I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have a news flash for you: having an awesome event just isn’t enough to get people talking anymore. Sure, it’s a necessary starting point (clearly, having a not awesome event isn't going to get you far), but you have to do more than build a great event to get people talking. You’ve got to get them curious and excited about your race.
You’ve got to build buzz.
A whole mess of super-smart people like doctors and behavioral experts have proven that looking forward to an event can actually deliver more happiness than the event itself. If you’re not building anticipatory excitement and buzz, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your athletes, drive race registrations and give your athletes a serious case of the warm-and-fuzzies.
So what are some new strategies to get your buzz on?
Take A Look Through Periscope
I know, I know. It seems like every day there’s a new niche social network to wrap your head around (like Kitty Relief, a social network for people who like drawing cute pictures of cats. Yes really). But one social network that really stands out from all the noise (and kitties) as one that your event should be leveraging is Periscope.
Periscope is a live-streaming app from the head honchos over at Twitter. With Periscope, you can connect and start conversations with your audience in real time, giving you a completely new way to build a relationship with your athletes.
To build buzz leading up to your event, use Periscope to give your athletes the access to your event that they’re looking for. Give them a sneak preview into what they can expect at your Expo. Do a live Q+A to answer their questions and ask them what they’d like to see at the event. Do a live walkthrough of your event participant software. Use live streaming to develop a genuine, LIVE relationship with your athletes and get them excited to be a part of your event.
Just remember, Periscope is a live streaming event, so make sure you close the app before you start belting out your best Adele solo on your car ride home. Unless you want the entire internet to see your car karaoke skills, in which case… knock yourself out.
Build Events AROUND The Event
If you want to build buzz around your event, the best thing that you can do is build events around the event. (Yeah, we just said event three times in one sentence.)
If your event is the main dish, you want to have a number of smaller events - or appetizers - leading up to it. These appetizer events will serve to get your athletes excited and get them familiar with the kind of experience they can expect from the main event.
Partner with local businesses to host workshops on the things your athletes are interested in. Some ideas:
Create a training group (along with a plan!) to help get people prepared for the event
Put on a yoga for runners series
Organize a workshop to create a meal plan for heavy training weeks
These events-leading-up-to-the-event are going to generate buzz, drive race registrations and strengthen your race's overall brand.
Lend a Helping Hand
There’s no better - or kinder - way to generate buzz around your event than by lending a helping hand to the community that’s hosting it. Other than being extremely hungry, most athletes are also generous, socially aware, philanthropic and give MAJOR props to events that are the same.
Make it your mission to make the community that’s hosting your event a better place. Host volunteering events and invite your athletes to participate during their online race registration. Incorporate a food drive and collect non-perishables on race day. Set up a fundraising campaign to collect donations for a local shelter.
Raising your brand awareness and doing some good in the world? That’s the kind of buzz worth generating.
Regardless of how already-awesome your event is, you also need to make it buzz-worthy. These three strategies are a great start for taking your event from unknown-but-awesome to totally buzzed about.