Nowhere does the modern tactics of social media smash against the solid rocks of traditional public relations strategies like the media event. Beyond the logistics of the event itself, I’m going to assume that you have a few of the basics covered:
It’s newsworthy: are we celebrating a significant milestone? Are we launching a new product or service? Is it a story that has legs, or will your headline be buried in a sea of listicles? Whatever it is, make sure I care.
Ample lead time: tell me the night before, and it’s unlikely I can clear my schedule. Not only does it give you enough time to get everything together, your guests [and whoever manages their calendar] will appreciate the heads up.
Internal buy-in: if you are set to invest a good chunk of dough on a splashy event, make sure you’ve sold the home team on the idea. You don’t want any misconceptions about wasted resources pointed in your direction because they don’t see the value.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of the essentials you’ll need to crush your next media event:
Special guests: whether you have one or ten special guests, make sure you have a headliner who will attract attention. Whether it’s a local celebrity, politician, or your own CEO, give them enough time on the agenda to really land those key messages.
Media list: no matter the scale of the event, be selective. Make sure it’s a number you can handle. You want to ensure that you’re getting a balance between exposure and the ability to service the media on site. Also, make sure you have a mix of reporters, journalists and media outlets to get the most coverage of your event. Even if you have great relationships with a number of reporters, if they all work for the same media conglomerate, chances are they’ll only send one rep and limit your options.
Media kit: in many instances, you might not be able to speak personally with all the media who arrive on the event day, but make sure they do not leave without picking up your media kit. In it, you have the press release, pre-event photos to provide context [or supplement the ones they’ve taken], a brief agenda with bios of your speakers, and have it all electronic and hardcopy. These are a bare minimum. If there are other items, like collateral materials and factsheets, help them do their jobs better with all the relevant information. It reduces the follow-up, and increases the quality of any follow-up needed.
Amplify: don’t rely on the media to get the word out! You are your own broadcaster with a bevy of social media platforms at your fingertips. Live tweet the event, Instagram the hors d’oeuvres, and Facebook the folks who helped out. After it’s all done, take the time to post the coverage you did get on LinkedIn. The options are many and varied.
If you keep these simple guidelines in mind, I am certain that you will pull off an event for the ages that will have media, and your guests, coming back for more.
I know I didn’t cover it all. You must have some ideas on how to have success at a media event. Enlighten us all in the comments below.