7 Keys to Create a Compelling Event Description
Many elements are necessary to create a successful event description: nuance and finesse, salesmanship and restraint. However, all of those aspects come later. To start, your event description needs five essential components.
Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Not always in that order, and frequently, you will need more of some and less of others — but get those down on paper, and you have an event description.
The problem: it is not very compelling. It’s all facts, facts, facts without any flare. Yet, if you add too much flare, you risk burying your facts behind too much flashy language, and the intent of your description – to drive attendance – becomes lost.
Creating a compelling event description requires a delicate balance between facts and flare. Likely, the event description alone will not be enough to make someone who is undecided purchase a ticket. It will, however, either encourage someone to dive deeper or decide to move on to the next shiny object. In that important respect, the event description makes all the difference.
Write for Your Attendees
If you want to drive attendance to your event, you need to know what compels people to attend. That is the motivator behind how you craft your event description.
By this point, you should know your attendees, their motivations for attending your event, and what they hope to achieve by the time they leave. Keep the motivators in mind as you write the description. It is not enough to simply inform people about your event. You need to write to their emotions.
Back Up Your Claims with Facts
There is a risk when writing to emotions: falling into the trap of excessive hyperbole. If you overuse phrases like “the best,” “amazing,” “thrilling,” “unbeatable,” etc., your description will lack creditability. Not only do those words begin to sound amateurish when overused, but it turns your event description into an opinion piece instead of one filled with facts. Let the readers use their judgment.
That’s not to say that you can’t boast about your event and everything it has to offer, just that you need to back up those statements. For example, if you say that your event provides “unrivaled content,” follow that sentence with proof. You can list your keynote speaker’s credentials or state a few of your educational offerings.
Anyone who is reading your event description is looking for substance, not a bunch of empty, boisterous phrases. The sessions, speakers, and activities of your event should be able to sell themselves without you needing to resort to hollow superlatives.
Urgency is not the same as empty hyperbole. If your event has a limited number of tickets or there is an early bird sale that will expire soon, that is information your readers need to know, and you need to emphasize it.
Phrases such as “limited time,” “act now,” “limited availability,” and the like are powerful motivators – as long as they are real. Today’s audiences are very good at uncovering disingenuous and inauthentic descriptions. As with anything, if you misuse these phrases, people will doubt the entirety of your event description, and you are more likely to lose potential attendees.
Make the Description Easy to Skim
Writing for your attendees not only means pitching content in the way that will most appeal to them, but also thinking about where they are most likely to encounter this event description. Are they more likely to be behind a desk in a calm atmosphere or catching a glimpse of it as they are commuting to work or hustling from one meeting to the next?
We’re all busy, and there are hundreds of distractions vying for our attention at any given moment. People are highly likely to see your event description, scan it, and then – maybe – file it away to take action at a later date. That “maybe” depends on what they see as they scan.
Break your content into easily digestible sections and use bullet points when possible. There are also online tools that will grade your event description on its ease of readability.
Edit, Revise, then Edit Some More
Once you have your event description perfected, after you have stressed over every word and agonized whether to use a contraction or not, it is perfect, and no one can tell you otherwise.
Except, is it?
It’s time to seek someone else’s opinion. It is also time to be prepared not to like what you are about to hear. The problem with spending so much time crafting the perfect event description is that you can become too close to it and lose objectivity. When that happens, sentences that make perfect sense to you may be unclear to a reader. While you know what you are trying to say, the message may not be clear to others.
Ask your colleagues to review the event description, and, if you can, have someone from your target audience look it over. This person will best be able to tell you if the description energized them to want to find out more.
It’s always useful to have another set of eyes – or several – review an event description. The goal is to create the most compelling description possible. Often, that means removing lines you believe to be perfect. Trust these editors; frequently, they have much more objectivity than you.
A Thousand Words is Worth a Picture
While you want your words to paint a mental picture of your event, it is helpful to include an actual photo if you have the ability. However, try to avoid stock photography, and instead utilize for pics snapped at previous events. “Generic photo number 47 of multiethnic group smiling and laughing” will never be able to convey the feeling and energy that someone at your event will experience in-person.
If you cannot include a picture with the description, then add a link to a webpage that contains some photos.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
An event description cannot answer everyone’s questions about your event. In fact, it shouldn’t even try to. The intent of an event description is to pique someone’s curiosity, so they seek out more information about your event.
Make it easy for potential attendees to find these answers by including a link to your FAQ section.
The FAQs are where the real heavy lifting takes place. When thinking about what to include on this page, remember, this is all about your attendees. Continue to look at your event from their point of view. What information would be most helpful to them? Think about the attendee experience on day one. What issues are most likely to occur? Are there any bottlenecks that an FAQ could help overcome?
One question you need to answer is, “What is your refund policy?” The majority of potential attendees will want to know what will happen to their investment should they be unable to make the event.
As for the rest of the questions, it is best to focus on the information that will be most important to potential attendees. If you include too many questions, people could feel overwhelmed and discouraged that they cannot easily locate information.
For potential attendees, your event description is the first interaction many of them will have with your brand. Getting the description correct is crucial to ensuring it is not their last.