Event Management is an exciting part of our job. There’s nothing better than the thrill of seeing an idea for an event start to take shape and ultimately become an attraction for delegates or visitors to attend.
An event is only successful if you get the people you want attending. So to achieve that, you need to get your messages out to as wide an audience as possible. The more people who know about the event, why you are hosting it and what you are seeking achieve, the more delegates or visitors you will attract.
Not to mention in the longer term when you’re planning to create a similar event in the future, knowing that how you communicate during this one, can attract key contributors and speakers who want to be involved in your next one.
Anyone who has ever staged an event will appreciate that there is a lot of activity that goes on in the background to ensure that the event day itself is as hassle free as possible. That doesn’t happen by luck. It’s about a dedicated team working together to make it happen and PR and media relations plays a key role.
In terms of how PR can help you raise the profile and maximise interest in your event, here’s my top 5 tips:
- Speak to your press officer or comms team as early as possible. It’s never too early and they can check what else is happening that day, feed into all the other marketing promotions and crucially start to identify key audiences, speakers and contributors you’d want to be part of the event.
- Invest time and resource in a strong image. If you have a good picture at the outset, it can be reused and become synonymous with the event as you start to promote the various attractions or speakers and issues being covered.
- Segment your traditional and social media audiences and prioritise your activity. Remember some of the niche publications have a deadline of 3 months before publication date, so to engage effectively with them you need to be having conversations with them 4 to 5 months out from your event date.
- Mine all aspects of the planning process to identify good stories. Aside from the contributors and speakers, think wider; are you using local contractors/apprentices, is there a specific bit of kit you need made bespoke or shipped in; is there a survey you could conduct before the event to feed into the debate on the day etc.
- Finally, invest time in contingency planning and testing your plan in situ. Hopefully it will be completely unused on the day, but having clear lines of communication in the event of potential scenarios, which could throw off or at worst close-down your event, are crucial. Not least because you may have invited the media along and in the unlikely event of anything going significantly wrong, they’d have a ring-side seat to report it all live.
Once you’ve done all that, you can enjoy the event, safe in the knowledge that you’ve anticipated and prepared for the worst and look forward to presenting your large, targeted and positive, post-event coverage report to your happy client.
Elaine McKean is the Managing Director of Indigo.
You can hear Elaine’s comments from the PA & Venue Expo Edinburgh 2017 on the importance of PR for events above.