Localist is an interactive online calendaring, publishing, promotion, and analytics tool for event marketers. Users can house and manage multiple events on one platform; brand events; import feeds from other calendars; schedule recurring events; embed event content on websites and social media channels; add venue profiles; encourage and capture comments, reviews, and photo submissions from event attendees; and process ticket payments. Analytics include trending event metrics, attendance metrics, and engagement metrics. The platform also integrates with Google Analytics.
Monthly plans are $29 for 10 events (and one editor) or $99 for unlimited events (and three editors). Enterprise pricing is available upon request. A free trial is also offered.
Justin Codd, assistant director of web and electronic communications at Maryland Institute College of Art, has been using Localist since the fall of 2010.
How do you use it?
It is quite simple. Our content creators log on and press the create new event button. That brings up a blank template where they enter the date, time, location, description text, and photos. When they save it, the template is added to a queue for our PR team to approve and post on the live system so the public can see it.
As an administrator, I log on every Friday and create an e-newsletter that helps us promote events and exhibits. I populate the newsletter with events coming up in the next eight to 10 days. Localist then generates an HTML preview link that I copy into our internal email system and mail it to students, faculty, staff, alumni, partners, and the local community.
I also regularly update our custom template. Localist’s name for this is "Silk Wrapper." There’s a field in the calendar settings where you can put in the URL for Silk Wrapper. It refers to an HTML file we keep on one of our servers. I can easily update the look for this template on our server and then go into Localist and click update. It pulls it all in within seconds.
The Silk Wrapper template is all branded so it looks like it part of our site.
Localist is incredibly responsive whenever I’ve had issue, but I haven’t had many. I email our account representative, and she frequently responds within the hour and always within the same day with a solution or a status update.
How does it serve your business needs?
It’s the primary system for everyone to submit events so we can share them.
Prior to using Localist, our event planners submitted all events and exhibitions through our site’s content management system. Our PR team then had to review each event, mark it for publication, submit for it for publication, and wait for a site publish to be performed by one of two people. It could take upwards of three hours for an entire site publish, so there was no instant uploading of events.
The way we were previously doing things was cumbersome, so we weren’t getting full buy-in from all the people on campus that we wanted.
We needed a system with a more user friendly interface that would make it easier for event planners to submit events and for PR to approve and publish them more quickly.
We also needed a system that could easily integrate with our print magazine, which covers upcoming events and exhibitions and also news articles, and with our weekly events e-newsletter.
Since we started using Localist, we’ve gotten much more buy-in from people around campus who create the events and we’re able to communicate more efficiently and broadly.
How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from an IT standpoint?
It’s Web-based. It’s hosted at Localist, but Localist maps it to a subdomain on our site. That was very important to us.
What are the main benefits?
Having the Silk Wrapper on our server as a template that’s branded consistently with everything else at the institute.
Integration with Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, and various personal calendar systems is great. We also have Apple iOS apps integrated with our service plan.
The ability to integrate links to our magazine through the custom Silk Wrapper is a bonus as is being able to create custom newsletters to reach external and internal audiences.
You can create widgets for your website (or anywhere else) that directly import a live feed of events based on any number of custom categories you determine and set up yourself. You can use those to tag events in the system and that makes it a lot easier when you’re trying to sort or organize events.
What are the main drawbacks?
The process for adding dates is the same for events that span a range of time and for events that occur on specific dates within a range of time. So you have manually add each individual date on which an event occurs. We can still provide the information we need to provide, but it just takes a little more time to do it.
What would you like to see improved/added?
More efficiency in the system for adding dates.
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