Planning an event series is no small task. An event series is just what it sounds like: a group of events over time connected by a common theme or goal. So you’re basically planning multiple events in one! And with that comes its own challenges and to dos that you wouldn’t face with a single event. Of course, we’re not trying to talk you out of it! Planning an event series has a lot of benefits.
For starters, planning an event series lets you go in-depth with the topics that your audience cares about. Instead of fitting everything into a few hours, you can address it over a few days or weeks. Secondly, you can build a strong relationship with your audience. Because you’re connecting with them consistently and in multiple ways, there’s time for that relationship to build. And thirdly—with your loyal audience at your side and reliable, relevant events—you can establish yourself as an industry expert.
But, of course, to get there, you have to, well, plan your event series. These tips and tricks will help make your event series a success, feeling cohesive across days and weeks while your attendees get the most out of the experience.
Establish Your Goals
Admittedly, this the same step you would take for planning any event—a series or otherwise. But it’s an important one! You and your event planning committee should ask what you hope to gain from your event series. This could include expanding your audience, diving into a topic your customers care about, or launching a new product.
Of course, you may have more than one goal for planning an event series. But they shouldn’t be competing goals. Instead, your secondary goals should reinforce your main goal or be a direct result of that main goal. For example, your main goal may be to launch a new product, with a secondary goal of expanding your customer base—because new products may draw a new audience.
Make Sure You Can Fill Multiple Events
Once you settle on your goal(s), you’ll need to choose a topic. Chances are you already have a topic in mind—but do you have enough content to fill multiple events? Depending on your overall theme, you can explore a different topic at each event. But if you want to focus on a single topic, make sure you can stretch that out into a series.
If you don’t have enough content for a series, you may need to re-think your theme or expand it. (If that doesn’t work, consider just a one-time event. There’s no need to force an event series!) Of course, this begs the question How many events do you need in a series? Technically, a series is three or more. So you should target a minimum of three events to really call it a series. But the perfect number for you will be based on your goals and your topics.
Set a Schedule
Setting a consistent schedule is one of the most important parts of planning an event series. With consistency, your attendees won’t have to wonder when your next event will be—and they’ll already know if they can attend. This is common practice in recurring events, too. Think about PTA meetings, book club, when the gardener comes. It all happens on a regular schedule. The same should be true for your event series. Pick the second Tuesday of every month at 7, every Saturday at noon—it doesn’t matter! Just be sure to set the final date, too.
The second most important thing is to let your attendees know the schedule ahead of time. So, when they’re booking tickets to the first event, they should know the schedule for future events, too. Tickets don’t have to be available just yet—but they should be able to put future events on their calendar.
Create Continuity Between Events
When you’re planning an event series, you don’t want each event to feel like a single event. If they were single events, they wouldn’t be a series! Instead, you want to tie the events together for continuity. Of course, you can—and should—do this by reinforcing your theme at each event. But there are other ways to tie the events together for your attendees.
For example, you can cover key points from previous events at the beginning of each current event. This will remind past attendees and inform those who weren’t able to make it. You can also provide handouts and other materials for each event. That way, attendees can take notes and bring them to future events in the series. By the end, they’ll have a complete collection of notes from every part!
Let Attendees Connect During and After
Connecting attendees will also create continuity between events—but it deserved its own section! Giving attendees a way to connect will give them a sense of community and help them better engage with the content. If your events are in person, give attendees time to connect afterwards over coffee or in breakout groups. This helps them understand the content better and discuss it with others. Both of which will encourage them to come to future events to build on what they’re learning!
If your events are virtual, choose a platform for attendees to use. You can host discussions on a social media platform or leave an open-ended debrief on the schedule via your conferencing platform. No matter what type of event you have, consider creating a hashtag for attendees to connect even after the event is over. Sometimes it’s helpful to sit with new information first and talk about it later!
Planning an event series requires some new angles that you might not worry about with just a single event. But if you take the time to outline your content, communicate with your attendees, and give them ways to connect—your series can be a success! Just make sure to check that each decision aligns with your event goals!
What event series have you participated in? What types of events make better series?