It was a generally shared sentiment that there might have been a little too many events in 2016. The conversation progressed into some asking whether it was a good thing that the number of events for Christians had increased. It has been our observation that there is a clique of Christians who attend most of the events in town. This situation might mean that there is fight for attention and having to choose which events to attend and those you can do without. To the events organisers, the fact that the same people are attending your events means, perhaps you are not giving us something fresh. Or, you are not reaching a wider audience in your marketing efforts.
This is the best advice anyone will give those who attend many events is, choose a few that suit your liking. Do not be caught in a rat-race, running from event to event, day in, day out. This is not applicable for those who work behind the scenes and must attend every event. The ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ is overrated. This even feels like shooting ourselves in the foot because we have brought you live updates from most events in Uganda. This also means we have been responsible for making many of you feel like you missed a lot. In all honesty, you actually did miss a lot. The way we approach this is, we consider ourselves the people responsible for letting you know if something is happening and why it might be of interest to you. The decision making ought to be yours alone. No one should miss an event they would have loved to attend simply because they did not know. We are not about to share with you the events we are excited about.
We wanted to let that out. Now, onto the things we think event organisers need to do in 2017 to avoid repeating some of the mishaps of 2016.
Announce the event dates and preliminary details at least three months ahead. Our hope is that at least 6 months ahead of an event, your concept is ready or at least being fixed. Announcing the event dates three months ahead should allow other organisers to avoid putting theirs close to yours if you are worthy of being considered competition or are reaching the same target audience.
The concept is something that, working with event organisers, we realised many ignore. This is supposed to be obvious. The Bible encourages the penning down of your vision and goals for a reason. It helps you. Next, it helps you convey the whys, hows, whens and how others can be of help to you. When you get in touch with us, before we get on board or not, we ask for a brief concept. The question that must be answered for us is mostly the ‘why?’ Why must people clear their program to come for your event and not that of some other organisers?
Also, as an event organiser, you need to answer this question. If you were in no way involved in organising the event in question, would you attend if you fell in the category of people being targeted?
Do you have a target audience in mind? This should be obvious, things like artistes you choose to have on your poster helps us understand what you are trying to achieve. Recently, we attended an event that had the worst mix of musicians. It is okay to try to go for diversity, if that is the concept. Sometimes, it is wise to decide to focus on one category of the target audience.
Find a great team to handle your Public Relations (PR), and all communications. Ensure to involve this team as early as you can. Even if you can do it, if you think that you might not have the time to do it, outsource. One of team-leader’s motto is, Communication is key. If the team does not understand what they are selling, it will be hard for them to have success. Make sure they handle everything, including communicating with the musicians, service providers, the different media houses etc. Recently, we attended an event where upto one hour after the event was supposed to start (they started commenced almost two and a half hours late), they had not communicated how the different media house were to access their press passes, and the same was applicable for some of the invited guests. This was an extremely unfortunate occurrence.
Next advice, please start on time. If your brand is attached to an event, as an organiser, you want to create the impression that anything that you put your hands on is highly organised. Starting late affects this very much, for those who are easily put off by such things. It is already hard enough to get people to make time for your event, you reward them by starting the show so late, why?
Some of you are using social media from the ‘me too’ angle. Actually, the focus should not even be on social media only but online media. Sometimes, those handling the PR and communication will handle your online media PR and content creation as well as social media plan and observing conversion rates. Other times, it will be one platform handling this. Please note, do not take this as simply posting the event dates, times and details daily on the different social media platforms. A successful social media campaign, as we have learned from experience, is one that requires a lot of intellect, understanding of the overall goal and will take a lot of metal energy. This is why you must provide enough dollars for the people handling your online communication to buy glucose, be at liberty to do whatever crazy ideas they have. Look at social media as a place for advertising. You would not expect the traditional media platforms like radio, TV, and print media to give you free airtime and advertising space. Do not expect the legit online media platforms that are serious about doing a great job to do it for free. It doesn’t work that way.
About the best produced and most attended Christian events of 2016, we wrote an article that you should read. We focused on the event production because this is something that needs to be addressed urgently. In addition to lacking a concept note (or simply a document explaining what an event is all about), during events, it sometimes felt like those in charge simply added musicians to their program and did not care to know what the musician would do. It is good to allow the musicians a chance to freely express themselves. Unfortunately, judging by what some of our top acts do, they mime their own music and sometimes sing five of their hit songs in 5 minutes – this does not work well will intentionally conveying a message of creating a lasting experience that can be talked about for many days afterwards. This has also meant that, once you see some of these musicians performing thrice, you know exactly what they will do. This is why we advocate for having an event producer to guide the musician or work with them to create something unique. Do not leave things to chance.
We hope that in 2017, there will be a lot more collaborative effort among musicians and the putting of resources together. Forgive us for making a mention of three events we thought would have been a lot more successful had the three musicians held one concert featuring the three of them. Imagine if Coopy Bly, Jackie Senyonjo and Seku Martin had all put their resources together and given their all in marketing the event, the sky would have not been the limit even. This is not to say that the mentioned events were not successful. We just think, it would have been bigger and better had they collaborated. On that note, perhaps DJ Awar, DJ Stef and DJ Twonjex should do a collaborative event in 2016. That is just a thought by the way.
If we had our own Lord’s Prayer, the line, Deliver us from the uncountable opening acts, would definitely not miss. Wouldn’t it be good if the main acts take the lion’s share of most events? Two or three should be enough, unless of course it is obvious that the musician is so ‘small’ that they must lean on the support of many ‘bigger’ artistes.
Also, how about those musicians with one hit single avoid putting up shows and first focus on creating enough great content, unless they have a really great concept that does not rely on their one song?
As an event organiser, we say this to the Christian ones, avoid lying to the public. Why announce a musician when you are certain they will not perform at your event? Also, if in fact something happens along the way, it is common courtesy to simply communicate or apologise with valid reasons. You need to avoid coming off as a crook.
Finally, competition is good. Compete by simply doing the best job conveying to people why yours is the event they must attend and by making sure as many people get to know everything they need to know using all the media you think will get you the best mileage online, on radio, Tv, and print.
Hopefully this helps you.
Wishing you the best in 2017, we will tag along.