Wanna Win? Host a Party!
by Tracy Johnson
Everyone loves a party. It’s a celebration. It’s fun. And if it’s done right, guests can’t wait for the next one. But have you ever had to host a party? I’m sure you have.
It’s a lot of work to host a party. A great party is directly correlated to the amount of time and effort the host puts into planning, preparing, paying attention to details and promoting – yes, promoting – the party to guests.
And that’s a lot of work. You have to create a guest list. Plan the theme. Prepare the room. Clean it! Decorate. Put together the playlist. Send the invitations. Hire a caterer. Handle RSVPs. Follow up with those who don’t respond. Call and remind guests as the date gets nearer.
Then your guests have to know what to expect. What’s the theme of the party? What time does it start? When does it end? Is there dinner? Or appetizers? What should I wear? Can I bring a guest? Is there a charge for the drinks? What should I bring? Who else will be there? Who is it for? How do I get there? Where do I park? Where do I hang my coat?
Then, when the party starts, the host has to make sure everyone is looked after. That they feel welcome and included. The host introduces people to one another. Facilitates conversations.
Then, you clean up. The list of details is extensive.
Your radio show is a party that takes place on the air each day. The question is whether or not it’s a party that listeners will tell their friends about…and want to come back.
How to Host a Party
Let’s go over some of the details it takes to host a party, and compare it to the radio experience.
Are you inviting your listeners to the party? Do you build anticipation with specific, direct promos and teases?
Have you told them exactly when to listen and why it will be a benefit? When did your last email go your audience database? Were details included about tomorrow’s party? Did you tweet them? Text them?
Is there a guide to your show on your web site that’s updated each day with information so they can come to the party? Do they know what to expect? Is it clear?
Fun doesn’t just happen at a party or on the air. It’s the result of careful planning and preparation. You can’t throw a party, invite a few people and hope for something good to happen. You have to set up the entertainment to match your theme and excite your guests.
How have you targeted your content, delivery and presentation to fit your guest’s mood? Does it makes sense? Is it appropriate? Is it appealing to your guest list?
A great host plans an event that features one thing that stands out. What is the highlight of the party that guests will talk about tomorrow? Will something happen at your party to make it memorable? How can you make sure it’s talked about? Are you staging it so every guest remembers it? What is the one thing that will happen at your next party that everyone will talk about?
Little things make a big difference at a party. Decorations don’t make the party successful, but they add ambiance that enhances the experience. Are you using decorations effectively?
Does the production match your party theme? Are you using it properly? Have you taken care of little things like music beds and production effects that can set a tone? Does it accent your party or does it overwhelm in an obnoxious way?
You’ve sent the invitations, but that doesn’t mean anyone will show up. Just because you ran a promo or mentioned the feature that airs at 7:20 doesn’t mean they are coming for it.
You have to follow up on the appointment tune in events and constantly remind them that the party is happening. Your guests have other things they could be doing, and your party isn’t nearly as important to them as it is to you.
Don’t expect them to RSVP. You may have to chase them down and make sure they come!
Remember that the party is not for you. It’s for your guests. Your job is to provide a great experience. Do this well and guests will love the host for it. They’ll tell their friends that they have to come to the next party. And they’ll look forward to the next party you throw, which happens to be tomorrow.
Make sure you don’t spend all your time talking about yourself and how cool you are, because one by one, all of your guests will leave. Nobody wants to be around self-absorbed party hosts.
As soon as the party is over, clean up begins. It’s time to pick up the pieces and immediately start planning the next one. The process starts over, and you have to send out new invitations for the next party…because it’s happening tomorrow.
But before you do, you might want to review today’s party and consider how the next one can be better.
Your guests’ (audience) enthusiasm for your event (show) will only be as great as your attention to planning (preparation) and detail (execution).
It’s a lot of work to insure an event is a success. Don’t take it for granted and expect them to just “find” you.
Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.