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Ten PR tips for your event

Before you can start publicising an event, you need the basic details confirmed.

  1. First thing’s first
  2. Before you can start publicising an event, you need the basic details confirmed. It may sound obvious but without a date, venue and headline speaker or performer confirmed, there is really no reason any publication or platform will be interested in listing or reporting on your upcoming event. And even if they do, your agency then duplicates all of that work updating these later (for which you pay).

  3. Remember that marketing and PR is not the same thing
  4. If you want to sell tickets for an event you will have to spend some money on marketing. PR is not the same as advertising. Just as you would not want to buy a newspaper filled with only advertorial articles about products; a PR agency cannot secure editorial space with nothing more than the fact that you are hosting an event for which people can buy tickets – this is viewed as advertising material. Publicity should support your marketing drive, not be your only form of marketing. And for publicity to be effective, you need to work with your agency to supply content.

  5. PR should have a long term view
  6. Remember that it’s not all about the amount of coverage. It’s about the nature of the coverage. PR is about creating long term relationships and building and maintaining your brand’s reputation. Even if your event is a “once-off”, the strategy must include tactics for post coverage to increase awareness about you and your brand.

  7. Keep sight of the real news
  8. Remember that the big news story is the actual show or in the case of an awards ceremony, the winners. Do not expect massive publicity before an awards event, especially when the event is hosted for the first time.

  9. Never underestimate the effect of your guests’ experience
  10. Remember that the experience of those who attended your event this year, will influence interest in your next event. Word of mouth is powerful and how you treat your guests and respond to their feedback can either have a positive or negative impact on your next event.

  11. It’s not over until it’s over
  12. Most of a PR professional’s work only starts when your event is done; therefore you need to ensure that your PR agency is on your books for at least a month after the event. Tasks include things such as responding to general media queries and negative articles, environmental scanning to - sometimes crisis communications.

  13. Keep sight of your original goal
  14. Keep in mind the reason why you are hosting the event in the first place. Remember that you are hosting the event for the benefit of your audience, and consumers are more savvy now than they once were. You cannot mask your real intentions with an event, be honest with your audience – they’ll thank you for it later.

  15. Don’t measure repeat event PR success or failure by AVE’s
  16. There is currently no benchmark in place across the various media monitoring service providers, which means that an advertising value equivalent (AVE) from ROi could be less than half of the article’s AVE measured through Newsclip. The AVE’s can also change on a near-daily basis according to the algorithym employed to measure online publicity. Print and broadcast AVE’s also differ from year to year dependent on their advertising rates, so you are never comparing apples with apples.

    Rather judge the success or failure of PR on the nature of the clippings (positive or negative) and the power of their placement (for example should they be in community newspapers).

  17. Trust in your agency’s experience
  18. The right agency should have had enough experience in a diversity of events to spot the challenges, pitfalls, opportunities and threats that you may not necessarily have experienced yourself. The agency/client relationship should ideally be one of collaboration and your agency can prove to be a font of knowledge if you are open to listening and vice versa.

  19. Have fun
  20. All events are stressful. No matter how organised you are, there are always hiccups along the way. The right agency is as invested as you are – so bear in mind that they are as dedicated to the success of your event as you are and are more than willing to assist with the hiccups until easy breathing is possible. Then it becomes fun…..

Last but not least, and this isn’t really a ‘tip’, it’s a polite request from PR professionals everywhere – don’t ask your PR agency to work on risk and don’t assume that you can cover your budget with ticket sales. This is never, ever a good idea.

This article was first published by Business Events Africa.

17 Jan 2015 09:04