events

[356] How to build your audience through Twitter (and create FOMO)

Does Twitter confuse the heck out of you?

If so, you’re not alone.

It's a busy, fast-paced platform that can feel overwhelming at times. But with the right strategies, it can be a powerful - and quick - way to attract and connect with your ideal clients. Plus it’s a great way to reach journalists and influencers in your space. 

In this episode Twitter expert and ‘FOMO creator’ May King Tsang explains how you can build your online audience through Twitter. She explains everything from hashtags and DMs through to Twitter Chats and using Twitter lists to cut out the "noise". 

Plus she shares tons of ideas on what kind of content you should be posting on the platform.

Even if you're already using Twitter, there's tons of practical advice and tips you can start using today.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode.}

 

How does Twitter work 

For the uninitiated, Twitter is like a big online party, says May King. There are groups of people having topics about different topics. You can join conversations that interest you or you can start your own. Anyone you want to talk to is just one tweet or direct message away. And the best thing is you can ‘stalk’ people (e.g. prospective clients, journalists and influencers) and gather information that will help you make a better first impression.  And - unlike on platforms like LinkedIn, where people can see you’ve been checking out their profile - they will never know you’ve been listening into their conversations. 

Connecting with journalists on Twitter

Twitter started as a breaking news platform - and still is. So if you want to connect with journalists, Twitter is definitely the place to hang out. Journalists are actively looking for people to talk to for the stories they are working on. Following hashtags like #journorequest and #prrequest can be a great way to connect with journalists who are looking for stories - without having to send a single pitch or press release. 

Find out how to connect with journalists on Twitter. 

Twitter chats 

A Twitter chat is a public conversation that revolves around a unique hashtag  e.g. #contenthour (N.B. hashtags group together tweets on a similar topic). A Twitter chat can be ongoing, but more commonly are hosted at a regular time and/or day (e.g. once a week or month) - which is why May King compares Twitter chats to TV programmes.

Twitter chats are a great way to network with your ideal clients  - without even leaving your house. 

While she is not aware of any online lists or directories of Twitter chats, May King suggests carrying out a Google search for Twitter chats that are relevant to you/your industry. 

Find out how to take part in a Twitter chat. 

Twitter lists

If you’re following a lot of people, Twitter can feel really noisy, May King suggests creating Twitter lists of people you want to follow e.g. journalists in your industry, prospective clients, so you can follow along with what they’re up to. Twitter lists can be both public and private, so no one needs to know you are ‘stalking’ them.

How to reach out to prospects on Twitter 

One of the best things about Twitter is that anyone you want to talk to is just a click away - including your ideal clients. But blundering in and pitching people over Twitter is probably not the best way to go about it. If there is someone you want to connect with, you can start by liking and retweeting their posts (i.e. sharing their posts with your followers), then move onto replying to their posts and/or starting conversations with them on Twitter. Then, when the time feels right, you can ask them to follow you (if they’re not already) and take the conversation over to the direct messages. In the direct messages you have up to 10,000 characters to play with (as opposed to 160 characters in a standard tweet). 

Spending a bit of time ‘listening’ to what they are tweeting about first can be a good idea. That way you can establish common ground e.g. they like cats, went on holiday to Croatia and/or watch the TV show Casualty too. This can make it much easier to strike up a conversation later. 

Creating a great Twitter bio

Most people will decide whether they want to follow you within seconds of looking at your Twitter profile, which is why May King suggests spending some time getting this right. 

A good quality headshot is a must.  You can also use the cover picture (which sits just behind your profile pic) to promote your products/services. As May King puts it, this is basically your “billboard.” So for example, if you are running a live event, you can list the name of the event, date and venue and a call-to-action to buy a ticket. 

You can use a free design tool like Canva to create an attractive cover picture or hire a designer to create one for you. 

Make sure your bio (just 160 characters on Twitter) explains clearly what you do. If you have a branded hashtag (i.e. one you have created just for your business), you can add it into your bio. 

Twitter allows you to pin a tweet to the top of your feed (known as a ‘pinned tweet’). This is the first tweet, someone who follows you will see, so use this space wisely. You could share an amazing testimonial from a client and/or promote one of your products/services, changing it up as and when your priorities change.

What kind of content should you be sharing on Twitter

While there are no hard and fast rules about what to post on Twitter, as with all of your social media content, remember it’s not about you. It’s about adding value for your followers. Which is why the following types of content generally get good engagement: 

  • Content that educates your followers about your area of expertise e.g. helpful blog posts, tips, useful articles (and not just your own) 
  • ‘Live’ coverage of events you’re attending/speaking at (including photos and videos)
  • Conversation starters/polls 

Just because you’re using Twitter for business, doesn’t mean your content has to be serious. For example, May King recalls being at a conference and asking her followers whether they preferred pastries or fruit for breakfast (as that was what was on offer) and getting really good engagement. 

