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Curating end-to-end event communications: a guide

By Greta Nicholls, Project Director at SWM Partners

While there’s nothing more powerful than a meeting or event itself – whether that’s in-person, virtual or hybrid – the pandemic has further highlighted that there’s immense value in leveraging complementary communications to inform and engage delegates.

This relates not only to the strategy we develop for the event, but how we connect with attendees before it begins, as well as after it ends. We’ve found end-to-end event communications that span all of these stages have the ability to put attendees at ease, increase attendance rates, enhance opportunities for education, and leave long lasting impressions.

With this in mind, below I’ll run through some of the key ways to develop communications strategies of this nature, as they relate to the healthcare sector in 2022.

Developing holistic delegate communication strategies

With many meeting formats at play, flight delays or cancellations becoming a common occurrence, and restrictions related to COVID-19 continuing to vary by country, it’s important to not only develop a communications plan for platforms such as email and your registration portal well in advance of the event, but to plan for ‘what if’ scenarios too.

Consider, for example, how and when you will communicate changes to the event’s format, location or health and safety requirements as news comes to light, both before and during the event. At the pre-event stage, also aim to ensure your audience can access detailed information about subjects such as on-site health and safety measures, mental wellbeing initiatives, and sustainability protocols and tips, as this may very well influence their decision to attend.

Leverage the opportunity to continue the conversation with attendees once the event ends too, by thanking them for joining, sharing success factors – particularly around CSR-related and study specific matters – and including information about where they can access resources such as event videos, and study and patient materials for future reference.

Reconsidering the approach to session delivery

Developing a relevant and informative event programme is essential, however it’s also important to consider how the sessions that comprise it are communicated. A speaker may be highly regarded in their field, for example, however this doesn’t always mean their delivery will truly engage delegates.

This is where speaker rehearsals, as well as presentation deck development have an important part to play. When a speakers’ session is delivered in a cohesive manner, and complemented by a visually appealing deck complete with visual cues such as videos, graphs, and tables, the information will be easier to consume. This will inevitably result in a greater uptake and understanding of the study, trial, or other related news and data being shared.

Aim to film these sessions too, and either share them in their entirety, or edit them down into bite sized pieces of content that contain the session or event’s key takeaways. These can then be distributed via post-event email communications or housed in the meeting’s online portal, so attendees can refer back to the sessions. It also means those who couldn’t make it are able to access these important updates too.

Key communications for enhancing education

From presentations by subject matter experts, to Q&As with KOLs and patients, a wealth of complex data and information tends to be shared and discussed during a healthcare meeting or event.

To help ensure the most important information remains both front of mind and is easily accessible, consider developing complementary materials for audience members. These can either be accessible digitally only, or printed (we highly recommend opting for sustainable options if you take this route, and this is something an agency partner can support with), and include branded patient study, patient facing and scientific assets such as brochures, worksheets, guides and animated sequences, as well as the video element I mentioned earlier.

When you work with scientific and event experts, following in-depth analysis and research they are able to recommend communication types and formats that best reflect the needs of your audience. They can also analyse and interpret the complex data, and produce the corresponding materials in a way that resonates.

Of course, many events are hybrid in nature now, which means once hyperlocal events are now accessible to attendees all over the world. Whichever supporting materials you choose, I highly recommend looking to scientific professionals to translate them, as they will help to ensure you address not only language, but important cultural differences too.

Addressing the value of combined event and scientific expertise

Ultimately, the key to seamless pre, during and post-event communication, as well as event management on the day of an event, is in the way you curate your teams.

Ongoing collaboration is essential right from the pre-planning stage, all the way through to the post-event wrap up and debrief. This approach will ensure what is shared with delegates via email and the event’s portal, for example, is linked to the event’s programme, overall design, and the way in which it unfolds in real time.

In essence, consistency of information, messaging and brand is vital to ensure the development of an end-to-end event communications strategy, and in turn, education on the part of the attendee across the entire life cycle of your meeting or event.

To learn more about our event and scientific communication capabilities, get in touch via: hello@swm-partners.com

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