Your client has a big event coming up and it’s your job to make sure that you get the right people to attend. So, where do you start?

media update’s Aisling McCarthy guides you through 10 steps to ensure your PR event strategy is a success.

Here they are:

1. List the basic details of your event

Keep a list of all the basic details of your upcoming event. That way, you can ensure you include the necessary information in your press releases. By listing each and every detail, you can consider the kind of things people might ask, such as ‘Where can I get tickets?’ and ‘What is the dress code?’.

Having all the information upfront will give you the best chance at turning readers into attendees!

Here’s a checklist to get you started:

  • Event name
  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Price
  • Dress code
  • Where to buy or reserve tickets
  • Event highlights

2. Write your press release

With all your event information gathered, it’s time to put together a press release to send to the media. Make sure your press release leads with the news, and tells a story that the media are interested in hearing.

When putting your press release together, keep the following things in mind:

  • Why should the media be interested in your information?
  • Why would their readership be interested in the event?
  • How does the event fit the focus of the publication?
Want to know how to put your best foot forward when it comes to press releases? Check out these 10 Steps to getting your press release published.

3. Do your research

Before you send out your press release, make sure you’ve done your research. To maximise your ROI, take some time to look at the type of press that are likely to attend – and cover – your event.

An online media directory can be a useful tool to put together your media list. Marina Kruger, media manager at Target Media Directory, said in a previous media update article that media directories can help in building better media relations.

“Once you know exactly which industries a publication or station covers, as well as the audience they are targeting, you’ll be able to tailor your press release to suit them – and increase your chances of getting published. The result is better, healthier relationships with the media.”

Keep a list of the following details in your media list:

  • Publication name
  • Contact person (writer or editor)
  • Contact information
  • Publication’s focus (adjust your pitch to each publication)

4. List the event in relevant places

Get the word about your event out there! Contact local publications to see if they will list your event.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of local listing and event calendars that can suit your event.

Here are some search terms you can use to find relevant publishers:

  • The type of event
  • The area the event will be taking place in
  • The week or month of the event and the city hosting it
  • Related interests (for example, ‘networking opportunities’)
  • Industry served by the event

5. Leverage the headliners for PR

You’ve done all the hard work of getting those headline speakers for your event – now use them to your advantage!

Use their influence to secure some press coverage by mentioning them in your press releases. You can also expand your media list by identifying journalists and publications who have interviewed your headliners before.

6. Start your pitching early

Remember that every publication has a lead time, so don’t send out your event information at the last minute.

Print publications will need more lead time than digital ones, so keep that in mind. Even if your event is a perfect fit for a publication's audience, you won’t get published if you send it too late.

Give at least one month’s notice for digital publications, and two month’s notice for print publications.

7. Use compelling event images

The press want to engage their readership with the things they publish. So give them a reason to share your event by giving them some great images to publish alongside your event.

Including imagery will help you as publications will be more likely to share your event, and can help convert readers into event attendees.

Here are some image ideas for your event:

  • Photographs of your headliners
  • Pictures from previous events
  • Professional photographs of the event (to promote the next one)
  • An infographic of the main points from the event

8. Pick the perfect hashtag

Social media is an important part of any media event promotion. So pick a hashtag, and use it consistently!

Make sure your hashtag is short and to the point, while also being very clear. Consider how often your events will take place; if they are annual, consider adding the year to the hashtag to easily distinguish between events. However, if your events are hosted quarterly, it makes no sense to include the year in the hashtag.

Encourage attendees to use the hashtag too, so you can build some traction for the event!
If you’ve got the time, put together a social media strategy for your event. Check out these 10 Steps to the perfect social media marketing strategy.

9. Track your efforts  

Keep a list of the media that you reached out to and follow up with them if they agree to publish.

While it might sound simple, this is a step that many people forget about. Without keeping track of your efforts, you may miss out on opportunities to get published. Remember that the press are always busy – so when following up, be polite and get to the point straight away.

10. Invite the press

Good PR doesn’t stop once your event begins. Try to build up a long-term relationship with the press by offering them complimentary access to your event.

Doing so might mean live coverage of your event, or even an introduction to more contacts in their field.

It’s official – you are now ready for the big event!

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When sending out your event information, it’s vital that you send it at the right time. Find out when exactly that is in our article, Your essential guide to sending press releases at the right time.