Planning an event can be a mammoth task . You have gone to the trouble of securing a top class location, drafted and re-drafted the guest list, mapped out the format to be prepared for all eventualities, invited guests and booked a world-class speaker… and then you think about media coverage.
At AM O’Sullivan PR we provide tailored event management packages including speech notes, briefing notes, managing photography/videography, format and logistics, tour routes, protocol for VIPs, etc. for all types of events. We also manage PR and media relations for events. Inviting media to your event is one way to increase awareness of your event before, during and after. However, in order for your event to stand out you need to cover the basics.
What is this event about?
Similar to a 30-second elevator pitch, you want to take no more than 20 words to communicate the purpose of your event, including the name of the event, date and location.
Who will I invite?
Not every event requires media attendance in order to garner coverage, however, if you decide that you would like to have media in attendance make sure you are inviting the right people. It’s important to get the right mix of print, online, bloggers and broadcast journalists. Remember to also include local publications, freesheets and relevant event listings.
Where is my event in relation to my target media?
Make it easy for relevant media to attend. Are you competing with any big local events on the calendar? You will need to balance these considerations with other factors such as finding a time that makes it easy for people to attend. With the advent of digital news and flexible working you may need to consider the event location and the journalists physical location. This is instrumental to determine whether or not you are inviting the right person to your event. It is important to ask yourself, does their publication regularly send journalists to cover events? Does this person attend events year after year? If so, which ones? Is my event within their catchment area geographically?
If you think there would be a challenge with a journalist physically attending an event, be sure to consider a virtual link to the event. If they are unable to attend, always treat all media as if they had been in attendance. Immediately after the event, send out photos, video, a press release with four-five short paragraphs featuring quotes from key speakers and stakeholders. Consider posting photos, video and a summary of your event to your social media channels and tag any relevant journalists.
In addition to including the date in any communication, be considerate of deadlines. The invite should be sent two weeks in advance of the event, allowing the person to adapt their schedule, if needed. AM O’Sullivan PR recommends longer lead times for events that attract larger attendee numbers. Sending an invite three days in advance demonstrates insensitivity to a journalist’s schedule. Also consider the timeliness of the event and what might make this newsworthy for them. Is there a company anniversary or significant birthday that they can hook the event on to?
Why? What’s in it for me?
In addition to underscoring why an event would be of interest, highlight panel discussions, key speakers and attendees who may be of interest to the journalist. This way, you’ve done the heavy lifting for them, saving time and enabling them to find the news hook for their publication. Remember, the majority of journalists have to get editorial approval before attending an event. They will only thank you if you clearly outline how this event would appeal to their readers and why they would enjoy hearing about. Will I learn about new research? Does the event discuss a topical industry trend?
Ann Marie Callanan is an Account Manager at AM O’Sullivan PR. If you would like to speak to Ann Marie about your event and how to make it more interesting to media drop her a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or a call on 087 6496234.