For every event, it’s important to consider public relations during the early stages of planning. Before you launch a PR campaign, think about your goals and objectives for the event, the tactics and strategies you want to use to achieve them and the target audiences you want to reach. Following are some tips for incorporating PR into the event planning process.
- Tailor the PR plan to the event. Create a PR plan that’s centered on the purpose of your event. The plan should outline targeted communication channels (media outreach, social media, email marketing and website updates), key messages for each target audience (media vs. public), a schedule for deliverable deadlines and a list assigning each of the responsibilities.
- Start PR efforts as early as possible. As soon as the date and venue are secured, you should start your public outreach. Typically, local print reporters and photographers have a packed schedule that fills up months in advance, so contact them early. Actively reaching out to key community members also helps generate ticket sales, secure sponsors and advertisers, and creates a buzz and public awareness. Finally, contact television and radio stations early on the day of the event because assignments are typically determined in the morning.
- Plan your work and work your plan. Create a working schedule that clearly defines roles and responsibilities for everyone involved. This will not only help keep the PR push organized, but also help the entire event team stay focused. Status reports leading up to the event and a post-event debrief report will track and document your efforts and better prepare you for the next event.
- Identify your media target audience. Research which media would be most interested in attending your event. Submit details to event calendar websites and publications for additional public awareness. Also, hire a professional photographer and distribute photos post-event to media that couldn’t attend.
- Craft messages for each communication channel. Use different social media platforms for teaser posts to hype up the event and engage customers/followers. Create and promote a specific hashtag during the event and encourage attendees to post about their experiences. Use targeted e-mail blasts for reminders, major updates or specific subscriber-based perks/contests. Distributing media advisories and releases can also boost media interest and attendance.
- Have an angle or hook. To make your event stand out from the crowd, you need to focus on the benefits your event has to offer and give both the media and public a reason to attend.
- Be prepared for anything. It’s important to create a detailed crisis communications plan in the event unforeseen circumstances arise. Knowing how to communicate effectively during a crisis can be the difference between failure and success.
PR plays a critical role in the success of any event and there’s a variety of channels available to take advantage in the promotion of an event. Cooksey Communications has helped turn good events into great events by maximizing the value of the event through strategic PR campaigns. At Cooksey, we’ve helped build successful PR campaigns for a variety of client events, including:
- Media Tours, Previews and Open Houses
- Milestone Celebrations
- Product Launches
- Appreciation and Recognition Ceremonies
- Groundbreakings, Ribbon Cuttings and Grand Openings
- Monthly Meetings, Annual Conferences and Summits