It’s important to give your followers a sense of the person behind the brand, which is why May King Tsang regularly tweets about her love of Karaoke singing and tea. While this might seem frivolous, it’s actually really important. 

“I think a lot of people, too many people are trying to jump five steps forward and try and close that deal but we can't close that deal before getting to know somebody getting to you know build a relationship with someone and build a rapport with someone and how do you get to know someone and build a rapport with someone? It is the small talk. The "What did you watch on TV? What did you get up to "at the weekend? Do you like bananas or apples?" That really helps build the relationship.

Podcast shownotes

  • How May King became a FOMO creator (04:25)
  • How Twitter works and how it can help your business  (11:49)
  • How to get publicity for your business by connecting with journalists on Twitter (17:00)
  • How Twitter chats can build your audience and business network (18:01)
  • How Twitter lists can reduce the noise and help you connect with prospects (22:37)
  • Key points about your Twitter bio and profile and why it needs to reflect what you do (28:07)
  • Types of content you can post on Twitter and why it’s really important to engage (32:32) 
  • How showing your personal side on Twitter can help people connect with you (36:56)
  • How to find clients and raise your profile on Twitter (41:21)
  • Why you need to ‘walk the talk’ and demonstrate you are an authority in your field on Twitter (45:40)

Resources

May King Twitter

[233] How to monetise your personal brand with Chris Ducker (podcast)

[247] How to find customers on Twitter with Samantha Kelly (podcast)

[259] How to build a loyal following on Twitter with Madalyn Skylar (podcast)

[267] How to get more engagement on Twitter (podcast)

[300] How to Build an audience and why you need to  (podcast) 

[334] How to build a large audience without paid advertising with Callie Willows (podcast)

[343] The three audiences you must build to create a successful online business (podcast) 

Buy your ticket to my 2020 Content Planning Masterclass #2020Sorted

Course: How to write social media posts that sell 

Build Your Audience Programme

Order your 2019 Media Diary 

Rev.com*

Kapwing

Social Media Video Engagement Playbook 

Social Media Engagement Playbook

LinkedIn Content Strategy Playbook

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

[354] How To Sell Out A Live Event Or Workshop (Even If You Have A Tiny Audience)

Do you like the idea of hosting a live event but worry you don’t have a big enough audience to sell enough tickets?

Perhaps you’ve tried hosting a live event or workshop but struggled to get enough bums on seats?

If any of this sounds familiar you’ll love this podcast interview with business coach and Expert Empires founder Nick James.

He fills large conference spaces with up to 1400 delegates and, in this episode, he shares practical tips and tactics on selling out your first live event, including how to identify the people who are most likely to attend your event (plus how to get them to buy a ticket).

He also talks about how to find joint venture partners i.e. people who have a similar audience to you who are willing to sell tickets on your behalf. Plus he shares bonus tips on how to land speaking gigs at other peoples’ events.

Nick relies heavily on email marketing and text messaging to promote his own live events, so you might be surprised at some of the advice he shares in this episode. But it is some of the best (and most honest) advice I’ve ever heard on this topic. He shares some priceless advice on building relationships in your industry (and why you need to).

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}

How to fill live events

If you’re interested in running your own live events, Nick’s advice is to start small but think big.

“In my experience, people dramatically overestimate what they can achieve in a year, but underestimate what they can achieve in ten,” he says.

So instead of starting with an event for hundreds of people, try putting on a small event for just 10 to 15 people. As you get more experienced, you can always go bigger.

He speaks from personal experience; just eight people attended his first event in 2009. A more recent event attracted over 1400 delegates.

When it comes to filling your first event (or an online course or programme) it’s always best to start with your hottest leads. These are generally people you know - those you’re working with right now or have done in the past. Which means personal outreach is likely to be far more effective than social media or email marketing.

And the more personalised the better. That’s why Nick favours picking up the phone, sending a WhatsApp message or a voicemail message on social media over email. In fact, if you need to fill an event or programme - and do it quickly - be believes email should be your last resort.

Nick uses both email marketing and text messaging in his marketing, but he still believes that personal outreach is the most effective way to fill an event or programme - particularly when you’re starting out and/or need to bring money into your business quickly.

“Generally speaking, observe the masses and do the opposite,” he says. “What everyone else is doing is sending blanket messages and emails. So, doing something like a voice note...will instantly make you stand out.”

