Ebook

More Than Just Words: How Your Event Description Drives Attendance

Your event description is often the first (and only) chance you have to grab potential attendees’ attention online. And thanks to modern consumer behaviour, you’ve only got 5.59 seconds to do it before a reader abandons your webpage and moves on to the next. 

So what does an event-goer find when they stumble upon your event online? An engaging story that makes them want to buy tickets right there and then — or a long-winded paragraph that loses their interest within the first few sentences?

“38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.”
Adobe, “The State of Content: Expectations on the Rise”

In this guide, you’ll learn how to craft a stellar event description that not only captures readers’ attention, but also drives attendance. Along the way, you’ll hear tips for solidifying your event’s unique voice, giving people the details they want, and more from the experts at Eventbrite.

This guide is for… 

Event creators who want to drive attendance through better event descriptions across every promotional and marketing channel.

What you’ll learn: 

  • To create a unified tone and voice that is true to your event’s unique brand
  • How to take your event description from meh to amazing by upleveling your writing skills
  • How to tailor your description for discovery sites, social media, display ads, and more

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it

Long before you put pen to paper (or cursor to Google doc), it’s worth your while to take some time to define how you want your event to sound — in other words, its voice and tone. Your event has a personality and it should always sound like itself wherever it appears in print.

For example, a conference for recruiters focused on industry trends wouldn’t use the same voice as a multi-day music festival. The conference would use a professional tone and more formal language, whereas the festival would take a conversational approach.

Pro tip

The difference between voice and tone

Whether you ate up all that voice and tone work you did in high school English class, or couldn’t wait to forget the lessons as soon as you took the quiz, now you’ve got a real-world application that can benefit your business. Here’s a recap of what these two terms mean:

  • Voice is how you speak to your audience and informs your copy everywhere it appears.
  • Tone is how you adapt your voice to suit the situation (for example, showing excitement in your on-sale announcement vs. urgency in your last-chance email).

Documenting your event’s voice also makes it easier to connect with readers on an emotional level. And that, according to Michael Meyer, creative director at Eventbrite, is the secret sauce to taking your event description from good to great.

“A good event description tells the reader everything they need to know about your event,” says Meyer. “A great event description makes them feel like they have to attend. Strive to do both with a compelling description that connects with your audience on an emotional level and makes it as clear and easy as possible to actually attend your event.”

How to find your voice and tone

When diving into the weeds of voice and tone, it can be tricky coming out with a clear picture without a few questions to guide your way. Here are three prompts to help focus your efforts: 

  • How do you want people to feel when they discover your event?
  • Which voices (playful, corporate, expert, etc.) resonate best with your audience?
  • If your event brand was a person, how would they talk?

When in doubt, zero in on your why

If you’re still having trouble figuring how you want your event’s voice to sound, it helps to take a moment to remember why you decided to create your event in the first place. Doing so can also help you tap into the emotions you want to inspire in readers that resonate with your fans.

“Why someone would want to attend your event is probably the same reason you’re organising it in the first place,” says Meyer. “That’s what makes your event truly unique. Double down on that collective purpose, speak authentically to your people, and let your love for the subject of your event come through in your copy.”

The elements of an event description

Now that you have your voice and tone defined, it’s time to dig into writing your description. It’s good to take another pause here, since your next step is to make sure you’ve prioritised the right information and given people the details they want.

“Don’t forget the event basics: who, what, when, where, and how,” says Meyer. “Being clear and concise about the most important details of your event shows respect and consideration for attendees. A clear description sets audience expectations and adds a level of professionalism that makes people feel more comfortable about committing their time and purchasing tickets.”

Here’s how to capture the most important and inspiring details about your event:

Event name

The best event names make an impression, are easy for attendees to remember, and look good on promotional materials. You don’t need to explain everything in the title, just enough to grab someone’s attention so they’ll come to your event page to learn more.

Examples of great event names:

  • 90’s Game Night at Manuel’s Tavern
  • Ink-N-Iron Festival Sydney
  • Yoga Rocks the Park 2019
  • How Weird Street Faire
  • Beer InCider Festival Melbourne

Event tagline

You might think of a tagline as a marketing tactic, but popular events often use them to convey the value of their event in an inspirational and memorable way. You can use a tagline under your event name on your website, in emails, on at-event collateral, on social media, and much more.

Three tips for creating your event’s tagline:

  • There’s no perfect length, but Google typically displays up to 160 characters in the search results below the name of the site. So if you don’t want an abridged version of your tagline to appear, you should keep it under that character limit.
  • It takes a few iterations to find the perfect one. There is no single “best way” to structure a tagline, so you’ll need to go through a process of writing multiple options and discussing them with your team.
  • Don’t worry about being clever. Your primary goal is to clearly express the value of your event. If you can inject some of your brand personality too, even better.

Event description

Your event description needs to capture the benefits of attending your event in a concise way. Avoid jargon, large words that take up too much space, and complex sentences. In short, write to a junior high school reading level, advises Jasmine Madavi, UX writer at Eventbrite.

“Try not to use large words or complex sentences that a 7th grader wouldn’t understand,” says Madavi. “This is a common measure that a lot of companies, like Google, will use for their text. You can plug your text into an online tool that tells you the reading level.”

How to craft a concise event description:

  • Start with an outline by mapping out what you want to say before you start writing.
  • Break up copy into sections with headers.
  • Use bullet points to make it easier for people to skim your description.
  • Use the free Hemingway App to help make your writing easy to read.
Pro tip

Prioritise benefits over features

People want to know what’s in it for them, long before the cost of attending. It’s critical to give them an answer in the first half of your description. Here’s an example of how to turn a features-laden description into a benefits-forward one that piques reader curiosity.

