5 ideas to create a more engaging media event

By Kelly Limpert, Digital Media Content Producer

Whether you’re planning an event for a small crowd or you’re gearing up to create the party of the century, the guest experience must be considered at every step along the way.

It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own message, goals and branding when you start to plan an event. Event success isn’t only measured in attendance, but in overall engagement.

Recently I attended an educational event hosted in the lovely San Antonio, Texas area, and I was surprised by some of the event’s little quirks. Organizers gave away selfie sticks for a social media contest, they set aside time for networking and socializing in the evenings (hooray for a free happy hour!) and they even brought in a mariachi band.

That got me thinking: What would engage me? Taking your event—especially if you’re catering specifically to the media—to the next level isn’t an easy task, but here are a few ideas you could use to add a bit of spice to your next function.

1. Let the best person win.

What better way to bring a little fun to your event than catering to your guests’ competitive side?

Some potential ideas you could implement are:

  • Photo contest. Either a best selfie or best photo of the event wins.
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Trivia hour
  • Twitter contest. Ask a question via Twitter that rewards the most creative answers and let the wacky answers roll in. Then organizers judge answers to decide the winner.

event_selfie_kelly_diane_3 event_selfie_kelly_diane_1 event_selfie_kelly_diane_2

These selfies of the author and managing editor Diane Sofranec didn’t win the event contest, but they certainly could have.

2. Create a hashtag.

Creating a contained public forum for your event will give your attendees the opportunity to voice their opinions (which offers you feedback for future events), and expand the reach of your event and company on social media. It really is a win-win.

3. Develop an online presence specifically for your event.

Piggybacking off the previous idea, it would be worthwhile to create a group on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ as a place to build up the event. This will be a place where attendees can start their own discussions about the event, and you can post previous footage, pictures or teasers to generate some excitement.

4. Bring your content A-game.

As I mentioned before, it’s easy to get caught up in your own messaging and forget to ask what your guests would like to be learning or doing.

Consider these suggestions for making the guest feel appreciated:

  • Don’t wait until post-event surveys to learn what your attendees’ expectations are. Add in a few questions during registration and try to plan a few last-minute activities and sessions around that.
  • Send relevant, personalized emails about what attendees may like to get out of your event based on their responses.

5. Network.

Don’t take this for granted. If you’re hosting an event, you’re also attending. Particularly with media events, this face-time is essential to a positive experience for your guests. Mingling, socializing, networking, whatever you want to call it is a necessary part of any event. By facilitating those relationships you will improve the overall experience and provide a time for guests to unwind and relax while also getting to know you and other attendees.


Kelly Limpert joined North Coast Media in 2015 and has covered events for Pest Management Professional.