I often write for tourism boards, sharing what makes their cities or states special. That means I spend a lot of time looking at event descriptions.
And oh boy, do I see some stinkers.
How can you expect people to leave their cozy houses (where there’s Netflix and free snacks) to go to your event (with no Netflix and expensive snacks) if you don’t give them a good, compelling reason?
Some of this event copywriting is so weak I can’t even tell what the event actually is. Vague wording, unclear benefits, no oomph.
If you’re not clear about your event, people will either
a) not come, or
b) fill in the blanks themselves.
Then they’re disappointed that it wasn’t the event they imagined—and you get a bad review. Neither is a good outcome.
So let’s talk about how to write a good event description that will get folks off their bums and into your venue.
Start with a Killer Event Name
I saw an event on Facebook the other day that was literally called “29th Annual Event.” Not only does that name tell you nothing, they’ve apparently been using that snoozefest of a name for 29 years!
It’s an abomination.
There are lots of different ways you can approach your event name. You can keep it clear and simple. You can come up with something clever and unique to build curiosity. And you can create a “branded” name in the hopes that it will catch on and create brand recognition.
A clear and simple name describes what the event is, like this:
- Baby Goat Yoga
- Austin’s 23rd Annual Chili Cook-Off
- The Hotel & Hospitality Show
A clever name may involve some wordplay. These can be great, but you don’t want to sacrifice clarity for cleverness.
Some good ones include:
- Ciderbration (a cider-focused festival)
- Time Travelers Vintage Expo (a touring vintage market)
- Wigs & Waffles (a drag brunch)
A branded name doesn’t necessarily say what it is, but it can build strong name recognition. This is often the way to go for national events, rather than smaller local events. Think:
- South by Southwest (probably sounded like gibberish at first, but now it’s ubiquitous)
- When We Were Young (GREAT name. Doesn’t say anything about music, but the nostalgia!)
- Burning Man (speaks to a sense of counterculture and the unexpected)
Keep your audience in mind when naming your event. A phrase that may be nonsense to the general public could be a perfect descriptor to someone in your audience! For example: the “Hotel FF&E Expo” could be confusing to the average person. But a hotel industry insider would know that FF&E means furniture, furnishings & equipment, and the event would be clear to them.
Be Clear about Where and When
This is self-explanatory (I hope). Readers need to know where the event will take place and when.
But this can be a bit more complicated than it first appears. Let’s say your event is in a large city park. How will you explain to your reader exactly where in the park? Some major parks cover hundreds of acres, so you have to be more specific.
And for larger events and festivals, this can be more complex. What if you’re throwing a music festival that includes multiple stages across several days? You need to list each different location along with a schedule per stage.
If you’re asking people to meet at a park, for example, tell them where the closest parking lot or subway station is, and give them walking directions the rest of the way. Don’t assume that the reader will “just know.” Some will. Many won’t.
People hate feeling stupid. (I know I do.) Help them out by clearly listing all the facts.
Get Into the Details and Create an Emotional Connection
This is where a lot of event copywriting and event descriptions really fall down on the job.
Event description tend to run into two big problems:
- They’re vague. The writer assumes that a general sense of the event will be sufficient. It could be. But we’re not after sufficient. We want you to sell out every ticket. We want you to crush this event. So you gotta be more specific.
- They don’t appeal to emotion by including the benefits that attendees will get. How will the person’s day/week/career/life be improved by this event? Why should they choose this event over the 250 other events happening the same day in your town?
Let’s look at an example that I found on Facebook:
“[Event name] welcomes everyone to a hands-on tea brewing class! Let’s talk temps, times, tastes and treats and take the mystery out of tea brewing!”
A classic example of the two problems I mentioned above.
First of all, it’s vague, so let’s dig into the details.
- What exactly is this tea class going to include?
- Is it a lecture? Or is it hands-on?
- Do the participants get to brew their own tea?
- Do they get to drink tea during the class?
- Do they perhaps get an in-store discount on tea purchase at the event? (This could be a big selling point!)
- Will they learn about the health benefits of different teas?
- Do they get anything to take home, like a guide with proper water temps and brew times for different types of tea?
See what I’m getting at? These are all details that can make the event more appealing to the reader.
Then onto the next issue: the benefits. The original sort of brushes up against a benefit where it says “take the mystery out of tea brewing,” but that doesn’t go far enough.
Let’s brainstorm some possible benefits:
- Prevent bitter tea by over steeping
- Prevent weak tea by under steeping
- Stop wasting money by brewing bad cups of tea
- Sample teas you haven’t had before and discover a new favorite
- Meet other like-minded tea fanatics
- Learn health benefits of certain teas that you can incorporate into your daily routine
So with all that in mind, here’s how I’d go about rewriting this.
“Under brewed tea is weak and watery. Over brewed tea is bitter and loses delicate flavor notes. Neither is a fair fate for those lovely tea leaves!
Make the most of every precious teaspoon with [Store Name’s Brew Class]. You’ll learn the perfect temperature and brew time for all the different types of tea—and get a handy print out to keep so you can always brew the perfect pot.
Plus, we’ll be tasting (and tasting!) a wide variety of brews. Find your new favorite and turn your morning/afternoon/evening cup into a ritual you’ll look forward to every day.
You’ll also get a 20% off coupon to use on your next purchase of loose leaf tea from [Store Name]!”
Pretty different, yeah?
A Call to Action
The last thing your event description needs is a call to action, or a CTA.
The CTA is where you tell the reader what to do next. How do they go from interested in your event to attending your event? The answer is by doing whatever the CTA directs. The text is often linked right to the booking or buying or reservations page, either through a text link or a button.
A CTA often starts with a verb, like:
- Book [now]
- Reserve [your spot]
- Order [for delivery]
- Sign up [today]
- Join [our loyalty program]
But the CTA can also be benefits-oriented, rather than simply action-oriented. A benefits-oriented CTA could be:
- Get recipes to your inbox (this would lead you to sign up for a food blogger’s email list)
- Earn 2x points and a free night (this would lead you to sign up for a hotel’s loyalty program)
- Brew the perfect cup—every time (this would lead you to the signup form for the event above)
The call to action is the final piece of the event description puzzle. It ties it all up with a neat little bow.
Here’s the event. Here’s where and when. Here’s what you can expect. And here’s how you sign up.
That’s an event description that sells.
Need more help with your event copywriting?
I’m all ears. Fill out my online form and we’ll set up a quick call to talk through the details.