Event Management

How to Plan your 2024 Events Calendar in 5 Easy Steps

January 9, 2024

Head of Event Operations & Strategy

As we dive into the new year, it's not just about cramming in events left, right, and center throughout 2024; it's about creating memorable experiences that bring people together for the right reasons. Whether you're orchestrating meetups, workshops, or conferences, we’ve got you covered to ensure you’re hitting all the right notes when it comes to your event strategy.

In just 5 steps you can be on your way with a killer events calendar that everyone will be talking about!

So let’s get to it!

1. Set Objectives and Goals:

Ok, first things first, what are you trying to achieve and why? Planning and hosting an event is no easy feat so making sure you are clear on your why is key to making it a success for both you and those attending.

To create your objective(s), look at what your organization is planning to achieve this year and see which of these events can help contribute.

When looking at your goals, challenge yourself but keep it achievable. It’s important to push what you and your team can do but also be realistic with how high you can reach will help you stay motivated and focused.

Top Tip: Using an OKR matrix with aligning projects you want to tackle can help you laser in on your why, what, and how, specific to your events strategy.

2. Identify Key Dates and Themes

With 52 weeks in a year, you’ll surely have key times in mind when you want to host events and similarly avoid events happening.

Take some time to map this out with your team, including any holidays and industry-specific events that align with your organization's goals.

Using themes is also a great way to help plan out your calendar based on the time of year. These themes can be shared with your community in advance to create excitement for the festivities to come. Why not get them involved during this step to help ensure themes and potential events resonate with them and make them more likely to attend?

Top Tip: I love using Day of the Year to get some inspiration - there seriously is a day for everything!

3. Create a Tentative Schedule:

It’s time to start penciling in dates with a preliminary schedule so you can see an overview of what you have in mind and get the necessary approval from key stakeholders.

Top Tip: Consistency can often be your secret weapon in gaining traction with events, as it helps increase signups and attendance rates. For example, hosting your monthly meetup on the last Thursday allows attendees to plan out their months ahead. If they miss one, they already know the next is in X weeks.

Plus, having future events in the calendar not only helps you with planning, but it means there is always something to look forward to (and promote) after an event finishes. 

4. Budget and Resource Allocation:

You don’t need a big budget to put on a great event, but it does help to have some resources to help turn your event into a truly memorable experience. Here are some common things you will want to allocate a budget for:

  • Venue or platform
  • Speakers & Emcees
  • Marketing
  • Food & drink
  • Merchandise
  • Entertainment
  • Event team

Remember some events will be bigger than others, so you won’t need to allocate the same amount to each event. Similarly, some events may be more important than others based on the time of year or theme you have chosen requiring more budget.

Top Tips: Think about how you can be smart with the budget and resources you have. Do you have the opportunity to collaborate or partner with an organization or individuals?

Charging for tickets? This will certainly help you with your budget allocation so ensure you factor this in when at this stage based on the components you want to add to your experience. Did you know that more often than not, attendees who pay for a ticket are more likely to attend?

5. Build a Promotion and Marketing Plan:

An unforgettable experience can easily be forgotten or simply unheard of if you don’t get your marketing and promotion right.

Using a 3 phase approach to this can help you ensure you are spreading the word to the right people at the right time to get those all-important event RSVPs rolling in.

Phase 1: Pre-event Buzz - Think teasers and early registration to generate awareness and build anticipation

Phase 2: Unleashing the Event Frenzy - Think social media campaigns, website content, and dedicated emails to boost engagement and excitement

Phase 3: Final Countdown - Think countdowns and reminders to drive those last-minute RSVPs and encourage attendance

Ok, I know I said 3 phases but you really should add a fourth to ensure the event buzz doesn’t fade away.

Phase 4: The Afterglow - Don’t forget thank yous, feedback collection, and next event promotion

Top Tip: Using a robust tool that gives you all the event features you need can help make marketing and promotion so much easier such as Talkbase. Allowing you to add all the necessary info for your event, capture registrations, and track event analytics.

If you complete these steps, you will be on the right track to having your best events calendar, while ticking all the right boxes for your organization and attendees - making it truly a year no one will forget.

Valentina Ruffoni is a freelance Event Strategist, Producer, and Emcee specializing in both virtual and in-person events of all shapes and sizes. Need help with your next event? Get in touch with her here.

Valentina Ruffoni
Head of Event Operations & Strategy

January 9, 2024

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