One of the most powerful tools used to connect people is a robust community events calendar. It provides a destination to exchange information about events related to local areas, shared interests, or industry topics.
While plugins like the Community Events add-on make it easy for community partners to submit events to your calendar from the front-end, there are also some easy steps you can take to bring your community calendar to the next level.
4 Tips for Improving Your Community Events Calendar That Don’t Involve Code
#1: Make it really clear people can add their own events to your calendar
This might sound obvious, but you have to remember there are generally two types of people looking at your calendar – people who want to attend events and people who want to list events. The people who want to list their events likely already know what to look for, but the people who are just looking for events to attend might not know that you accept community submissions on your calendar.
By making it very clear people can add their own events, it encourages submissions from all of your site visitors, including those who didn’t come to your site planning to submit an event. On our demo site WPShindig.com, we include “Add Your Event” in our nav to help users know right away that they can test out Community Events by submitting their own event to our calendar.
#2: Provide clear instructions for event submission
Do users need to be logged in before they can submit an event? Are all events held for review before publishing? What size photo can or should be used when uploading a featured event image?
Providing clear instructions for submitting an event helps empower site visitors to submit their events on their own, reducing the amount of time you have to spend answering questions or fixing event listings after they’ve been submitted. Useful things to include in your community event submission instructions:
- What kind of events can be listed
- What information is required
- Featured image size and/or other image requirements
- What they can expect after they hit submit
- Who to contact with any questions
- Information related to settings you may have enabled such as editing or deleting events after they have been submitted, viewing submitted events, and email notifications
#3: Share best practices
Community event submissions are often entered by people who don’t write event descriptions for a living. With a little guidance, however, you can help turn “meh” event listings into powerful entries your site visitors will love.
Hike It Baby does a great job of sharing best practices on their event submission page. In addition to listing their submission requirements, they include helpful tips on promoting and facilitating a successful group hike.
#4: Encourage event promotion
You can encourage event organizers to promote their events on your event submission page as mentioned in the previous tip, but don’t stop there. Make it easy for event organizers and attendees alike to promote events on your community calendar by including social share buttons on individual event pages and sharing oEmbed instructions so they can embed the event on their own sites.
Advanced tip: One of my favorite ways to encourage event promotion is to include social media tips in the organizer’s event submission confirmation email. While this does require a bit of custom code to edit the email template in our Community Events plugin, I think it’s worth the effort to include extra resources in the email that help your organizers make their events successful.
Build a Better Community Events Calendar
These tips all focus on non-technical ways to improve your community events calendar. For information on customizing the Community Events plugin, check out our knowledgebase articles and Themer’s Guide.