If you’re worried sending personal messages will make you look desperate it’s probably because that’s how you feel. Which is all the more reason to invest time in personal outreach, as this is far more likely to bring money into your business quickly. Strategies like social media and email marketing are effective but typically take much longer to generate leads and sales. “It’s far too easy to hide behind your laptop,” says Nick. “You post can post loads of content, and videos out on Facebook, and LinkedIn, and that’s all very nice…but if it isn’t actually getting anywhere you need to change what you’re doing.”

How to use joint ventures to sell out your live event

Teaming up with people who already have an audience you’d like to get in front of  - otherwise known as ‘joint ventures’ - can be a great way to sell out events, courses and online programmes when you’re just starting out.

But there is a right and a wrong way to approach joint ventures, says Nick. First off, a joint venture has to offer a fair exchange of value for both parties. So if you’re just starting out in your business, approaching someone with a massive audience and asking them to promote your products/services is unlikely to be an effective strategy.

Nick suggests starting with existing relationships. Who do you know who already has your audience, or has people in their audience that would be a good fit for you or products or services? What could you offer them that would represent a fair exchange of value for introducing you to their audience?

It’s worth remembering that for someone who already has an audience, money (offering affiliate payments for example) may not be enough. You have to ask yourself why they would promote your products/services when they could be promoting their own (and making more money for doing so).  This is why there is no substitute for relationship building before you even thinking about launching an event or programme.

“There really is no substitute for good, old-fashioned relationship-building,” says Nick Time in the saddle, building your reputation, building those connections over a long period of time.”

The first question he asks any prospective affiliate/joint venture partner is ‘how can I help you?’ - rather than the other way round.

How to land speaking opportunities

If you’re interested in speaking at other peoples’ events, relationships are equally as important, says Nick. He is frequently approached by people he has no prior relationship with asking if they can speak at his events.

"And I’m like...well, okay. So, I've just spent £200 000 on this event, and now you want to come, and speak on my stage. And what exactly is it that you're doing for me?" Because I'm spending a fortune here, and I'm putting a lot of my time, and energy, and my team's resources into doing this event.”

For Nick, it all comes down to relationships. If you want to speak at a particular event or attract a particular joint venture partner, start by thinking about what you can do for them.

This might include:

  • Buying a ticket to their event so you can meet them in person and get a feel for the event (it also shows you have skin in the game)
  • Investing in one of their products/services
  • Inviting them onto your podcast/Youtube channel - so they can benefit from getting in front of your audience
  • Spreading the word about them on social media

And relationships win over money every single time, he says. “There are plenty of people that I would happily JV [joint venture] with, promote their products and services, for zero financial gain for me. And then there are more people that I would never promote, even with financial gain. So, it doesn't come down to the commercial deal... the relationships will outweigh the commercial value of the partnership every single time.”

Podcast shownotes

  • Nick's business story (02:52)
  • Where to start with live events and why you should start small (5:19)
  • How to fill a live workshop or event (and why personal outreach is the best way) (9:08)
  • Attendees (15:43)
  • How to find the hottest leads for your events and stop hiding behind your laptop (18:53)
  • Tactics for building relationships for event joint ventures (22:58) 
  • Why good old fashioned relationships are your biggest asset  (25:25)
  • The first question to ask when approaching a partner for a joint venture (29:33)
  • How relationships are key for choosing speakers and sponsors at your event (32:32)
  • Why the success of an event stems from good relationships (36:28)

Resources

Nick’s website Seriously Fun Business

Nick James Expert Empires Facebook

Nick James LinkedIn

[300] How to Build an audience and why you need to  (podcast) 

[ 334] How to build a large audience without paid advertising with Callie Willows  (podcast) 

[343] The three audiences you must build to create a successful online business (podcast) 

How I chose the speakers for build your audience live  (blog post)

How to add captions to your video using Kapwing and Rev.com (blog post)

Buy your ticket to my 2020 Content Planning Masterclass #2020Sorted

Find out more about my Build Your Audience Programme

Order your 2019 Media Diary

Rev.com*

Kapwing

Social Media Video Engagement Playbook 

Social Media Engagement Playbook

LinkedIn Content Strategy Playbook

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

[283] How meet ups can help you make sales in your business

I’ve recently started running pop-up meet ups in town and cities where I’m speaking/working. It’s helped me make a deeper connection with existing clients and generate 3.5k of new business (in a matter of weeks).

In this episode, I share why meet ups are now part of my marketing strategy - along with practical tips on running your own (regardless of whether you have  product or service-based business).

