A nice venue has been reserved, good speakers have been recruited, and the food and drink is planned to impress. A corporate conference is a major budget investment and the culmination of months of planning. A mobile website to accompany the event is great, but a printed event guide chock-full of useful information can be just as valuable. The guide is sometimes an afterthought, but it makes an impression on attendees and needs to be as strong as the other elements that are critical to making the event a success.
An excellent printed event guide includes the following ten key components:
- An eye-catching cover. Attendees are judging the book by its cover, and an ugly cover may mean the book isn’t cracked open. The cover (indeed, the entire guide) shouldn’t be designed in Microsoft Word. Find someone who knows their way around Illustrator and can make it look professional.
- A nice font. An event guide that is intended to be printed doesn’t need to have a font that is web-safe or makes for easy reading on a computer. Please ditch the Calibri and use a tasteful font that reflects your brand and makes the piece look more special than a printed-out email.
- Photos throughout. Include shots of the venue and of familiar faces at previous events. This will get people turning the pages as they look for sneak peeks of the activities and photos of their colleagues.
- Quality printing. Get proofs on different paper stocks so that you can determine the weight and gloss that the guide looks best on. While you’re at it, check out different binding options as well.
- A charismatic welcome letter from the host. If the duration of the event is greater than a day, a letter from the CEO, head of sales, or other host of the event should be included to preview what’s to come and thank attendees again for their time.
- A full page thanking the sponsors. Don’t miss an opportunity this easy to give your sponsors more airtime. Include their boilerplates and high-res logos. A note on the logos: Get the vector file versions — blurry logos in the printed guide are never okay.
- A full page dedicated to the keynote. If your event has a keynote, get people excited to hear from them. Near the front of the guide, include a page with the keynote’s headshot and full professional biography. Include his or her Twitter handle if they’re an active tweeter.
- A map. If your event is taking place in multiple rooms, it doesn’t hurt to include a one-page map with room names and locations. Don’t forget to label the restrooms.
- A detailed agenda. Here’s the place to include the several-sentence summary of each session (with speaker details) and tantalizing descriptions of fun networking activities. Don’t forget to include times, locations, and dress code guidelines!
- A full attendee list. Featuring names, titles, and companies.
Plan ahead and give yourself about a month to write (one week), thoroughly proofread (three days), design (two weeks), and print (one week) an excellent event guide that will really measure up to the standard set by your conference. It’s worth it!
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