How to Cover an Event Like a Pro

large conference event

Have you ever been asked to cover an event, but were unsure how to get started?

Covering and writing about an event for your organization is a multi-step process that involves a different approach than other forms of communications writing. The key to great event writing is to have experiential content without being too chronological.

I have covered many events in my career—from tradeshows to networking events to award ceremonies—and rely on a proven process to create articles that are sure to engage my readers.

Cover an event like a pro! Follow my advice below on how to write a great article for your next event.

How to Cover an Event Like a Pro

Get existential

Why are you covering this event in the first place? And how will it benefit your organization and cause? You need to ask yourself these questions.

In my experience, there are 3 kinds of events a communications professional may cover:

  1. You’re covering your own event
  2. You belong to a community-based organization and you’re covering a stakeholder’s event (e.g. community outreach)
  3. You’re covering an event that will help highlight your organization’s relevance (e.g. the event showcases new research that justifies your organization’s funding and purpose)

Knowing the kind of event you’re covering will give your writing some purpose.

Read the event’s agenda and prepare a draft article

Before you even step foot into the conference room, you should prepare a draft of what your article may look like… at least a day in advance. This draft should include the basics:

  • What’s the name of the event?
  • Who’s organizing the event?
  • When and where is the event?
  • What’s the purpose of the event?

In addition to the above essentials, you may want to include information about the speakers, the agenda as well as any other details provided by the event organizers. All of this information should be readily available on the event’s website and agenda.

Prepare your interview questions

After I complete my draft article, I preselect 3-4 people who I will interview to gather quotes. These people may include:

  • A spokesperson for the host organization
  • One of the presenters or speakers
  • An attendee – look for the happiest person in the room for the best quote

You can keep your questions fairly basic. For example, you can ask, “Why did you attend the event?” or “How will this event achieve fill in the blank. Please explain”. Try to avoid yes/no answers by asking “how”, “why” and “please explain/elaborate” questions.

You need quotes for your article. They add authority as well as a perspective that isn’t yours.

Take it all in

You now have a draft article with some interview questions. Now that you’re at the event, I recommend you take as many notes as you can. These notes will help you explain the atmosphere and add colour to your article.

Use your senses to take in the following:

  • What do you see? Any interesting encounters?
  • What are people saying?
  • Is anything particularly interesting? Any cool ideas or demonstrations?
  • Describe the lights and sounds?
  • Etc.

Adding colour will give your article more depth and make your readers feel as if they’re at the event.

Put your article together

Now it’s time to put all the pieces together. Get your draft article and add the quotes you collected and the experiential notes you gathered while attending the event.

Be sure to properly edit your article (always get a second set of eyes!) and get verification for your quotes and facts.

Congratulations! You are now ready to publish your article!

Need help editing your article? Check out my business writing tips.

 

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John Gilson

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