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why I initially resisted the idea of hosting meet ups (6:08) 
  • How I organise my meet ups (including venues and costs) (10:00) 
  • The impact of hosting meet ups on my business (including sales!) (14:26)
  • My tips on running your own meet ups (17:13) 
  • Ideas for meet ups if you have a product-based business  (22:58) 

Resources

Content Live 2018

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

Love Marketing Membership Wait List

Margate Meet Up - 14 August 2018

Afternoon tea Meet Up 9 August 2018

How to write awesome sales copy - fast - with Sarah Cooke

What should I include in my email newsletter with Heidi Wall

How to use your personal story to sell your products and services with Ali Ribchester

How to make money from live events (podcast episode)

How to create sellout live events (podcast episode)

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community: tips & advice for promoting your business

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Review of Your Year In PR 2017

Attending a live workshop or conference can be an inspiring experience. Taking a break from the day-to-day routine - and connecting with like-minded business owners - can leave you full of ideas for your business.

But with so much valuable content being shared, it can also leave you feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering if there is anything you’ve missed. With that in mind, here is a review of the highlights of Your Year in PR on November 23 and 24.

You may also find this post useful if you couldn’t make it along this year and/or are considering coming along to a future Soulful PR event. If you run your own events, you might also find this an interesting behind-the-scenes account of how we run ours.

The concept

Your Year In PR is a media planning masterclass for small business owners.  The aim of coming along is to create a long term PR plan for your business - one that sets out what kind of content you’re going to publish, when and where - on your blog/vlog (if you have one), email newsletter, social media platforms and in the press - across the coming year.

The guests

This year’s event attracted 75 delegates (mainly small business owners) - from all over the UK including Inverness in Scotland and Devon - and featured two expert speakers (one from Ireland, the other from Malta).

Delegates included a wide range of both product and service-based business. I’ve listed some examples below.

Service- based businesses: design, yoga and pilates instructors, relocation consultancy, PR/marketing consultancy, photography, tailoring, furniture design, business coaching , virtual assistants 

Product-based businesses: subscription gift boxes, jewellery, wine, dog clothes, healthy snacks, haircare products, books, bridalwear, cakes and brownies

Nine delegates opted for a VIP ticket which included a two-hour mastermind with me and the other expert speakers, including 20 minutes to talk specifically about their own business and get feedback from other delegates and speakers.

Based on feedback from last year’s event, we introduced a second day of training this year, which gave a smaller group of delegates a chance to reflect on their learning from Day 1 (for which the focus was planning) and get support with content creation. This proved really popular. In fact we may look at making the event two-day ticket only next year.

The Venue

For the second year running the event has been held at The Trampery, a co-working space in trendy Shoreditch, East London. We used the ballroom, a versatile space that includes a 12-metre long art installation by acclaimed London designers, Bad Marriage.

The Trampery

The speakers

Kate McQuillan, founder of Petsitters Ireland who talked about how she uses content to generate cash in her business and video marketing expert LivestreamKatya.

LiveStreamKatya
Kate McQuillan, from Petsitters Ireland

The gift bags

The contents were provided by small business owners - so we supported them by taking lots of pictures/video of their products and tagging them on social media including our event hashtag #YYIPR17.

JING TEA

BORDER IN A BOX

NUTMAD

PAUL WAYNE GREGORY CHOCOLATIER

CORPORATE CAKERY LTD

Delegates loved opening their gift bags when they arrived
The gift bags included lots of treats, including a copy of my book Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart

The marketing strategy

Tickets ranged from £210+VAT for an earlybird ticket for Day 1 only to £585+VAT for a last minute VIP ticket.  This included a 2018 media diary which guests used in the masterclass for their planning.

To create ‘buzz’ about the event, before the tickets went on sale, we shared our ideas for the event artwork in my Facebook group and invited members to give their feedback.

The event was mainly marketed by email with regular updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I also talked about the event on the Soulful PR Podcast which definitely led to ticket sales.

In the run up to the event, I created eight blog posts aimed at helping guests to get the most out of the event. You can read them here:

How to prepare for Your Year in PR

Eight common concerns about attending Your Year In PR 

Reasons to attend Your Year In PR 

5 reasons to blog about attending a live event

How to write a blog post about an event you're attending 

7 non-sucky networking tips for live events 

How to use social media to stand out at a live event 

I also created a dedicated Facebook Community, Twitter list and held a pre-event briefing call, using the video conferencing software Zoom to allow guests to ‘meet’ one another ahead of the event.

