
Here are the traditional definitions of the most common live event types listed above:
Workshop: Usually a one-day, hands-on learning environment where there is some sitting and listening to speakers, and some hands-on work taking place.
Conference: Could be one-day, or multiple days, where there is little "hands-on" work, and far more listening to speakers, possibly attending break-out sessions based on topics you want to be educated on, and traditional "networking."
Retreat: Learning could take place, but retreats are typically somewhere desirable (tropical or snowy...secluded usually), where attendees can immerse themselves in whatever the topic that's being "taught" or discussed. Usually a smaller group of attendees, retreats have a very intimate feel about them.
Trade show: A bunch of different industry vendors lining up to "educate" possible customers about why their products or services are the best.
Seminar: Similar in format to a "workshop", but usually only a few hours, and less "hands-on" learning.
In the creative world, these lines can often be blurred, as the word "conference" may feel too formal. If you're doing two-days of hands-on learning? It doesn't mean your event is a conference; it just means it's a "two-day workshop".
So you need to ask yourself:
Is your event mostly learning with hands on work? It's a workshop.
Is it mostly listening and networking over a couple days? It's a conference.
Is it an intimate group where there is lots of focus on attendee's sharing their stories? It's probably a mastermind group (or if it's somewhere far-flung, it's a retreat).
Don't be afraid to use a word that might feel "corporate" or "boring" to you. It's more important to be HONEST and upfront about the structure of your live event, than it is to be clever or creative with your wording. People respond to things that they know and make them feel comfortable; and that's your BIGGEST selling point.
Have you ever struggled with the words to describe your event before? If so, tell me about it in the comments below!