Promoting events is tough. Getting your event noticed is tough. Getting people to sign up and buy a ticket – even tougher. Most event promoters could do with a little third party help here…so attracting the attention of the press by way of some ‘event public relations’ is one way to boost your events’ profile.
Before social media the role the press played in helping to promote events was significant. When I think back to my early event management days as well as having to get the press ‘on side’ you also always placed adverts. While the use of what I call traditional adverts in hard copy publications or newspapers has declined markedly (they very seldom work) we remain as news hungry as ever. It’s just we access the news via a number of platforms.
To attract the interest of the press requires you to build relationships with those writing about your world – so you become the news. One way to do this is to conduct an event public relations (PR) campaign. Such a campaign is designed to manage the communications with and through the media to the public. In other words you are trying to influence what is said and what people think about our event. It’s about establishing and maintaining goodwill, a positive event image and mutual understanding between you the organisers and your target audience.
Event PR has to be part of your overall marketing strategy. It is earnt media: coverage earned on the back of your own public relations campaigns. In the first instance you will need to identify your target media – who is talking about your world and likely to be interested in your event. Your event is NOT of interest to everyone…so be laser focused when picking your target media. Much like an event promotional plan you’ll want to set some PR aims and objectives: establish what communication channel works best for your event and then craft your messages specifically with your target audience in mind and then agree what resources you need. You will run the campaign and monitor it: to see what works.
The usual practice is to send out a press release containing an interesting headline. Your release will contain a brief event overview backed up by a ‘killer’ or supporting fact, research and or a case study. You’d also be seeking to provide a key quote, testimonial and or a third party endorsement. You will also include a note to editors section, your contact details and some visuals. You should also be prepared to be interviewed in person or over the phone.
This is just a snapshot of the world of event PR. There are lots of other ways of attracting the interest of the press – a competition, press conference and or a stunt. I am no PR expert – others are much more qualified to talk about this subject than me but I do know the press remain hungry for stories so it will always be worth cultivating their interest. You mustn’t also forget that seeking the help of key industry bloggers is also wise too: some of whom do have a greater ‘reach’ than the more traditional press! Not sure you can do it then there are a range of PR agencies out there to help you.
Is your event making the news? It should be…
Chris Powell, The Event Expert specialises in helping accidental and occasional event planners develop the skills and confidence to design, programme, promote and deliver their own exceptional events. I deliver In-house event management courses and consultancy services covering all types of public and business events. www.theeventexpert.co.uk