Today’s event organizers face a competitive job market that also offers many opportunities. A number of reports suggest that event organizers anticipate planning budgets will rise as businesses focus on grabbing people’s ever diminishing attention by engaging them at live events.
This means that event planners have a real opportunity to grow their careers, so long as they are able to create a compelling personal brand that potential employers or clients respect.
While there are many talented event organizers out there, fewer are comfortable with the tools available that make it possible to become a thought leader and to build a personal professional brand that employers and clients will be attracted to.
Here are three ways to help them do just that.
Step 1: Create a LinkedIn profile viewers will respect
LinkedIn has virtually replaced resumes in some fields, and if it hasn’t yet for event planners, it soon will. With over 400 million monthly users, most of who live in the United States, this is the social media platform professional event organizers should use.
For readers who already have a profile, it’s time to do some serious editing to make sure that people who come across it will actually consider you to be a leader in your field.
Create a great headline
LinkedIn provides users with 120 characters to fill their headline with something compelling. Most users use this space to write their job title, and the company they work for, but savvy event planners use it for much more.
Liz King uses her headline to show that she is an event tech pro, for example. Since LinkedIn uses a search function similar to Google, Liz is also helping to make her profile more discoverable for searches related to “event technology” and “community building.”
Finally, since her headline is catchy, it will mean that more potential clients or employers will actually click on her profile when she appears in searches.
Get yourself a headshot
Hire a professional to take your headshot. It sounds simple, but this is an important investment you are making in your career. Simply stated, people will judge you based on your headshot—taking a selfie won’t cut it.
Make sure to find a professional photographer whom will not only take great raw pictures, but also who is capable of editing out any blemishes you might want removed.
At Bizzabo, we make sure every Bizzabo-er has a great looking headshot, because we know that first impressions can have a big impact on how people are perceived.
Write a compelling summary
The summary is where you contextualize professional interests and goals. Typically, it is the first thing that people will read, so be sure to write something that is catchy and representative or your accomplishments.
Summaries that use three short paragraphs are often best. The first should be a sentence that describes what areas of business you are focused on. The second should provide an explanation of the work you are doing now. The third should summarize what you are focused on doing in the future.
The example of Corbin Ball’s LinkedIn Summary provides readers with a great example of the sort of things that are worth mentioning.
Contextualize work experience
In most cases, people visiting your LinkedIn profile will not know a thing about past employers. It’s important to include a brief bio about the company, and to highlight key achievements.
Often bullet points work well, especially if you have quantitative results that highlight past performance.
Step 2: Share helpful content in the right places
Thought leadership starts with being helpful. If you are able to provide value to event planners and others in your industry, you will eventually be considered a thought leader yourself.
Get started by sharing content that you’ve found helpful with contacts online. LinkedIn is a great place to start since you should already be using it, and because it is primarily a network for business professionals.
Search your favorite event planning blogs to discover great content, and then share the article with a brief explanation.
Content is what keeps social media platforms going, so in order to be noticed you will need to develop a consistent posting schedule.
Readers should note, that sharing articles isn’t going to turn an organizer into a thought leader automatically. In addition to sharing articles, readers will need to get active in online forums by answering questions and providing insights.
MPI has a number of different chapter-based LinkedIn Groups that organizers can join to start participating online.
For those interested in networking with event organizers on Facebook,
Eventovation is a private Group for people in the event industry interested in sharing best practices and helpful content.
Step 3: Develop an event planning specialty
Thought leadership is easiest when you have developed a clear specialty in the industry. Some organizers are experts on event technology, others choose to focus on event design, while others are primarily interested in strategies designed to better engage event attendees.
Once you have become somewhat active with online communities, you should get a sense for the kind of specialties that have traction and those that might be outdated. Determine event planning specialties that suit you best, while also being aware of trends in the industry.
Be sure to update your social media platforms to reflect this specialization and begin contributing content and insights that reflects this shift.
Thought leadership is about sharing what you know in order to help others.
Being an effective thought leader will require readers to develop a well thought out LinkedIn profile, it will also mean that readers will need to actively contribute helpful content online. Once readers have followed steps 1 and 2, it’s best to dive into an aspect of event planning to become a thought leader in a specific niche.