Let your events shine: top tips for writing great promotional copy

With so much to organise for an event, it’s easy to get sucked into the logistical details and forget all about how you’ll get people to attend. Writing good copy is a key skill to ensure the success of your promotional activity, so I hope the following advice will allow your events to shine.

Know your audience

It’s important to have a clear idea of who you’re trying to reach. Creating a persona can be a really fun way to understand their goals and challenges.

Think about their age, job role, organisation (size, type, location), values, goals and challenges. You’ll then be able to identify how you can meet their needs and target your copy style specifically at them.

I’m currently organising our annual conference, Evolve 2015. The programme of keynote speeches, workshops, and networking opportunities has been designed with chief executives, directors, and team leaders in mind.

I know they’re busy people with very little time, so I’ve tried to ensure my copy is concise and written in plain English, making it easy to scan and get to the point.

Pinpoint your key messaging

Start by listing a few simple sentences which highlight your event’s aims and objectives, then expand them into a couple of key paragraphs that can be used throughout your campaign. These should include a call to action such as “book your place today”, as well as what’s in it for them, and your key event information such as date and location.

After brainstorming ideas for Evolve, we decided “Connect. Share. Learn. Evolve 2015, 15 June, London” gave people, in very few words, a flavour of what they could expect, as well as the key information. You can see how this has been adapted for use in longer promotional copy on our Evolve webpages.

Write for you on your worst day

No matter who your audience is, when writing online copy think about writing for you on your worst day. For me, that means writing for someone who’s like a five year old hyped-up on sugar, combined with someone who’s not had much sleep! When I’m online:

• it’s difficult to get my attention
• even when you’ve got it, I scan content rather than reading it
• I can’t even manage that for very long – the average person spends just over two minutes on a webpage.

Using bullet points to list activities can help keep your messaging clear and concise. But don’t over use them – as a rule of thumb, try to stick to just three bullets.

My best advice

Some of the best advice I ever received was to keep all my sentences to a maximum of 20 words. It’s really helped me think about the words which actively help get across my message.


Writing great copy takes practice. Give yourself plenty of time to draft it, leave it a while, then come back to edit it after a break.

For more advice about promoting your events, download my Study Zone course, Event management: how to plan and run a great event.


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Sarah was the marketing and events officer at NCVO. She managed our flagship Annual Conference and Trustee Conference.

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