Article by Gemma Church
Hosting events is a great way to attract new members and promote your coworking space to the wider world. Event attendees get to see your space and meet your community and you could even strike up strategic partnerships with event organisers to boost your brand exposure and professional network.
On the other hand, coworking spaces are also an event organiser’s dream. They come with a ready-made community, are housed in beautiful (yet accessible) locations, and are crammed with on-site facilities.
A coworking space-event organizer alliance is, as you can probably already imagine, a win-win situation. But in order for this alliance to happen, your workspace brand needs to stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:
1. Play to Your Strengths
Make sure you highlight why your space is a better option compared to other event venues. Lucas Seyhun, cofounder at space The Farm SoHo Coworking, said: “We have 1,500 sq. foot of loft event space in NYC. Considering the lack of available space in the city, that’s a pretty big pull for event managers.”
It also helps to offer a modular layout, according to Lucas, who added: “You need to be able to host a range of events. Some may want to host an intimate dinner party – others may want to host a massive product launch. Your space (and its furnishings) have to be adaptable to offer flexibility to event organisers.”
And, when you’re showing event organisers around your space, make sure you have plenty of examples of previous events to help spark their imagination.
2. Offer Help with the Logistics
Depending on the type of event, its logistics may be simple or quite complex. Make sure you’re prepared for every eventuality. For example, offer to help source catering companies and other resources, such as projection equipment and sound systems, from your network.
Using local suppliers can really help event organisers who are not familiar with your location. Additionally, find out if the organisers need any extra help on the day of the event to, like check people in or helping setup.
3. Bring Community-based Promotion to the Table
Your community is a huge asset for event organisers – but you must tread carefully to promote an event and respect your members.
There are plenty of free promotional tools to tell your community about an event. You can send out an email to your members and other distribution lists, you can use social media or word of mouth to create a buzz, and you can even use your newsletter and website to put the event on your online calendar.Or you can make the buzz yourself and write a blog about the upcoming event.
Your workspace community is important, but wider community outreach should also be a priority. Contact local individuals, groups, and businesses outside of your space’s community that may be interested in the event and invite them personally. Active event promotion is, obviously, a huge benefit to the event organisers using your space.
4. Offer a Strategic Partnership to Benefit Everyone
Strategic partnerships come in many forms. It’s worth exploring the possibility with event organisers; offer your coworking space as an event venue for free in exchange for exposure to the event’s attendees. Alternatively, you can offer a blog exchange, membership discounts, or even consider offering some form of sponsorship for off-site events.
It’s also worth following up with event organisers to see if they want to host another event, or if they may be interested in using your space as a coworking member. Lucas added: “Many event organisers want to carry on using our space to host small meetings or just work in a different environment. For these people, hosting an event at a coworking space is often a great introduction to the coworking movement – and an opportunity for us to grow our community!”