‘C’ is for Calendar

By Matthew Parente, guest blogger and co-founder of Hubvine

If you host an event of any kind – seminars, conferences, networking, happy hours, even online events – you probably thought about promoting your event on a community calendar. And if you were brave, you tried your best to make it happen.

Events are a great way to promote your organization, and promoting your events on community calendars is a fantastic way to raise awareness for your event, your brand, and your presence in the community. However, if you talk to anyone who has run the gauntlet of submitting events to community calendars or have done it yourself, you’ll learn that it is – as one person put it – a “soul sucking” experience.

Today’s article (brought to you by the letter “C”) will help guide you through the process of promoting your events vis-a-vis the community calendar.

Let me take a moment and share that I’m a co-founder in a company that is working on a way to make this process a lot easier. The service is free, and solves a lot of the big problems you might have in the event submission process. So, if you’re just looking for “the solution,” you can skip to that part of the article. For those of us who enjoy staring at car wrecks, the next section is for you.

At this point I’m going to illustrate the pain involved in getting your event listed on various calendars. If you’ve done this, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but sometimes there can be enjoyment from just knowing you’re not the only one who is tortured.

The first step to submitting your event to a community calendar is to find one. Actually, you don’t want to find just one, you want to find several. Promoting your event on just one calendar is too limiting. To get the exposure you want, you will ideally be listed on 10-12 calendars, maybe 24 or more, depending on the nature of your event.

So the first step is finding the right dozen or so calendars. Unless you’re already in the know, this can be a lot harder than it sounds. Do a search for “community calendar” plus your city or town on Google and you’ll find more than you’ll ever want.

We’re going to assume you’ve already created a description of your event, ready to be used for your various event listings. If not, you’ll of course want to do this. You will also be – ideally – starting the process of submitting your events about 4-6 weeks before your event starts, to ensure your event actually has time to get onto the desired community calendar. Thus armed, you can begin the submission process.

Go to one of the community calendars you found, and find the area where you can submit events. Go on, we’ll wait – it’s typically not easy to find. Once you do find it, fill out the form, as instructed. Here’s a sample of one form:

Okay – one calendar down, 9 more to go! Go to the next website, find the web form and fill it out. Here’s a sample of what this one might look like:

And here’s the third one:

You might notice that each of these web forms are incredibly different from each other. That description you worked on? Not very helpful. You’ll need approximately as many variations of that description as you have web forms to fill out.

Here’s where things get really hairy. If you’ve submitted your events in a best practices manner (that is, you submitted your events several weeks in advance as I recommended above), there’s an exceedingly large chance some part of your event will have changed – the date, time, location, or agenda. Something will change. This leaves you with essentially two options:

1.    Go through the gauntlet of web forms again and update them with the right inforamtion
2.    Somehow get okay with the idea your event listings have “stale” information

Frankly, neither one of these options are terribly attractive. We need a better solution for this.

The above scenario describes what myself and my co-founders went through. We knew there had to be a better way to do this. So we decided to do something about it. We’ve spent about two years building a solution and we called it Hubvine.

With Hubvine, you enter your event information – one time – into a single web form, then share your event by simply clicking on a few buttons. Whenever you have to update your event, you simply update your one form and it will push your updates to all of your event lists.

Hubvine is free to use as an event owner, and we do offer some premium services (which are currently free). For communities and organizations that want to host their own event calendar, we are currently offering that service for free too. At this point, there’s not much to lose … save some frustration and angst, and try out a great free tool. We also throw quarterly parties just to prove how fun we are.

Thanks to Matthew Parente for this guest post on calendars. You can reach Matthew here and on Twitter.