I also encouraged guests to create preview content ahead of the event, which led to 12 pieces of content, which you can read here:

Why attending Your Year in PR is a no-brainer …for a PR

Nine tips for attendees using Twitter at live events 

4 reasons why I’m attending Your Year in PR (and how I intend to make the most of it!)

How to stay gentle when doing PR

3 Reasons Why I’m Attending Your Year in PR 2017 next week…

3 reasons why I am not letting another year pass without a plan #YYIPR17

How to Prepare for a Live Event

Planning an awesome 2018

Three reasons why you should outsource your event social media

Why your photography business needs a content marketing and PR strategy 

Why my business mistakes led me to Your Year In PR 2017

3 steps that will help you towards success

A ten-day email ‘countdown’ sequence helped create excitement ahead of the event (and made sure all our guests were completely clear about where they needed to be, when). Including shareable images like the example below encouraged guests to start using the event hashtag - #YYIPR17 -  well ahead of the event. So it was no surprise to hear we were trending on Twitter on the first morning. 

Guests were able to download the countdown images to use on their own social media and blog posts

 

YYIPR17 - trending on Twitter just behind Thanksgiving!

The workbook

At every event, I set myself the challenge of creating the best workbook ever and I hope this one was no exception. As well as the standard programme information, I included templates, checklists and cheat sheets to help with content planning and creation. The workbook also included pictures and social media handles for all of the guests and speakers - something that proved really popular with delegates.

Day 1

Session 1: Creating your annual PR plan with Janet Murray

I kicked off the first day of the event by inviting delegates to set their content intentions for the coming year (i.e. what content they were intending to publish on their blog/vlog, in their email marketing, on social media and in the press).

Then I showed them  how to personalise their media diary adding key dates and awareness days that were relevant to their business/brand (in addition to those provided in their diary). This sparked many ‘lightbulb’ moments in terms of content they might be able to create throughout the year.

Next I showed them how to created a yearly overview, including the key pieces of content they intended to create and the key ‘moments’ in their business for each quarter.

Session 2: Creating quarterly and weekly content plans with Janet Murray

In this session, I showed delegates how to take their annual plan and turn it into quarterly plan which maps out what kind of content you are going to create each week of each quarter. I challenged them to get content ideas pencilled in for the whole of the first quarter, which many of them did.


Session 3: How to turn your content into cash with Kate McQuillan

In this session, Kate McQuillan, founder of Petsitters Ireland showed how she uses content (on her blog, social media, email marketing and in the press) to generate leads and sales in her business. She also showed how she has launched a national competition and a national survey to build brand awareness and get national press coverage for her business.

Session 4: Developing  a repurposing mindset with Janet Murray

In this session I shared a case study (of the recent launch of my online course in traditional PR - Soulful PR for Starters) showing how I took one piece of content (the sales page) and turned it into dozens of pieces of content to promote the launch. I also broke down my launch strategy (and shared the numbers).

Mastermind

Nine delegates choice to stay on for a two-hour mastermind session in which they got 20 minutes in the hotseat to talk about their business challenges. We served beer, wine and nibbles at this session, which created a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

The social

On the first evening, 38 delegates joined us at The Bike Shed in Shoreditch - a funky venue with a restaurant, barbers and motorcycle shop - for dinner. This was a really great way to relax and do some informal networking.

Day 2

Session 1: The six types of blog post you should be creating regularly

We spent the first hour of the day exploring the different kinds of content small business owners should be creating:

  1. ‘How to’
  2. Cost questions
  3. Problems (issues and drawbacks)
  4. Dealing with objections
  5. Costs and comparisons: your product versus another (or others) in the industry
  6. Reviews

Want to know more? Listen to this podcast: six types of blog post you should be creating regularly.

The workbook included tons of examples of each kind - for both product and service based businesses.

We also looked at how to write blog posts more quickly (including how to come up with SEO friendly headers).

The highlight of the session was the roundtable where each delegate got six minutes in the hotseat to discuss their business and get content  ideas from fellow delegates. Most ended the session with a long list of ideas for their blog/vlog.

Session 2: How to write engaging sales copy with Janet Murray

In this session I shared a technique I use regularly to write sales pages (including marketing emails, Facebook ads, social media updates) in 30 minutes or less. This was a real lightbulb moment for many delegates; they all created a workable draft sales page for an upcoming launch of a product/service in less than 10 minutes

Delegates all created a workable draft of a sales page in less than 10 minutes

Session 3: How to write engaging ‘shorts’

I opened this session by showing a list of my most popular email subject headers (for marketing emails) and inviting delegates to vote on the three they thought had the highest open rate. After revealing the answers, I shared the seven types of headline that get the most engagement, along with plenty of examples.

