Every public relations professional has a bag of tricks available to them. While some PR pros use more smoke and mirrors than others, these “tricks” can include very legitimate tools or events to inform the public, share ideas, or to simply address buyers and the media. Special events or press conferences are two major ways that a company can get involved with or inform their community.
The press conference is the main PR event that is strictly used to promote PR efforts. There are also things like PSA (public service announcements) and media addresses. This post, however, is going to cover the PR needed to generate interest and awareness of an event a company is hosting, planning, or sponsoring.
When promoting a special event, or a not so special event, there are some guidelines to adhere to in order to ensure success. The first is to include your events in your PR plans. If you hope to create a beneficial and effective event, it must be planned and it must tie into the company’s overall objectives and goals. (Remember, tactics must be created from your well-defined strategies.)
The purpose of a special event may differ from company to company, but the purpose of the PR surrounding it is the same: to generate interest and to interact with the public. This means that your PR efforts need to be targeted, clear, and newsworthy. But, if your event is irrelevant, the PR created for the event will also go unnoticed, so be sure your event is relevant and important.
You can evaluate your event’s newsworthiness and create a more successful event by first planning, and planning well. Be sure to reiterate your strategies (those of the company) in this event plan to ensure the event is in line with the company’s goals. Additionally, ensure that this tactic will actually help to achieve the desired goals. If it doesn’t, the event will be a waste of time, resources, and PR that could have gone to other company goings-on.
When planning the event, be sure to cover all of your bases. This means that all of the planning details need to be addressed. Who is the go-to person for problems? Who is staffing the event? Who is in charge of the volunteers? What’s your time-frame? Most events seem to encounter problems, and things are done last minute, so create a time-line in the very beginning, and stick to it. Realize deadlines for media, catering needs, decorations, etc., so that you can plan well and still respect their needs as well.
When planning an event, be sure to talk with others in the company. As the PR team, your job is to create that awareness and interest, but you have to know the whole story in order to share it with others. Knowing this information, who the event’s target audience is, and what the company’s goals are can greatly increase your chances of success. More importantly, it helps you to determine which tools to use and which to avoid.
After planning an event, the key to its success is to create and maintain interest up to and following the event. This is referred to as the drip-drip-drip technique of publicity and is essentially the constant release of relevant information to really generate and stimulate interest from buyers and the public. “The drip-drip-drip technique builds anticipation and demand.”
Having helped with event planning in the past, things can get pretty hectic. Get help where you need it, and be sure to evaluate what went right and what went wrong. This is a vital part of any event, campaign, or plan. You must measure and analyze results to better plan next time, and to be able to report to people who are vested in the success of these events and PR campaigns.
What are some tips you have for successful events?