Does Content Dictate Theme or Does Theme Dictate Content?

Good themes and content prevent events (especially recurring events) from becoming stale. Networking opportunities aside, you need to give your attendees a good reason to keep coming back. The more cohesive your theme and content are the more memorable your event will be and the more likely your attendees will be to return next year. Attempting to plan an event with a complementary theme and content can leave you feeling like you’re going in circles. Much like the chicken and the egg it’s hard to know which one comes first. 

 

While there is certainly no “one size fits all” approach to event planning, it is typical to begin with a theme.

Beginning with a theme offers several benefits:

  1. Beginning with a theme provides you with one central thread that ties together the rest of your content. This will help every part of the conference feel as though it contributes to the whole.
  2. Establishing a central theme will help you make difficult choices in terms of speakers. When reviewing a large pile of speaker applications, your theme will help you efficiently sift through irrelevant topics and nominate the best speakers for your event.
  3. A good theme will differentiate your company. It’s important that your event doesn’t feel too much like another conference or expo. Differentiating your event from your previous ones and your competitor’s events will energize your attendees and help them have a positive experience.
  4. Branding for the event should be guided by a theme. Deciding on a theme early gives you plenty of time to create content that will excite your attendees. Put your theme front and center on your website, social media pages, emails, or any other content promoting the event.

While choosing a theme to drive your content is a good decision, it’s important to choose a theme that works well for the intended event. Imagine you’re a tech company preparing for your annual conference which is primarily attended by thousands of developers and designers. Choosing a sports theme may be a bad call.

A good theme will bring your attendees and speakers together and will not alienate people based on their likes or dislikes.

So, how can you make sure that you choose the right theme for your event? You need to know your target audience. Familiarity with your attendees, company, and industry will provide valuable insights that will help you pick the perfect theme. 

Once you’ve picked out your theme it’s time to move onto content. The heart of your event’s content is the speakers. Choosing the right speaker is no small task as a speaker can make or break your attendees experience. Following these tips will ensure that your event has the best speaker possible. 

  1. Stay on theme. Choosing your speakers (and their topics) based on your theme will create a cohesive and enjoyable experience for your attendees.
  2. Choose popular and/or knowledgeable speakers. It’s not uncommon for celebrities to make an appearance at conferences. They are great at drawing in crowds. They may not be experts in the industry; however, their experiences and input can be valuable to your attendees.
  3. Find a niche. Rather than repeating information your attendees can find elsewhere, make your event an opportunity for attendees to hear unique topics and perspectives that they can’t find anywhere else.

Following these tips will help you plan interesting and relevant content for your event. Again, there is no hard and fast rule, but creating content following the theme of your event will provide structure and continuity for your content and help you create the best experience possible for your attendees.

 

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Attempting to plan an event with a complementary theme and content can leave you feeling like you’re going in circles.
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