Session 4: Video marketing made simple with LivestreamKatya

In this session LiveStreamKatya shared practical tips and strategies for creating effective marketing videos. She even got delegates to make a video and post it on social media ‘live’ in the session.

Video marketing expert Livestream Katya encouraged delegates to create a video and post it on social media in her session

Session 5: Writing articles for the press with Janet Murray

In this session, I shared the three kinds of content you might be asked to write by a journalist: a first person/confessional style article, an opinion article or a ‘how to’ article.

Having already discussed ‘how to’ articles (in the context of the kind of content you might publish on your own blog), I felt it was best to focus on opinion articles. As well as discussing how to come up with ideas for opinion articles and pitch them to journalists, delegates got another five minutes in the hotseat in a roundtable session to brainstorm ideas for opinion articles.

Delegates love the roundtable sessions at Your Year In PR

While there are always things to improve, overall I think it was an incredible value-packed event. While the speakers provided immense value, guests also gained so much from spending a couple of days with like-minded business owners who share their visions and values. The roundtable sessions - a new feature I’ve introduced this year - were particularly popular with delegates. With the support of my team, I put my heart and soul into creating an unforgettable experience at Your Year In PR, so it was touching to see relationships being formed that will last for years to come.

Would you like to attend Your Year in PR 2018? Register your details here and you'll be the first to find out when super early bird tickets go on sale.

 

5 reasons to blog about attending a live event

If you’re attending a live event, there’s a good chance you’ll be taking photos, video and sharing your experience on social media.

Here’s five reasons why you should turn that content into a blog/vlog after the event.

1.It will help you process your learning

Attending a live event can be overwhelming. There is so much information coming from so many different sources, it’s easy to miss things. Taking time to reflect on the content is a great way to gather together all the practical advice and tips shared at the event.

It can also help you identify key personal takeaways, as Marketing Coach and Strategist at Strath Communications, Jennifer MacDonald-Nethercott did in her post my action points from Build Your Audience Live 2019.

2. It will help you document your progress - and give you accountability

Taking a day or two out of your usual routine to attend a live event is good for you. You’ll leave on a high: refreshed, inspired and full of ideas. But when you get back to the desk - and the stresses of daily life - it’s easy to get bogged down and forget about all your exciting plans.

Reflecting on your experience can be a great way to share your journey with your own audience, but also provide them with interesting and useful content, as Niki from The Simplicity Concept did with her blog my key takeaways from Janet Murray’s Build Your Audience Live event in London.  

You could even turn your preview piece into a piece of valuable content for your audience. Bespoke tailor Dara Ford and personal stylist Tracy Jayne Hooper have done this brilliantly with their posts on how to dress for a conference.

But don’t wait until after the event to start sharing — the build up to an event can provide a springboard for blog ideas too. In her post why I’m attending Build Your Audience Live 2019, Olivia Vandyck from Gingham Cloud talks about which presentations she was most looking forward to and what she wanted to learn. She even grabbed the opportunity to let her audience know what she’d be wearing at the event so they could recognise her on the day.

The more you prepare for attending a live event - including setting out expectations for how you want to learn and grow - the more likely you are to get a return on investment.

Setting expectations for what you want to learn at a live event can be invaluable.

3. You can turn it into a valuable piece of content for your audience

When you attend a live event, you’ll undoubtedly pick up tips and strategies you can apply in your own business. You may also take away useful learning you can share with your clients or customers.

Dr Jo North, creator of Idea Time, turned her experience of attending the Build Your Audience Live event into a post on the best 75 tips and hacks to build your online audience in 2019. Adelaide Goodeve, a coach for veteran and budding triathletes, also followed up on attending Build Your Audience Live by creating a post on how to use Instagram stories for your next event. Self-confessed crazy dog lady and content consultant Rachel Spencer took the opportunity to share expert social media tips from Build Your Audience Live with her own audience.

If you offer a product/service to other businesses (B2B) it’s usually easy to see how you can take your learning and turn into a valuable piece of content for your audience; a straightforward review of your time at the event can be useful.

If you sell to consumers (B2C) it can feel more challenging (but isn't - honestly!). The trick is to make it all about solving your prospective customers' problems or addressing their desires - just as you do in your regular blog posts.  

