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 party. But did you ever host a party? I’m sure you have. Hosting the party isn’t nearly as glamorous as going to a party.
It’s a lot of work to host a party. A great party is directly related to the amount of time and effort the host puts into planning the details and promoting – yes, promoting – the party to guests.
How to Host a Party
The list of tasks for a successful party is endless. From the planning stages of create a guest list to cleaning up after the party, it’s a big job. For example, to host a party, you have to:
Plan the theme.
Prepare the room.
Put together the playlist.
Send the invitations.
Hire a caterer.
Follow up with those who don’t respond.
Call and remind guests as the date gets nearer.
Then, guests have to know what to expect. 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?
When the party starts, the host has to make sure everyone is looked after. The host must insure guests feel welcome and included by making introductions and facilitating conversations.
At the end of the evening, the host arranges for rides home for those who may have had a bit too much to drink. And often, they send them off with a gift bag to put a finishing touch on a great evening.
And when everyone finally leaves, guess who gets to clean up?
Your Radio Show Is a Daily Party
A radio show is a party that takes place on the air each day. The question is whether or not it’s a party listeners will tell their friends about…and want to come back.
Let’s go over some of the details it takes to host a party on the air.
Do listeners feel welcome to come to the party? Do you build anticipation with specific, direct messaging so they know what to expect? When they tune in to the party, is it clear what the party is about and who it’s for? Or do they feel lost and confused?
Have you told them exactly when and where to listen? This happens both on and off the air. Use all tools available, including email, social media and promos.
When did the last email go the audience database? Were details included about the highlights for tomorrow’s party? Did you tweet them? Text them?
Is there a guide to the show on the station’s web site with updated information so listeners can come to the party?
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 is the content targeted to fit the guest’s mood? Does it makes sense to them? Is it appropriate? Is it appealing to those on the guest list? In other words, do you curate content, turning topics into stories that resonate with the target audience.
A great host builds a party’s schedule around one main thing that stands out above all others. What is the highlight of the party that guests will talk about tomorrow? Will something happen at the party to make it memorable? Are you staging your show in a way that points listeners to one key moment, then staging it in a way that helps listeners actually remember it?
A great host arranges entertainment that makes guests feel involved, but doesn’t rely on the guests to provide the entertainment. On the radio, are the breaks entertaining on their own, or are you just throwing out a phone topic and hoping the audience has something interesting to say?
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 on-air decorations effectively?
Does the production match the theme of the party? Have you taken care of little things like music beds and production effects that set the tone? Does it accent the party or does it overwhelm in an obnoxious way?
The invitations have been sent, but that doesn’t mean anyone will show up. Just because a promo aired for a feature that airs at 7:20 doesn’t mean listeners are coming for it.
A party host has to follow up on the invitation. Once appointment tune in events are set, it’s important to constantly remind them that the party is happening. Guests have other things they could be doing.
Don’t expect them to RSVP on their own. Build a plan to follow up and chase them down. Create a plan to make sure listeners come to the party!
Remember that the party is not for you. It’s for guests. A host’s job is to provide a great experience. Do this well and guests will love the host for it. They’ll tell their friends about it. And they’ll look forward to the next party, which happens to be tomorrow.
Great hosts don’t spend their time talking about themselves. Do that and one by one, all 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 start planning the next one. The process starts over, with new invitations.
But before the invitations go out for tomorrow’s party, it’s a good idea to review today’s show 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 host a party. And it’s hard to 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.