You’ve scouted locations, and found the perfect venue for your event. You’ve sent out invitations, booked guest speakers, and hired the best catering service in town. You’ve spent weeks agonizing over your patter and your presentations. And yet, with all of the sweat and toil you put into your event, you still aren’t getting the media attention you desire.
Whether it’s a business introducing a new product, or a non-profit organization trying to raise public awareness and increase donations, no event is truly successful if it fails to generate and leverage the necessary media coverage that will spread the organization’s message. To realize the best possible return on your investment, your event needs to be media ready, and that takes a bit of planning and some savvy marketing skills. If you’re planning a news worthy event, consider the following tips to make your event media ready and to get your message for its close-up.
Reaching Out to Media Outlets
It may seem obvious, but the first step to making your next event media ready is to reach out to the media outlets that you want to carry your story. In today’s 24 hour news cycle television, radio, and print are always on the look out for suitable stories and events to cover. However, if the media is unaware of your project you have already fallen at the first hurdle. Send out a prepared press release announcing your upcoming event, and include contact numbers so reporters and editors can get in touch with you directly. If you plan to directly pitch your event to the media, call television and radio stations a day in advance. Don’t be shy. Stress the importance of your upcoming event, and the interest factor it presents for the general public. Don’t ignore online media outlets either, bloggers and social media are a great way to raise awareness for your business or non-profit organization.
Guest speakers, particularly if they are local or national celebrities, will help to generate media interest in your event. Try to book any celebrity guests early, being sure to get firm commitments, so that you can include them in your press release. This will act as an added draw to the news outlets that you have invited to your function.
Preparing a Press Window
Set aside an hour or two during your event which is dedicated to the press, and stress this on your media invitations. This will allow you to prepare for the press, and to ensure that guest speakers are available for interviews. Designating a specific time for the press to visit will also allow you to stage photo ops, arrange question and answer sessions, and generally control your over all message. It also helps the press themselves, allowing them to better manage their time and ensuring that they will keep your event on their schedule.
You Call the Shots
Once you have confirmation that the press will be attending your event, make a list of possible shots and photo ops for the camera crews. You know better than anyone the aspects of your event that you wish to highlight for the general public. Having your photo opportunities prepped beforehand will keep you in control of the situation, and will ensure that the press presents the message you want to the public.
Camera Ready Interviewees
Decide beforehand who will be speaking to the press and representing your organization. You want to put your best foot forward, so choose people who are knowledgeable about your organization as well as the purpose of your event. Make sure the spokespeople you have selected are well groomed and prepared to be interviewed and photographed. A trip to the salon or barber shop the morning of the event would not go amiss.
While it is impossible to guarantee that the media will come running when you call, it is possible to make your event more media friendly. By controlling the situation from your end, you make it easier for the press to come and cover your function quickly and efficiently, and in a hectic news environment that is a definite bonus for reporters and editors. If your events aren’t getting the media coverage you desire, it may simply be that you’re not doing your part to generate the necessary interest. Reach out to the press, make your event media ready, and you may find that your message begins to reach the audience you desire.