10 Essential Event Planning Tips (Best Event Planning Checklist)

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So why create an event planning checklist? Well, every event planner wants attendees to come away from their events with absolutely no idea that the reality of putting on an event of any kind, and pulling it off seamlessly, is pretty difficult. Or at least it is if you have no experience of event planning, contingency plans and lateral thinking.

That's because stuff can and may well go awry at some stage. Speakers might suddenly be unavailable, despite the claims of tech giants everywhere gremlins remain a omnipresent threat for organisations ranging from universities to banks. Meanwhile, oversights and forgetfulness are surely the biggest cause for concern.

At Eventcube we're confident in our platform, from ticketing to virtual event environments, so you can forget about those concerns. And as for the stuff you can't predict, we've covered this below in a rundown that should ensure you and your event can't go too far wrong. Introducing the only event planning checklist you will ever need.

Our 10 essential event planning tips for your checklist are:

  1. Do a feasibility assessment
  2. Draw up your plans and set goals, objectives and budgets
  3. Decide on the content and USPs for your event
  4. Source brand partnerships for your event
  5. Create your event name and branding
  6. Decide on how you will sell tickets/market your event
  7. Decide on staffing requirements
  8. Create your event schedule & running order
  9. Do the final checks
  10. Be ahead of schedule on the day

1. Do a feasibility assessment

Let's say you have a great idea for an event. That's all well and good, but sadly the world is full of great ideas that prove to be impractical.

Before you even start to think about the next steps here take on the role of a boss or investor, even if you don't actually answer to anyone. And that means asking yourself 'does this really sound feasible and deliverable?' There are some great tips for how to do a rigorous feasibility assessment over on Project Manager.

2. Draw up plans as soon as possible

The basic planning stage for any event needs to start as easy as possible, once given the green light. This can be sub-categorised as follows:

Goals and objectives

Identify the reason you're putting on the event in the first place. Marketing? Sales? Reputation management? Education? Entertainment? The list could go on. Now, work out how many people you'd like to see attend, and what sort of venue the event should be held in real world or online. Initial branding ideas should also factor here.

The budget

While many of the finer details won't be clear yet, by now you need to know the budget for investment. This will dictate the amount you have to spend on content, from keynote speakers to rock bands, promotion, hospitality and staffing. If you have already put on events in the past, use previous figures for anything you don't have quotes for yet.

The date

Choosing when to put on an event is far from straightforward. We would advise that you begin by identifying calendar dates that should be avoided, and there are more of those than Christmas or New Year's Day. Watch out for all public holidays, major sporting events and so forth. It's also a good idea to keep an eye on potential competition that could steal attendees away. Here are some more pointers on picking the perfect date.

Venue and necessary infrastructure

This is less difficult if you're focusing entirely online, naturally we recommend using Eventcube's virtual event platform, which can offer anything from a ticketed live stream to fully immersive digital environment. For real world and mixed reality events, obviously it's a question of budget, requirements and capacity.

Venue chosen, identify what equipment, technology and logistics are needed to make this happen, which also include website development and opening social media accounts.

3. Decide on the content and USPs for your event

It seems a bit crass to refer to what happens during an event as 'content', but really that's the best word to use because it doesn't always have to be a person that takes centre stage. It could be anything from a puppet show or animated film to performance art troupe.

Again, budget is paramount here, you need to know how much you have to spend in order to work out who or what to try and book. Obviously you need to consider the total value of ticket sales within this, all other overheads and any desired profit margin at the end of it all.

Content is about more than personal taste, too. Or at least it usually is. It's a wise idea to do some market research into what or who is pulling the audience numbers within a sector, scene or subject area.

OK, next start to think about what you can offer them in return for time and energy, this is what we call 'the sell'. Once fine-tuned, reach out to those you're interested in, or 'their people'.

4. Source brand partnerships for your event

Once you have the date, venue, pricing and content in place you have everything needed to approach potential brand partners. Not only can this be a good way to bring in some new revenue, freeing up budget for production and delivery, as our blog on proven launch event ideas shows it can work wonders in terms of increasing marketing and PR reach, during, before and after the event.

5. Create your event name and branding

By now your event will be starting to take on a personality of sorts, with partnerships, content and objectives all combining to lure a specific audience. Remembering who that audience is has never been more important than at this stage.

Although the name of the event may be set in stone, consider this the last moment you have to fine-tune branding, from hereon in potential attendees are going to be invited and so there needs to be consistency in messaging and design. Check logos, social media and press releases tone of voice, while keeping a very close eye on any potential for offence or, worse still, mockery.

6. Decide on how you will sell tickets/market your event

The event is now ready to be put out into the big wide world, so you need to think about the following:

Ticketing

Eventcube's ticketing platform is second-to-none, and we unsurprisingly and unreservedly recommend using it. Prepare all types of ticket before beginning to market the event itself, with a crystal clear definition of what each tier gives attendees access to.

Marketing

Social media is the modus of choice for most event marketing in the 21st Century, and a successful social media event marketing campaign requires careful planning and an ability to change things up as and when is necessary. There are plenty of other options though, as our comprehensive list of 30 places to promote your event for free demonstrates.

To begin with, we would recommend identifying or better yet creating shareable content for the first few weeks of your push for publicity and attention. Social media management platform Buffer has some great ideas on perfecting this.

By now any web development should be finished, too, if you are building a website. If you are also marketing in the 'real world', all poster or flyer designs should be signed off providing there's consistency with overall event branding.

Once these steps are completed, launch the marketing campaign for your event.

7. Decide on staffing requirements

No event promoter or organiser is an island, or so someone should have once said. It can take up to a small army of staff to deliver a professional event, depending on scale, and once you are underway with promotion it's a wise idea to consider requirements for woman and manpower.

What technical support will you need on the day or dates of the event? Between then and now, will there be a need for more hands on the marketing deck? What organisational tasks are outstanding? Contracts, quotes and more may still need to be signed off, will there be enough people to do this and still make sure everything else is sorted? Here are some pointers on staffing events.

8. Create your event schedule & running order

So the word is out, the team has been put together, the talent or focal points confirmed. Now you need to piece together a schedule or running order for the event itself. Really this comes down to the times at which performers, speakers, musicians or whoever else is providing content are available from, and if they have other commitments on the same date.

9. Do the final checks

A week or so before the event is set to take place you'll want to run over every last detail that has been planned, and make sure it's all in place. This will include:

  • Confirming times of arrival for the entire team, including contractors and freelancers
  • Finalising transport arrangements for people delivering content
  • Running through an infrastructure checklist to avoid missing equipment
  • Review of decor and other design elements
  • If using a real world venue, conduct a final audit on-site logistics for things like attendee parking, check-in and departure

10. Be ahead of schedule on the day

Arguably the most important thing on this checklist aside from the whole 'don't leave anything to chance message', is this; be more than on-time when the big day arrives, be well-rested, alert and, most of all, enthusiastic. You've worked hard for this, so acknowledge the achievement.

Need more event planning advice?

We have tips on everything from creating virtual events, a virtual conference, a membership club for your business and much more. All with the aim of helping you grow your business. Have a read of some related content below: