The term event production has been mistaken to be a phrase for referring to the technical aspect of an event. But no, that’s not what it is. It is creating your own event. The art of creating events is one of the best ways of making money from the event industry.
In my many years of researching into and teaching events planning and management, I have met many people who have gone through one “master programme” or another who have still not been able to make money in the industry. Lets face it – even if its passion that made you become an event entrepreneur, it won’t keep you in business. It is results that will keep you. If the results are always non-monetary, you won’t last long either because every business is supposed to make enough money to be able to remain healthy. Thankfully, event production will help you out if you understand how it works and be able to use it to your advantage.
The most common reason eventpreneurs do not make money is that they are not getting enough contracts within a short time. People prefer to keep having the more experienced event managers plan their events for them. You can’t blame them because the experienced ones have a name that you do not have. I would have started giving some advise now on how you can become visible and with time, build relevance but that is not the objective of this post. I will take time out to do that soon anyway. But the main thrust of this post and the next one is to encourage you to STOP depending on “clients” to put food on your table.
I am asking you to produce!
Event production is a concept that not many people are talking about. The few people who are talking about it have misconstrued the phrase to mean all the technical aspect of planning an event (the video, lighting, audio and so on). But that is NOT what event production is about.
Event Production is simply the art-science of creating an event for the purpose of entertaining, engendering awareness or promoting a cause. Sometimes, all three elements of entertainment, awareness and causes are combined in the same event. But the bottom-line is that you are able to
- Entertain or
- Create awareness (cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc) or
- Promote a course (women equality, child prostitution, etc)
and still be able to
- Make money or
- Get influence or
- Gain both
The important thing here is that at the end of the event (or sometimes a series of events), your business is no longer where it used to be. It has improved! You are better known and you have a point of reference for the other events you are going to put together in the future.
How to produce your own events
Producing your own events is not difficult, especially if you follow the step-by-step guide I am about to share with you. One of the things that hold people back when it comes to making this happen is that they focus their attention on what they do NOT have. Often, I hear someone say they won’t even attempt that because they “do not have money.” You need money but you DON’T need it to start. Just make up your mind that events production is for you and then, based on your approach, perseverance, and so on, everything should fall in place.
Step by Step Guide to Events Production
The guide below is not meant to be followed in the order in which I have presented them. You can tweak and follow them in ways you are more comfortably. Personally, I sometimes start with a date (probably a public holiday) before even coming up with an idea.
1. Event Interest
The first step to creating events is finding an area of interest you can create an event around. By area, I mean “find a subject that interests you.” For example, if you do not actually have a passion for helping people living with cancer, your event may not make much sense. The reason for that is the fact that you will find it difficult to convince anyone when you are yourself not convinced. So, pick an area of interest. It will also be nice if whatever you are picking is a little unique or relatively “new” or “strange” to people. Here in Lagos State, Nigeria, we are inundated with events that are HIV/AIDS related. Same thing is happening to cancer right now. Pick an area that not many people are creating events around and do same.
Apart from creating events around an illness or a problem, you can also decide to create them for entertainment purpose. Whatever you choose, ensure it is excellent and that it is a worthy point of reference for you. Don’t forget that the event should help you to either make money, gain influence or get both. If you do not get any of these benefits, events production is not complete.
Disclaimer: You are probably thinking “I don’t feel comfortable creating events around an issue that concern people’s lives in order to exploit it for personal gain.” That is not a problem. As long as you ensure that the event meets its objectives and that participants get value for time and investment, you are good.
The area of interest you pick will many times determine the direction of the event and the ideas you need to steer it. Here, you come up with a concept that will make your event stand out from others. While brainstorming, it is important to come up with ideas that will ensure that;
- The event is solving a problem and/or meeting a need
- The problem the event is solving (or the need it is meeting) affects a good number of people, concentrated in the same geographical area. For example city, community, town, etc.
- The problem the event is solving (or the need it is meeting) has recently been the subject of a news report.
- People will be willing to participate in the event both as volunteers, sponsors and as beneficiaries.
While brainstorming, it is important to have a notebook and a pen close by. In that way, you are able to write down every idea that comes to you. This is very important while creating events.
3. Set Event Objectives
Now that you have defined an area of interest for your event, write down a clear easy to understand objective. It does not have to be perfect the first time you write it. Write down a few points on what you want to achieve with the event. Don’t get me wrong here. We already know why you are doing this event. You want to get busy doing what you like doing (planning events), gain influence and hopefully in addition make money. But you don’t want to inform everyone that this is what you want to achieve with the event. They won’t take you serious that way.