Agendas, lineups, and other finer details

After the emotional benefits of attending your event, people want to know information about the experience itself. Who will be speaking/playing/performing at your event? Where is your event located? How much will tickets cost? What are the transportation logistics?

Quick ways to give readers the details they want:

  • Add FAQs.
  • State your refund policy.
  • Include important details like date, time, ticket price, and venue.
Pro tip

Build a following on Eventbrite

When you use Eventbrite, your fans can follow you on the platform to receive emails or push notifications whenever you post a new event. A dedicated page within their user profile also allows them to see all events from the event creators they follow.

It helps to have a good quality profile on Eventbrite, which means including:

  • A short and sweet organiser title
  • An informative description of your organisation
  • Links to your event website and social media accounts
  • Images that represent your brand

For an example of a strong organiser page, check out the Corner Hotel’s profile.

5 different ways to describe your event

Now comes the fun part: versioning out your event description to suit each channel you’ll use to promote your event. You’ve already mastered the basics of writing a stellar description, so the tips below are all about the best ways to tailor your copy to the places it will live online.

Event website or listing

Most people’s quest for something to do starts with a Google search. That’s where an event website or listing comes in, helping you rank higher in results through search engine optimisation (SEO), answering additional questions, and providing more details to event-goers.

The difference between an event listing and website

Event listing

  • Hosted by a ticketing partner like Eventbrite
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Makes it easy to manage ticketing
  • Limits the amount of content you want to share (description, photos, FAQs)

Event website

  • Built and managed by you
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Best when integrated with your ticketing partner
  • Gives you more control over the content you want to share

Tips for tailoring your event description to your listing and/or website:

  • Make sure to use different copy between your listing and website, as Google rewards websites that have unique writing with better search rankings.
  • Optimise your copy for mobile search by using geographic terms like “Northern Beaches”.
  • Answer most commonly answered questions with an FAQ, so people aren’t left guessing.
  • State your refund policy clearly to ensure event-goers understand how it works.

Learn more in Work Smarter, Not Harder: How to Turn More Website Visitors into Attendees.

Email

Ninety-five percent of people check their email every day. To stand out in an event goer’s noisy inbox, your event emails need to be both concise and compelling. While there are many email marketing strategies you can use, the first place to start is with your email copy.

Here’s a breakdown of how to use your description to write the perfect email invitation:

Use a short subject line (under 70 characters is best). Personalise it with the recipient’s name and create a sense of urgency (“Don’t miss out!”) to drive more opens.
Let your reader know you’re a trusted source at a glance with a recognisable sender name, such as your company name or event brand name.
Headline and body copy should be complementary, to the point, and focused on leading the reader to your call to action (CTA) button.
Always use an active call to action (“Buy Tickets”) and keep it concise. Avoid burying it by placing it in the top and bottom of your email, and link the CTA to the right webpage.

Social media and event discovery sites

Most event creators use discovery sites and social media to promote their event and it’s easy to see why — they’re free to use.  83% of Australians aged 14+ interact with Facebook each month, plus Facebook offers robust targeting capabilities to help you get your event in front of the right audience early on.

There’s a lot to be said on making the most of these channels, so start with these resources:

The difference between event discovery sites and social media

Event discovery sites

  • Basic listing, like a digital newspaper
  • Free to use
  • No targeting capabilities
  • Targeted to your audience (e.g. live music vs. local events)
  • Millions of users

Social media

  • Event page, advertising and promotion, and ongoing engagement with your community year-round
  • Free to use, with paid promotions for fine-tuned targeting
  • Live video streaming features

Display and search ads

Although you can use Facebook to create and run very effective advertising campaigns, sometimes you’ll want to promote your event through ads online. You have two choices, depending on your budget and your goals: display or search ads.

Regardless of which channel you choose, keep these copy tips in mind:

  • Keep your copy super short, as there’s nothing worse than unreadable display ads.
  • Use the right keywords in search ads to target relevant searches.
  • Don’t forget your call to action and do a quality assurance check to test your link.

The difference between display and search ads

Display ads

  • Appear everywhere online
  • Great for driving brand awareness
  • Include retargeting capabilities to remind people who’ve expressed interest in your event that it’s still there
  • Use design and words together

Search ads

  • Appear at the top of a search engine query
  • Low-budget way to reach the right audience in your area
  • Words-only, no design
  • Keyword driven

Sponsorship proposals

When adapting your event description to your sponsorship proposal, you want to shift the benefits from the attendee perspective to the sponsor’s point of view. This means editing your description to reflect the business opportunity that it is for your prospective sponsors.

Here’s a great example:

“In its 7th year, The New News will grow to over 3,500 multimedia journalists, documentary storytellers, and professional bloggers. The gathering brings them together to discuss the challenges facing journalists, and to leave with innovative strategies that maintain the core standards and ethics of their craft in this rapidly changing society.

Next July, The New News 2020 will be a monumental experience. Taking place in Melbourne, the agenda will feature twice as much content and include a keynote from award-winning journalist, Milan Stephens.”

For more tips check out ‘How to Write a Winning Event Sponsorship Proposal‘.

Pro tip

Help interested event-goers find you on Google

The words in your description can also increase the odds that people will discover your event through search, e.g. SEO. There are many ways to boost SEO, but the easiest is to choose a ticketing partner whose site has strong domain authority.

Here’s what else you can do to make sure your event is easily searchable:

  • Use descriptive keywords in your title and event description
  • Optimise your event listing for mobile search
  • Use different copy on your own website compared to your Eventbrite event listing

Learn more about attracting and converting attendees with SEO for events here.

Let your event description shine online

Your event description is the foundation for everything you’ll ever write about your event, both online and off. Now that you know how to craft a description that hooks reader attention within seconds, it’s time to get your tailored versions out there and see how they perform.

Start driving attendance with your description today, host your next event on Eventbrite.

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