So potential titles might be:

  1. Three things we’ve improved about our customer service since attending X event
  2. Why we decided to offer [insert benefit e.g. free postage or shorter delivery times] to our customers after attending X event
  3. How attending X event helped us launch our new [insert new product]
  4. How attending X event made us realise we needed [insert new feature e.g. live chat on the website, shorter delivery times, a monthly newsletter, a loyalty scheme]
  5. Why we’re spending more time on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter* since attending X event

Remember that you don’t need to have implemented the changes in your follow-up blog post - you just need to set your intention. Your blog content can simply be a straight ‘review’ of what you’ve learned (as in many of the examples I’ve shared). The important thing is that you make it relevant to your audience.

Do also bear in mind the fact you’re investing time and money in attending live events sends a powerful message to prospective and existing customers: if you care about your personal and/or business development, you’ll care for them too.

4. You’ll get more traffic on your website (and some visitors will buy from you)

When you blog about your experience of attending an event, you’re creating an evergreen piece of content that can be shared on social media. It will also send people over to your website to find out more about you do - for years to come (just look at all the blogs I’ve linked to in this post). 

My review of Content Live contains some of the pre-event blogs produced by the delegates at my live event in the summer of 2018.

Additionally, many of the delegates blogs appear in what it's really like to attend a Janet Murray event.

5. You’ll build relationships

Live events can be busy and you may not get the chance to speak to every single person you’d like to at the event. Creating a piece of content about the event helps keep the conversation going with speakers, delegates and the organisers - long after the event has finished.

It also makes you more memorable. When you create a blog post about your experience of an event, it’s a big fat reminder to everyone who attended of who you are and what you do. Kate Beavis and Dara Ford both created fashion related blogs about Soulful PR Live because - amongst other things - they want people to remember what their own businesses are.  Kate, a vintage fashion expert, wrote 4 reasons why I wear vintage fashion to business events and Dara, a contemporary bespoke tailor for women, wrote why you should always carry a scarf to a business lunch or conference.  

Tim Lewis's review of the Soulful PR Live conference, was a great way to review an event AND share the content created by other delegates, putting him front of mind with everyone.  And, similarly, Kat Quinzel wrote a really shareable blog about what happens when a conference is organised by women which really resonated with the predominantly female audience.

Remember also that event organisers will be keen to share your blog with their audience on social media and in any relevant online communities e.g. Facebook groups - getting your content in front of a bigger audience than you could hope for on your own blog.

Speakers will also be keen to share your content - particularly if they’re mentioned - which means you can tag them in on social media and, potentially, get your content in front of an even bigger audience.

As with Kate Beavis, when you create a blog post about your experience at an event, it reminds people who you are and what you do.

If you haven't yet booked to attend a live event in 2019, why book yourself onto my next event, #2020 Sorted, taking place in November in the East Midlands? You can do that here.

How to prepare for Your Year in PR

Committing to attend Your Year in PR, whether for just one day or for both days, is a big investment of your time and money. To get the most out of the experience, preparation is vital.

There is nothing more annoying than arriving at an event feeling flustered because you’re late, don’t have everything you need – or even that you haven’t got the dress code right for the occasion.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about preparing for Your Year in PR.

1.Set up a dedicated email folder for Your Year in PR

Redirect any mail relating to Your Year in PR to the folder, so you can find emails relating to the event easily - including when the pre-event call is and the directions you'll need on the day.

Whitelist my email address (i.e. add it to a safe list of emails) to ensure they don’t end up in spam. The method for doing this will vary according to your email provider, but if you Google ‘how to whitelist an address with [INSERT NAME OF EMAIL PROVIDER]’ you can easily find instructions.

2.Introduce yourself in the Your Year in PR Facebook Group and connect with other delegates

Attending live events is not just about the speakers; you also get to connect with like-minded business owners you might end up working with in the future.  But walking into a conference can be hard – particularly when you don’t know many people.

Even if you haven’t met in person, it’s much easier to walk into an event when you ‘know’ people from social media.  There's a private Facebook Group for Your Year in PR delegates. This is the place to get to know people, pose questions (both to myself and other delegates) and have conversations.  Do go ahead and introduce yourself to everyone.

The Your Year in PR delegates 2017

4.Join Twitter (if you haven’t already)

Twitter is the social media network where most journalists hang out - and when you're planning your content and PR for the year ahead, you'll find that Twitter is a great place to share your content. So if you’re not already active on Twitter, you should think about setting up an account and starting to use it.  (It's not essential, just something I recommend). 

If you’re a complete newbie, this article on how to get started with Twitter is a useful guide.

Your Year in PR has a dedicated Twitter hashtag you can use before, during and after the event (#YYIPR17) which can be a great way to find and stay in touch with other delegates.

If you want to get more experience of using Twitter, do join my #soulfulprhour Twitter chat on Sunday evenings 8-9pm (BST). If you're a complete newbie, read my guide on how to take part in a Twitter chat.

