The Small-Scale Host’s Starter Pack - 5 Things You Need to Know When Marketing Your Event
10th Feb 2023
We asked Humanitix Host Dan Brophy to share with us their secret sauce for throwing the best small-scale events...
I’m Dan Brophy, I am a creative coach (website / LinkedIn) and the founder of the strategic content agency, Brophy (Instagram / website).
On Thursday, February 16, I’ll step onto a small stage at the Abstract Thoughts Gallery on Taylor Square, Sydney, to present a talk on the intersection of two of my favourite topics: Madonna and the importance of dance spaces for wellbeing.
I took the leap into making an offering to host an event for Sydney World Pride because:
I can no longer mention ‘the M word’ around my boyfriend without him supportively suggesting that I do something with all of my overzealous pop culture opinions.
And, as someone who sees the dance floor as an integral part of my own self-care process, I was determined to push the needle for members of the community, to regard queer dance spaces as an opportunity to connect with and engage with themselves - as well as each other.
It’s the first time I am running an event such as this. However, after fifteen years of making digital content, I look at every prospective logistical challenge through the lens of a producer: what are the systems that I need to put into place in advance so that the talent - in this case, me - can be as available as possible in the moment.
Like a good party, if the host is living, so too will their guests.
When I'm not curating events; as a creative coach and consultant, I often work with individuals and teams looking to launch or market a brand, campaign, or product. Regardless of the scale, the checkpoints are the same…
Here are the five things an event host should consider when marketing a small-scale event.
1. Who is your target audience?
You may even like to create ‘avatars’ that allow you to understand the scope of your audience, and thus, their various WIIFM’s (‘What’s in it for me?’). This will allow you to choose the right messaging on the right platform in order to reach that particular consumer.
In my instance, I might be speaking to:
A. John, 50s, has loved Madonna since Holiday. He will find out about my event through a post shared on a Madonna community Twitter account.
Like me, he would show up to anything that was related to his favourite topic, so messaging on this platform would be geared towards fandom.
B. Tamica, 30s, is looking for something fun - but not too full-on - to do for World Pride. She likes Madonna but is mainly looking forward to having a cultural night out.
She will find out about the event because she is on a mailing list for my creativity podcast (The Dan Brophy Show). Messaging on this platform will focus on the pop-culture analysis angle.
C. AJ, 20s, is a media studies student. They don't know much about Madonna.
They will find out about the event through a friend sharing it to Instagram, so messaging on this platform will speak to the ‘dance immersion’ by the DJ, Jason De Cox, who has built a name for himself within the queer party community.
2. What does your marketing consist of?
Once you know who you're speaking to, what do you want them to know?
I recommend that you start building a ‘copy bank’, a one-stop shop that will house the text that will provide the basis of all social media captions, event listings, and any email comms. Every time you modify or update a slab of copy, add it back into the bank.
Similarly, it will help to have a ‘content bank’: a collection of stills and videos that you use when promoting across all visual platforms.
Tools like Canva have made it easy for people with little to no design capabilities to create simple but effective graphics. You can also link up your Humanitix profile with Canva for easy access!
3. Where will the messaging be received?
Each major social media platform has sprung up in order to serve a slightly different experience to the consumer so it's important to think about the mindset that they are in when they engage with that content at that time.
e.g. if your event is a party, posting about it towards the end of the week may resonate more than if received on Monday morning at 8am.
If your event is a book club, then posting in the mornings on the weekend could be ideal to align with what they are in the mood for at that time.
The same messaging could be brought to life in a different way when presented via email, TikTok, Instagram Story, Instagram grid post, or via podcast.
4. How do you create marketing posts that ‘work’?
Answer: With greater efficacy each time.
I always like to remind my coaching clients that audiences are often time-poor, distracted, and initially disinterested.
Even if you are presenting the thing they need - if it’s not what they have already told themselves they want, they may not choose to engage at that moment.
Because people have so little excess attention, don't be afraid to post variations on the same content again and again in order to drive the message home.
Reaching each of your audience avatars in their preferred platform - and finding ways to repeatedly and engagingly present them with a message that speaks to their WIIFM - is a way for your offering to align with the moment in which they are in a position to act.
The most powerful motivator is word-of-mouth. If your event takes place on a recurring basis and you have the capacity to nurture it, give thought to how your audience can become your advocates in order to grow your community e.g. by reviews, testimonials, and making it easy for them to repost, and tag content from your event.
5. Know your ‘Why’ as the host?
Your reason for staging the event can sometimes get lost in the overwhelm of the project.
If (and when) in doubt, one of my favourite self-centering phrases is: ‘If you're nervous, focus on service’.
Think about the shift that you are looking to create for your audience. Let that be your ‘true north’ when determining everything from the language you use, the intention behind your messaging, the people that you reach out to who will ideally resonate most with your event, all the way through to the way in which you design the experience on show day.
If you're looking for a truly transformational experience as part of Sydney World Pride, I invite you to join me for ‘Madonna Theology’ - and I can confidently say you'll never look at Madonna – or a dance floor the same way again.
You can catch Dan at:
Madonna Theology presented by Dan Brophy. Thursday 16th Feb 2023, 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm AEDT.
Abstract Thoughts Gallery
197 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia
Tickets here - ‘Madonna Theology’
I’m Dan Brophy, I am a creative coach and the founder of the strategic content agency, Brophy. http://danbrophy.com