After creating a great looking calendar full of relevant events – you need to build your network to stay at the center of it all.
For your audience to believe you’re the most reliable source of events around, think of yourself as a Hub, with a steady flow of event content from your favourite sources flowing into you.
You can automate this process by having your favourite venues/sources install a calendar like Timely which you can pull events directly from.
Imagine all the theatres, art galleries, music halls, etc.. running calendars which you could subscribe to – how rich & inspiring your calendar would be, driving more visitors (& advertisers) to your site.
Here are 7 steps that I’ve found to grow your network of event sources.
Step 1 – White label your network
Create a brand around your site. Videos can do a long way
Step 2 – Landing pages
Reference a page that explains how simple it is for your favourite venues/sources to send events directly from their own calendars.
Hint: Create a landing page with the Timely logo – and I’ll create a coupon code to help you build your network.
Step 3 – Become your community thought leader
Calendars are humans’ oldest social technology (think Stonehenge) – helping to organize people around a purpose at a time and place. Calendars still remain our most popular social tool (everyone has at least one calendar).
All events are online somewhere.. and the container that holds events are calendars. Everything is about connecting nowadays, and it only makes sense that the calendar, the holder of events, connects as well.
Bring to your community the technology that allows events to be shared from their calendar to yours.
Host a meeting of your favourite venues, and I’d be happy to teleconference in.
Step 4 – Email drip campaigns
People often need a little repetitive nudge in the right direction. Consider sending 3-4 emails to your favourite venues/sources over a week or two recommending that they join your network. Link them back to your landing page.
Often you won’t see adoption until the 3rd email, so don’t give up too soon. Keep your emails short, sweet, friendly – and always write in the benefit of the venues/sources… remember their pain is the distribution/promotion of their events and you can help them by allowing their events to be sent directly to yours if they have a calendar that can export a feed (Timely, Google, etc).
Step 5 – Examples, Examples, Examples
People are most swayed by their peers – consider putting your energy on getting some of the most influential sources in town to join. Post them up on your site as examples, and show how their events are automatically sent to your calendar.
Others sources will be driven by either fear (that they’ll be left out) or greed (saving them time).
Step 6 – Join forces with other Hubs (that aren’t competitors)
The expression/equation 1 + 1 > 2 has never been more true. If a venue/source sees that by adopting a calendar that can send their events to 2 or more Hubs – the value proposition of joining your network become irresistible.
For community sites, consider getting the local arts & culture association, the chamber, or the tourism board to get onboard – if you don’t care about making money, then consider local media sites. They’ll want the same events you do.