A public relations event is your opportunity to showcase your company, client, or products or services to the general public. With a PR event, the press is there and the pressure is on. More than ever, you want to be professional, presentable, and engaging.
Here are a few tips to help you plan an effective PR event from the start:
1. Set a goal for your PR event.
Why are you holding the event? The question sounds simple enough, but it’s really important, and the answer needs to be specific. The answer shouldn’t just be “to promote the latest product.”
Be crystal clear and go deeper with goals that can be measured. For example, if the aim is to promote the latest product, then how do you plan to achieve that? What’s the benchmark for success — a minimum number of units sold? A certain number of attendees using the event hashtag? When you spell out your goals and benchmarks, you can more easily create an event plan to achieve them.
2. Be timely when kicking off your PR event.
When are you holding the event? Is it on the day of a product release or several days before? If it’s the latter, do you have a social media strategy in place to keep the interest alive until the actual release day?
Here’s another thing to think about: Is the event held on an appropriate day for the press? Ideally, you want to hold the event on a relatively slow day when there isn’t a whole lot of other things going on. That is, don’t plan your PR event on the same day as a high-profile sports game, or another major local event. If you do, attendees and the press might attend those instead of your event.
3. Invite the media to your PR event.
A PR event is all about building publicity. Sure, you can build your own publicity by live streaming your event and creating other social media content — but you also need the press on your side. Here are a few tips to get the press to your event:
- Think local. Unless your company is very well known, it likely won’t attract established news outlets like CNN, Forbes, or Huffington Post. Instead, you can reach out to local and city press, who are more likely to cover your event.
- Reach out directly to individual journalists and reporters. This is a better approach than contacting news outlets via their contact or tip pages. Big media companies receive hundreds of potential stories to cover daily, and your event will likely be overlooked.
- Build relationships. Journalists do play favorites. With this in mind, it helps to have these people in your inner circle. Build relationships with members of the press, comment on their stories, and suggest face-to-face meetings.
4. Pick a venue for your PR event.
A PR event is also about creating a good impression. This is especially important if many attendees are first-time visitors. With this perspective, a lavish venue that’s also a landmark will be far more memorable than, say, a generic multi-purpose room at a school or city hall.
The venue also needs to be practical. Is there sufficient space and outlets for the press to gather and set up their equipment? The same applies if you’re hosting an outdoor event. On top of that, you should also prepare for bad weather with tents and canopies on standby. The venue layout needs to be charted out ahead of time to create designated spaces for staff, the press, and general attendees.
The venue is a reflection of the event eas a whole. If you want to make a grand statement and get people talking, then you need an equally grand venue. Here’s how to get started finding the best venue online.
5. Provide food and drinks for the PR event.
The purpose of the event is to garner brand exposure. Even so, you want the conference to be about fun and having a good time. Having food and drinks creates a festive social scene and attracts attendees.
This creates a positive vibe and gets everyone in good spirits by the time you begin making your speeches, presentations, and announcements.
If your budget allows, consider a buffet. If all you can afford are light refreshments, that’s fine as long as you provide foods that promote conversation and small talk. This includes beverages like sparkly champagne and mini sandwiches. If the venue has a bar, hire a mixologist who can create delicious cocktails for guests.
Food also helps with your social media presence. Have you noticed that people often upload images of their meal on Instagram? If you serve food that’s appetizing and visually presentable, then attendees will likely snap a picture and share it on social using the event hashtag.
6. Make your PR event social.
The promotion doesn’t begin and end at the event. It’s an ongoing endeavor that includes a vibrant social media presence. Use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks to create hype and anticipation. Also use your blog, YouTube channel, and newsletters to get the word out. This includes before, during, and after the event.
You can also use Instagram or Snapchat to send out pics, GIFs, and short videos of the PR event. As for the event hashtag, continue to use it for at least one week after the event or release of a product or service. All the accumulated social media material (including user-generated content) can be useful for promoting the next event.
Now You’re Ready to Create an Amazing PR Event!
Your event is all about strengthening your brand. The end result depends on the event’s ability to engage attendees and the press. By incorporating all of the above steps, you’ll have a blueprint for a memorable public relations conference that achieves its intended purpose.