Before I produced my first on-site conference, I was extremely nervous about it. I knew what topic of the event, but I didn't know anything about what was involved in creating an event.
I asked people at SXSW, talked to conference producers I knew, looked at so many conference web sites, and so on.
Since that a long-ago time, I've produced many events, that I've boiled what I need to put on an event into three essential items:
- I need a date (or dates) for the event.
- I need to secure a venue (with a contract).
- Everything else is marketing.
I don't have many hard and fast rules for producing events, but one that I live by is:
It's not real until I've locked down the date and venue.
Even before the COVID-19 virus pandemic, I've seen conference venues be taken away:
- Too many contract issues, stipulations.
- Venue decided it would stop holding events.
- Another event took the date I wanted at the venue.
- Venue did not return messages and/or deliver a contract in timely manner.
Note: That last item still stings a bit as that venue would have been amazing for attendees and speakers.
As for online events, the advice is still pretty much the same: before you announce anything make sure you have:
- Selected the date or dates for your event.
- Picked out video conference platform.
Once you have those two items picked out, it's all a matter of marketing.