21 Jan 9 Tips for Event PR
Since I’m working the Minneapolis Boat Show this week I thought it would be appropriate to share my top tips for getting great public relations for any event. Although they all might not be as big as this one, events work well for traditional broadcast and print pitches. But there’s definitely a trick to it – here are some things that work for me.
- Assemble a GREAT press kit – send it via snail mail with free tickets to the event and have a PDF version. You don’t need gimmicks but you do need a fact sheet, press release, list of highlights, backgrounders with industry data or other interesting information, and high res photos
- Send your daily and weekly print reporters the press kit a good month in advance. Then follow up with an email or phone call weekly. For feature TV reporters, call 2-3 weeks ahead and do the same for radio. Assignment TV editors send your information a week ahead of time.
- Make sure you have good video to use as background for your event, either from the previous year or if it’s new, include some lifestyle or vendor video that makes sense as a backdrop for on-air host reading information about your event.
- Call the TV stations on a daily basis to find out if they plan to cover your event. You would be surprised how overworked and understaffed TV stations are these days. Sometimes a quick phone call to remind them about your event will nudge you over into the schedule. Keep in mind though, you need to call when the news programs are NOT on. Most stations have their meetings around 10 in the morning…give them a call at 9 to urge them to put you on the “should cover” list. Or if you’re really enterprising get up at 4AM and call the morning news producers. I do this all the time and they are surprised and love that someone else is working in the wee hours.
- Develop angles BEYOND the event itself. Think like a reporter – who are the people with interesting back stories? What cool new products are featured? Is there an eco-friendly angle to your event? Anything you can do to help reporters find unique angles will help tremendously and make you look like a shining star.
- At the event try to figure out the best stories by talking to the exhibitors and those working. Make sure you have everyone’s cell phone and that they’re “ready” in case someone shows up unexpectedly. The worst thing in the world is to have a journalist show up for your story and your interview subject is out to lunch!
- Make sure you have a good social media strategy that includes at least a Facebook fan page and Twitter. Plan to take your own “citizen journalist” photos and videos and post them. Remember though, you want have a good idea of when you’re going to post these. Events are busy and you could forget if things get crazy. Better yet, assign an intern or volunteer with good communications skills to the task.
- Keep in mind reporters, broadcast in particular, always need last minute stories. Keep sending reminders to your hot list of daily print writers, bloggers, assignment editors and radio producers. You can often get much-needed publicity last minute and drive some unexpected traffic to the event.
- Finally, once the event is done put together a full compilation of all your news stories, TV clips and online mentions. This will help tremendously in the next year when it’s time to do it all over again!