as pr professionals, we understand the value of presenting a brand to influential media through the lens of a cool, interactive and experiential event. events have the power to bring a brand to life and outline the key points of differentiation in an impactful way that goes beyond an email or phone pitch. however, it can at times be challenging to convince a client to take the plunge and put forth budget for a media event, as they may not be able to immediately grasp how it will produce results.
here are some best practices to maximize the impact of your media event, no matter the budget:
reach out early: the most important element of a successful media event is actually getting the media there. editors are busy; they juggle work deadlines, friends, relationships and hobbies just like you! therefore, it’s crucial to make outreach as early as possible. if you have confirmed the date, time and venue with your client, it’s not a bad idea to send out a “save the date” email to your invitee list to get it on their radar, even if you’re waiting on a formal invitation. we usually recommend that an invitation goes out no later than 3 weeks prior to an event, but a save the date can be sent even earlier to “plant the seed.”
send a reminder: at tng, it is common practice to send a calendar reminder with all the event details to editors/producers as soon as they rsvp. this way, you know they have it logged electronically and will be reminded of the event as they check out their commitments for the week.
send client information in advance of the event: unless you’re planning to announce something major on a specific date, send editors and producers the basic info on your client in advance of the event so they have an idea of the brand, the players behind it and why it’s newsworthy. media will likely be more inclined to ask poignant questions of your client on site if they’ve had some time to review what the brand is all about.
offer an alternative to those unable to attend: have a plan of attack for media unable to attend your event so they can experience the brand firsthand in some way. if your event is celebrating the opening of a restaurant, fitness studio, art gallery, or any new location, invite them for a tour at their convenience. if your event is focused on the launch of a product or brand, suggest deskside meetings at their offices at a time that aligns with their schedules.
provide client with details on expected attendees: crafting a “face sheet,” including quick bios, photos and a rundown of previous work from each editor or producer expected to attend your event can be a powerful tool. your clients will appreciate you providing them with a “manual” to help navigate their on-site conversations with media.
encourage social engagement on-site: make it as simple as possible for media to post on their social platforms about your client and their experience at your event. create cards or images to put in small frames around the event space that clearly state the appropriate social handles, hashtags, etc. this will not only remind them to share their experience, but will ensure they include the correct information about your client/event.
post event follow-up: it’s always a good idea to follow up with all media attendees the day after your event when the brand and client are fresh in their minds. thank them for taking time out of their schedules to attend and offer easy access to the information you want them to have on hand. hyperlinks are your friend! editors appreciate when information is concise and at their fingertips, so be sure to include all key points and story angles that will resonate with their readers. if you and/or your client had a conversation about something specific in terms of coverage while at the event, bring up that point in your email to remind them of this potential angle – it may even spark additional ideas!
jess geiger marsh