Behind the Scenes of Running a Planathon

Hosting online events is a great way to draw people into your community and show them what you've got!

Like webinars or creating a new download for people to opt in to your community to receive, events give you another chance to connect with your audience and invite new people into your world.

One of my favorite online events is the annual event I host that helps entrepreneurs plan for their year ahead in business. It's called the Planathon.  It's been showcased by Social Media Examiner, Anne Samoliov here and here, and the Houston Chronicle, to name a few.

Business owners often ask me what it takes to pull of an event like the Planathon.  For that reason, we've pulled together your personal Planathon Behind the Scenes

If you have no idea what the Planathon is, but you are looking for a new way to engage your community you can check out the 2015 Planathon DIY here now.  It's not the same as the live experience, but you'll get all of the content a feel for the flow and start getting results until we are live again in the fall.

Here's how the Planathon goes down… Because I wanted it to operate like a marathon or a telethon in terms of energy, I wanted there to be lots of content and entertainment, in a small space of time.  We bring on the content fast and furious:

  • 5 days of content
  • 5 mini videos per day to help you get your plan on for the year ahead

The Speakers

It's a ton of content to pull together, but if you pick the right partners and let those partners work their magic with you collecting content can be fairly straight forward:

  • Reach out ~60 days before
  • Ask for content back by ~25 days before
  • Follow up with guest speakers ~20 days before it's due with a loving reminder
  • Add bumper to content ~8 days before
  • Load videos ~5 days before
  • Save links videos for posting

We did NOT ask my speakers to sign releases to say I own the content, that it can be repurposed, etc., like many people do in a tele-summit.

We thought about it, but ultimately decided that if someone wanted us to take their video down, we would.  I wouldn't argue.  No one has asked for a video to be taken down and I know many people who have signed up to work with our speakers (e.g., Denise DT's Money Bootcamp, Katie Ouden's SkinnySip Society, Christine over at iloveintuition.com) after the Planathon so it is win-win in many respects.

I give very little direction to our speakers on what to create:

  • Video length target
  • Topic ideas
  • Include a baby step call to action
  • Deadline to turn in video

While I give topic ideas, we ultimately ask speakers to speak on whatever they think would give the most value to business owners as they create business plans for the year ahead.  Trust your subject matter experts!

The Line Up

NiceOps partners with entrepreneurs who want to run their business better.  We focus on strategy and business operations and try to stick to an 80% get it done, 20% fun ratio.  During the Planathon, I present on topics that are in my sweet spot and I invite guest for other areas that are important for business planning:

2014 Line Up

Got Vision? – Amber McCue

Goal Structure – Amber McCue

90 Day Plan – Amber McCue

Daily 5 – Maggie Patteson

Dream Big – Amber McCue

Fear Factor – Lauren Fritsch

Regret Review – Lauren Fritsch

Close the Gaps – Action Plan – Amber McCue

Making $$$ – Shenee Howard

Marketing Brainstorm – Jessica Kuppferman

Launch Planning – Anne Samoilov

Customer Wow Factor – Victoria Prozan

Events to Attend – Amber McCue

Books to Read – Amber McCue

Who to Work with – Amber McCue

Partners in Crime – Loralee Hutton

Give Back Big – Erin Giles

How do you work best? – Megan Flatt

Treat Yourself – Michelle Lisenbury Christensen

2015 Line Up

CEO Smarts – Amber McCue

Got Vision + Goal Structure – Amber McCue

90 Day Plan – Amber McCue

Get Rich! – Denise Duffield Thomas

Close the Gap – Amber McCue

Leave Your Clients Craving More – Victoria Prozan

Financials – Amber McCue

Your Story Whisperer – Maggie Patterson

Don't Get Hacked – Alison Monday

Protect Your Business – Karen Taggart

Get Fearless in Your Marketing – Anne Samoilov

Squash Your Launch Monsters – Farideh

Selling Made Simple with Funnels – Brittany Becher

Zero to Video Hero – Holly Gillen

Building Networks – Lewis Schiff

Partners in Crime – Amber McCue

Sales Conversations Made Easy – Liana Ling

Systems are Sexy – Amber McCue

Create a More Productive Workspace – Rebecca Mcloughlin

Use Your Intuition On Demand – Christina Ambubuyog

Be the Happiest CEO You Know – Katie Den Ouden

Make it Happen! – Amber McCue

Feel like you want in on that goodness?  Get it here

2016 Line Up

Slow down speed racer!! I like to plan, but I'm not that far ahead of this game! 😉 

It is a lot of content at a fast pace, but the momentum is high and it's a ton of fun! We also do not encourage participants to engage the entire week and watch all videos.  Instead we encourage business owners to way only the videos that apply to their business.  You can't do it all.  Nor should you.  Focus in to get results.

The Team

2014 wasn't nearly as organized as 2015 was in terms of systems and our Planathon Playbook.

I'm giving you the good stuff here.

In 2015, I made sure I had some help executing on the event the week it took place:

  • Maura, our business coordinator, was on point to post all videos during the week of the Planathon.
  • Maggie popped in to edit my draft content before it went live.
  • Maura, Maggie, and Brittany were all back up admins (at the time of the launch Sophie Bujold alerted me to the fact that admins were just being dropped as admins from their groups, hence our backup)

The Location

The Planathon takes place 100% in Facebook.  All videos, comments, links are right there in Facebook everyday.  Participants receive two daily emails: One at the top of the day to set the stage and one at the end with the links to the videos.

Why Facebook? 

Two primary reasons:

  1. I wanted to keep it simple for us.
  2. I like to meet you where you are.  And 98.5% of my clients have a Facebook account.

The Week Of

I was actually going to be in an offsite meeting with a business partner the first two days of the 2015 Planathon.  As such, it was critical that I seriously practice what I preach ala cloning and make sure the team had everything they needed to bring the event to life.  This would allow me to be able to come into the community and engage with participants on breaks during my meeting, which is a higher value activity than me actually doing the posting during the week of the event anyway.

Systems Needed

To make sure Maura had everything she needed to execute on the event in advance, I prepared the following:

  • Master schedule
  • One folder with all emails needed for each day of the week
  • One folder with day schedules, video links, and post content

For easy reference, these documents are organized and linked to in something we call our Planathon Playbook.

Of course, before the Planathon there was marketing and after the Planathon, we invited people to continue building on and to see through what they did in the Planathon by working together with me and a small group of others from the Planathon. But that's a post for another day.

Your Next Step

If you are considering hosting an event and are wondering if this is the right thing for you, first consider: if you were going to host an in person event, what would it look like?

It's easier for me to envision things in real life first – Then bring them online.

Then, turn that on it's side and adapt it to an online world.

If you know you are running an online event, I recommend setting up a playbook! Use the playbook to collect everything you need, create, and use to market and run the event in one spot so you have your system documented from this point forward.  It'll be easier to improve upon your event and replicate it in the future, if you have it all document.

Finally, share in the comments, what's cooking in your world so we can all get in on the action!

We need more of you in the world!

XO

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