Below is a draft of chapter 8 of my latest guide on how to run workshops and includes a checklist of things to mention on posters/booking forms/event pages etc. While you may not be doing workshops (yet) it could well prove handy if you are planning on running any events, thus why I thought I would include it here.
While part 2 was not due for release until August 31st 2020, due to the escalating issues relating to COVID19, I have madly finished it off and it’s due for release on Amazon on April 1st . Part 1 will also be available for free on April 1.
Chapter 8. Putting it all together
Time to get some feedback on your workshop idea, gauge the interest in it or just dive into promoting it.
Posters, digital or hard copy, as well as setting up event pages on websites and social media platforms can be an effective way to do all of those things.
One of the key tools that can help at this point is having a checklist on hand, with all the options of what could or should be mentioned on these. So that’s the first thing I’m going to share with you.
Also, if you are keen to have a shot at designing your own posters, posts and adverts check out www.canva.com.
Checklist of what to include on your posters/event page
While everything on this list is important some of it needn’t be on a poster if that poster is designed to send people to a website or events page, where the rest of the information would be located. No 17, 18 and 19 are examples of three things that I would often include at the point of booking in and not on a poster.
- Workshop title – consider having this in the indigenous language of your region and/or other languages relevant to your community
- A brief explanation of the what the workshop is about
- Intended audience/Who it’s for
- What will people learn from attending – how will it benefit them
- How to book in
- Cut off dates and conditions – for any deals and for booking in
- Presenter’s credentials
- Relevant picture(s)
- Accessibility – is there wheelchair access
- Testimonials or supportive results about you/your business or your clients/customers.
- Anything they need to bring – pen and paper, sneakers, a plate of food, something to keep them warm/dry, their ‘homework’, stories to share, etc.
- Anything they need to do beforehand – eat, homework, practise moves etc.
- Refreshments/food if there are any, otherwise there is no need to mention unless the workshop is more than 3 hours or runs during a meal time (say 11.30 am – 2pm), in which case best say what food is on offer and/or what people should/could bring
- Contact details for more information – provide two options, for example mobile and email.
- QR code if you want viewers to use their phone to link to your website or a booking form. QR codes are free and very easy to use. Used on hard copy posters, they can be a super way for people to simply register their interest in your workshop, using just their email address or phone number. You can then send them more information and a reminder to book in.
- ‘Tear offs’ on hard copy posters. You will likely have seen these on posters. They run across the bottom usually and have the booking details on them. There may be 10 tear offs to a poster that are cut such they are easy to tear and remove. The argument I have heard against using tear offs is that if people want to attend they will just take a photo of the poster, but there are plenty of situations when that won’t happen. People don’t always have their phone on them (cellular smart watches, unable to take photos, mean this is now more common) or don’t want to rummage through a bag to find it. Plus, people are in a hurry. Plus, how many times have you done taken a photo of something and then forgotten all about it? Having something tangible that you find in your pocket when you get home and can stick on the fridge or pass on to a buddy who you’d love to have join you is a pretty good option in my mind!
More about what pictures to use
Virtually all posters can be made more appealing using well-chosen pictures.
- Obtain the legal right to use any of the pictures you choose: Don’t just go grabbing pics off the internet without checking their copyright status. Try Canva.com for pictures you can use at no charge and with licenses to reprint. If using photos you have taken or been given, make sure the people in the photo have provided their consent.
- Use pictures of the type of people your workshop is for: So, if you’re marketing to new mums, then using pics of mums with young babies, can make it immediately clearer who your workshop is for.
- Before and after type pictures: I’d like to say these can be very powerful but the feedback that I have received wasn’t as favourable as I had hoped. I had one poster with around 20 before and after transformation pictures from a challenge I ran. Most people I asked, albeit that didn’t know me, thought they were fake! It totally defeated the purpose of using them. Accordingly, my suggestion would be to include pictures of people that your intended market actually know or have heard of and to add something like ‘real pics of real changes’, ‘no Photoshopping or filters,’ ‘independently verified’ etc.
- Diversity: If using pictures of groups of people or even parts of lots of people (say a bunch of arms waving), then I think it’s important to show people of different skin colour and ethnicity, representative of your own community. Sometimes these can be difficult to find, in which case another option is to use silhouettes of people, or stick figure, cartoon, type pictures, in a mix of random block colours like green, yellow, blue, red etc.
- Pictures of objects: These can help clarify the content of a workshop. If, for instance, you are doing a talk on ‘Nutrition’ or more specifically, the pros and cons of carb loading before competition, then having pictures of an array of carbs, food scales, a 1st place medal etc., could all help clarify the content.
- Pictures of you: Using a photo of yourself is by no means essential. However, if you do choose to use one then it’s important to get whatever it is you are doing in the photo right, how you are sitting or standing, do you look excited or sultry? If it’s an action/adventure photo, are you wearing the right gear, correctly? Do people find the photo inspiring, intimidating or unrelatable?
- Use positive pictures: In a very unscientific survey, I once asked people which poster they preferred out of four that I had created, all of which had a very similar message.One poster was of a big lady standing in a red towel on a set of scales looking very upset with a message along the lines of ‘Do you want to lose weight?’ The other posters had a similar message but included more upbeat pictures. There was a large guy running, another guy doing a celebratory fist pump while standing on a set of bathroom scales in his PJs, and a lady portrayed as a superhero. These pictures were of people enjoying the journey and/or their success at the end of their journey. The lady looking upset was the least liked poster by both males and females! Because of this experience, I always try to use positive images, and if I do use an image depicting pain, sadness, anger etc., it is alongside a more positive one, such as in a before and after type scenario.
Poster layout, colours and fonts
Poster layout, colours and fonts are all important. Getting them right is a skill but one you can learn all about on the internet. Otherwise, a graphic designer can take all the information from your checklist, together with your brand and whip up something that totally nails it on this front.
Testing the waters
Time to check in with the type of people you are attempting to reach, to see if you are on target with your wording and imagery. You could do this by sending a select few people to your events page and have them make suggestions. You could do a poll online with an array of the posters you have designed and ask people to vote and make comments on any aspect of them, which is also another way to get the message out that you have a workshop coming up :-).
Once you’ve made any necessary changes it’s time to start hanging up those posters and taking bookings, which is what we’re talking about next!
Final tips for hard copy posters
These are the types of tips I mentioned in my introduction that I thought would make no difference at all, but which I learned could in fact be deal breakers! If you are using hard copy, print posters:
- Use quality paper and printing services. Typically, printing posters off your own printer, especially if it’s low on ink, will do you more harm than good. Sending your final poster to a professional printery has never been faster, easier or cheaper. Do it! Shops and businesses will be more open to putting your posters up and people are more likely to think your workshop will also be professional.
- Hang it professionally. Aim not to have big chunks of torn sticky tape slapped on the corners; this will just make you look unprofessional. It may seem like a little thing, but it’s another piece in the jigsaw of the overall impression people form about what’s on offer. If you are taking posters into shops and businesses gift them pins to stick the poster up with, or offer to tape it up for them.
- Take it down afterwards. Ideally, take down the posters the day after the workshop, unless of course you have listed additional workshops on the poster, which is a great idea if you want to give your poster a longer life.
Jot down the types of pictures you think would be most powerful for each of your six topics.