Registration: words are power

You’ve filled in your contact details, ticked the organiser box and selected which type of organisation you are working for. So far so good. You scan the organiser agreement...yes, yes, yes, sign it, date it, save it, good. Pretty straight forward. Excellent! This will be done in no time. Right, next bit.

© Nicola Graham - Registration form

Part 2: Entry Form. Now we're getting to the important stuff. The stuff that's going to be in the online directory. Okay.

1. Property/Event Name, yep. 2. Property/Event Information: Description…description? 'Please describe the property/event…’ Describe the property or event…ummm…
…Grade II listed building with…No…
...Beautiful Grade II listed building with… With what? …With two windows, one old door, three rooms…No…
...Beautiful building with many important features. No…

If the thought of writing about your event draws a blank; if it sends your words colliding into each other at full pelt leaving you with NOTHING; or makes you want to climb into bed and cry, this is for you. A brief list of dos and don’ts, designed to coax out the wordsmith in you and banish your writing gremlins for good. Because it doesn’t matter how extraordinary your event or building is, if you don’t sell it, no one will know.

What’s in a name? EVERYTHING!!!

Imagine a potential visitor. They are online, looking for something fun to do over the weekend and chance upon an advert for something called Heritage Open Days…Never heard of it, ooo it’s free! They click on the link to the event directory. They wait for it to load and a list of places comes up. They haven’t heard of any of them. There are a lot. They scroll down...No, no, no…oooo, that sounds interesting! They click for description…

A few handy tips to help you

Your title is often the first contact you will have with your visitor. So how can you grab their attention?

Try to:
• Keep it short and snappy
• Include a question
• Use alliteration (words that all start with the same letter or sound), rhyme or rhythm
• Sum up what the event is about or what is special about the place
• Ask yourself: why will this visitor want to attend and how can I communicate that?

Try to avoid:
• Just giving the name of the place
• Using too many words

Description: if you build it, they will come

Visitor clicks for description. They wait for it to load: Beautiful building with many important features: two windows, one old door, three rooms …blah blah blah.. Grade II listed?…What does that mean?...Visitor returns to menu.

A few tips to get your visitors hooked

There is no point having a catchy title if your description fails to maintain interest. What experience are you offering your visitor? Build an image of it for them.

Try to:

• Write as if you are speaking to the visitor
• Ask them questions: Have you ever wondered…?
• Engage their senses: what will they see, smell, hear, feel?
• Use active verbs: visit, see, smell, experience
• Use the future tense to offer promise: You will uncover
• Use describing words to capture their imaginations, the more unusual the better
• Sell your property event: what makes it special? Its history? Its architecture or the event you have organised? What can the visitor hope to experience if they decide to attend?

Try to avoid:

• Including an inventory of what the building houses; instead tempt the visitor with a few well-described morsels
• Giving the entire history of the building: give context to add flavour but leave the visitor wanting to know more
• Finishing the description on a list: your concluding sentence is your last opportunity to grab attention. Sum up why they should visit, or why not finish on a question?

If in doubt, shop about

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t panic! You don’t need to do all these things at once! Perhaps just focus on one or two. And remember to have a look at other people’s descriptions; they could inspire your own. Last year’s are a good place to start; if you spot a good idea….steal it! Good luck!