This objective is one that has to do with why people should associate themselves with the event. So, write down a few points and then do a little elimination of repetitive points, condense what you have into one nice catchy statement and there you are! The objective is set!
4. Decide Event Type
How will the event look like? What form will it take? Is it a conference? Is it a workshop? Is it a party? Is it a donation event? Is it a one day event? Is it a multi-day event? Is it an exhibition? Your objective will determine what event form it should be. Consider events like Social Media Week and TED Talk.
As soon as you decide on the kind of event you want to have, the next important activity to do is to begin to deliberately network for the purpose of making that event a reality. Another thing of importance at this point is to begin going through your contact list to know who to involve in the event. For example if you want to create and host an event that borders around teachers, it will be important to find a way to meet the local chairperson of the teachers association.
6. Create event plan
This can definitely come before you start networking. Or you can start networking while you are creating this. Watch out for a post on How to Create an Event Plan. I should post that soon. For now, lets concentrate on event creation. Meanwhile, just know that its not difficult to create one. Just use the following words as headings and brainstorm with them. Once you finish putting relevant content under the headings, you have an event plan. 1. Event Name 2. Event Objective(s) 3. Target Audience 4. Proposed Date 5. Proposed Venue 6. Proposed Events Day Personnel 7. The Team 8. Budget 9. Proposed Means of Funding 10. Execution Timeline.
7. Acquire First Stakeholders
While networking and “combing” your contact list, be on the lookout for stakeholders for your event. The stakeholders to watch out for include
1. Volunteers. People who will join you in all the “leg-work” you will be doing in the course of executing your plans for the event.
2. Vendors. Those who will be decorating and making necessary supplies for the event.
3. Event Stage personnel. Entertainers which include comedians, musicians, on-air personalities and so on. The MC (or Compere) falls in this category too.
4. Sponsors. Organizations which will likely be willing to support the event in cash and/or kind.
5. Celebrities. Well known people with a very strong followership on the social media.
6. Journalists. Both traditional journalists on radio, TV and digital journalists including bloggers who can talk or write about your event.
… and so on
8. Create a Publicity Plan
In creating this, one must be very strategic. A very important factor here is to determine how long the needed publicity for the event will last. If you are working with an abundant budget (I wouldn’t even advise that!), you don’t need much time. But if you do not have resources to expend on radio, TV and internet adverts, it is important to be strategic. And time (time to do it right) is of essence in strategy. The elements that must be on your publicity plan include proposed media, funding, publicity phases, publicity timeline, publicity breakdown structure, proposed publicity team, publicty content plan and budget. It should also contain plan to get free publicity. Make it as concise as possible.
9. Start Publicity
As soon as you have spoken to a number of people in the group of stakeholders above and have received assurance that the event is a great idea, start publicising. Get someone to design some professional fliers for you. If you check fiverr very well, you might just get something very professional at a very low rate. Share these fliers on your social media pages and encourage friends and family to also share them. If you have resources for creating a website, create one and promote it on the fliers as well.
10. Acquire More Stakeholders
Do not stop talking to people. Influential people, people who represent brands, and people who friends with famous folks will really come handy here. Every time you have an opportunity to introduce yourself, talk about the event. Send letters, emails, Invitation Cards and so on. The more people you have on your side, the more successful the event will turn out to be.
It is also important to speak with people who have also created their own events before. They will share invaluable insight with you. Although event creation is not rocket science, the more practical knowledge you get, the better for you.
Also ask someone influencial (who can pull crowds) to be the Chairman of the event or the Opening Ceremony of the event. Invent creative means to just ensure the event is talked about.
11. Continue publicity
Don’t stop. Event creation requires that you keep pushing. Ask radio and TV stations to interview you. Create a press release and send to newspapers – both local, regional and national. Get “media partners” who are aggressive about publicizing the event.
12. Build Up Till The Event Day
You must keep the momentum high. The event must not “leave” the social media. It must continue being a subject of day to day interaction amongst your stakeholders. If it is a paid event, tickets must be readily available for people who want them. There are several online event ticketing services available these days. Make use of them. Ensure your vendors are on top of their game.
So, that is it! Event Creation is not a bad idea. It will push you to your limits, make you a better person, increase your influence and make you money. So, when will you start? In Nike’s words, yesterday, you said tomorrow; just do it!