You might also want to follow our Your Year in PR Twitter list.

5. Research the venue and book travel in advance

The last thing you want is to arrive at the event late, sweaty and flustered, having spent half an hour running around looking for the venue. So book your travel well in advance if you can, get the exact address of the venue and plan your route from the station/airport/car park. Booking travel well in advance can also help you save money on attending the conference.

Plan to arrive early if you can (the doors open at 9:15am), but unless it is unavoidable, we would ask you not to arrive before that time. The hour or so leading up to the start of an event can be a busy (and sometimes stressful) time. Allowing us to get on with our preparations uninterrupted will help you have a much better conference experience (and give you time to gather your thoughts before you arrive). There are plenty of cafes around, including Shoreditch Grind,  Look Mum No Hands and Central Street Cafe, where you can grab a coffee.

6. Study the conference schedule

Spend some time familiarising yourself with the conference schedule, including the time the doors open and timings for breaks and lunch. This will help you plan for networking opportunities. Many conferences have networking over coffee and/or breakfast before the event start, which can be a great time to connect with others delegates and introduce yourself to speakers.  We'll post the Your Year in PR schedule here as soon as it's confirmed.

7. Do some background reading

If there are topics being covered in the conference that are unfamiliar to you, it can be a good idea to do some background reading.  My book, Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart, is a great starting point for Your Year in PR delegates (but is absolutely not compulsory) and will be particularly helpful if you're fairly new to PR.

 

If you're new to PR my book is a great starting point but is absolutely not compulsory

8. Organise your marketing materials

Make sure you have plenty of up-to-date business cards to share with people you meet at the event and any other materials you might want to share. For example, even if I’m not speaking at an event, I usually take along some copies of my book and media diary which often results in online sales.

9. Consider blogging about your experience

Attending a live event can be overwhelming. There is so much information coming at you, it can be easy to miss things. Reflecting on your experience and setting goals can be a great way to document your experienceYou may also be able to turn it into useful content for your own audience.

I’d recommend writing a ‘before’ and ‘after’ blog post. Stating publicly on your blog that you are attending an event also gives you accountability (telling your audience you’re learning how to plan your PR strategy means you have to follow through, right?).

Here's some content the delegates from my Soulful PR Live event created:-

Why I’ve decided to attend a PR conference by Adanna Bankole

How to overcome secret nerves about attending networking events by Clare Josa

How to prepare for an important conference by Cathy Wassell

Into the lion’s den: five mindset strategies that will have you waking into a conferences feeling like you can take on the world by Rebecca Morley

Keeping your energy high at live events – five top tips by Raphaelle Cox

10. Do a technology check

Your Year in PR delegates are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to the event, but a pen and paper will do just fine.

If you are bringing some tech, make sure all your electronic devices are fully charged before the event. The venue does have wall sockets, but only a handful – some of which will be in use for the audio and visual equipment – so don’t rely on them being available.

Personally I always carry a portable charger for my phone and it’s definitely worth investing in one. I use the Juice Bar.

It’s also worth checking you have enough memory on your phone for taking photos and videos at the event.

Oh and don’t forget your favourite notebook and pen. We will have spare paper and pens, but collecting your thoughts in one place is usually much better than scribbling on scraps of paper that can easily be lost.  And of course, you'll be picking up your 2018 Media Diary at the event!

11. Plan your outfit (yes really!) 

Your Year in PR delegates are generally casual/smart casual, which is pretty typical of most conferences these days, so anything goes, but if you run your own business, you are your brand. It’s worth thinking about how you want that brand to be perceived and how that is reflected in your personal appearance on the day.

Do bear in mind that you will be sitting around for long periods of time and that the venue is air-conditioned so can get chilly (so having a jumper or cardi in your bag is a good idea). And if you go for killer heels, you might be glad of a change of shoes for the journey home.

12. Design your follow-up strategy (and block out time for it)

It’s easy to leave a conference full of brilliant ideas – that’s what events are all about. Sadly, it’s just as easy to get bogged down the minute you get back to your desk,  forget everything you’ve learned and not follow up on the opportunities you’ve created. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally as soon as you get back to your desk) to reflect on what you’ve learned and follow up on the connections you’ve made.

The great news for Your Year in PR delegates is that we’ve created Day 2 of the event as a content creation day, an opportunity to really get to grips with all the learning from day one, and start to formulate a plan to put into action everything they’ve learnt.

Like the idea of starting 2018 with a fully-fleshed out PR plan for your business?  Why not join me and an inspirational group of like minded people at Your Year in PR in London on November 23 & 24.