Landing a fabulous keynote speaking is exciting, but your work as a meeting planner doesn't end there. As you work though creating events with impact, you need to release the news of your featured guest. In doing so, you have the opportunity to do a few important things, like:
- Raise the profile of your overall event,
- Increase awareness of your organization,
- Enhance attendance numbers, and
- Drive revenue through additional attendees, peripheral sales or membership fees.
That means that the how of announcing your keynote speaker is very important. Consider the following steps as you prepare your communication and marketing plan.
The Timing of Keynote Announcements
While building your communication plan, you have three key pitfalls to avoid:
- Announcing too early, before potential attendees are willing to commit to ticket or event purchases. These attendees, when ready to make their decision weeks or months later, may no longer remember who your speaker is, meaning that you lose out on the excitement or enticement factor.
- Announcing too late, after the time to prepare for attendance or ask for corporate sponsorship or fee reimbursement has passed. These attendees may have really wanted to attend and would truly love to see the keynote speaker, but it's now too late to get permission to miss work or to get paid back for meeting or conference costs.
- Announcing concurrently with other meeting detail releases. When your communications release includes too many details, the impact of those individual pieces of information may be lost as potential attendees try to absorb too much information. This is especially a consideration if you announce continuing education sessions at the same time and place a decision factor on attendees as they choose between classes to earn credits.
As you work through other timing factors, such as when your keynote speaker is confirmed and how long in advance your conference is planned, you'll find yourself managing the tricky balance between when to announce and the impact of that announcement. In general, to get the most ROI for events, remember that your attendees will likely need at least a month to plan to attend your conference, but may not be able to commit their schedule to attending more than three or four months out.
In order to give each piece of information released – including who your keynote speaker will be – its due importance, create a comprehensive communication or marketing plan and schedule out the release of info including speakers, sponsors, trade booth offerings, education courses, break out discussions, and after hour events. Trickling that information out to potential attendees far enough in advance of the event will be more impactful that delivering it all at once and overwhelming them with information and decisions.
In the age of digital communication, the easy ways out of communicating event details is to use blast emails, web pages and blog posts. While these are all important and necessary to your communication plan, how you execute those plans and what additional announcement vehicles you use are of equal importance. Use these factors to determine the breadth of announcement vehicles you will use.
- Who is your target audience?
- Will your target audience need to share your announcement information with others, such as supervisors, executives, or financial managers?
- How has your target audience reacted to certain communication vehicles in the past?
Knowing your committed and targeted audience can best help to make the decision on which vehicles to best utilize.
Writing Up Your Speaker
Consider writing up your speaking in the style of a press release. After all, a press release is crafted using a three-element composition that can work equally well for any large and important announcement.
Begin with the actual announcement as both your headline and opening sentence.
Large Envelope Association Announces John Q. Stamp as 2015 Convention Keynote Speaker
The Large Envelope Association of North America is please to announce that noted envelope expert, John Q. Stamp, will be headlining the organization's 2015 annual convention, slated for November 1-6 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Transition into information specific to the keynote speaker you have booked. This verbiage is typically something your speaker or your speakers bureau will have on hand for you. Be sure to ask for that prior to writing your own. No need to reinvent the wheel!
Finally, finish your announcement with information on your own organization.
Founded in 1952, the Large Envelope Association represents the arms of paper manufacturing and distribution companies who specialize in non-standard sized mailing packets. With more than 4 million members worldwide, the Association meets annually to stay at the forefront of industry development and consumer demands.
This type of write-up is appropriate for mailed and emailed announcements, and can become the backbone of other communication vehicles. Particularly, you can use the language already crafted to become headlines and succinct bullet-points in advertisements and sponsored articles or posts, and as talking points for interviews.
Now that you've developed the when, how and what of your announcement, it's time to piece it all together in a comprehensive communication or marketing plan and divulge the keynote speaker you've obtained for your upcoming event.