So, you’ve finally got the sign-off from your boss to deliver that awards evening, golf competition or open day you’ve been planning for months. However, in return for their investment, they want you to get some positive coverage for it in the media.
Don’t worry. As well as running smoothly, well executed events also deliver in terms of PR and offer plenty of opportunities to engage with a range of audiences including customers, staff, suppliers and journalists as well as the wider public in general.
For instance, you could increase the reach of your event beyond those in attendance by posting a running commentary or even live video on social media on the day and encouraging real-time engagement.
You can also ensure you secure lots of good media coverage by employing a professional photographer and emailing the photos to journalists on the same day or the morning after. Journalists love receiving timely, good quality photos and are more likely to cover your event as a result.
You can also use the photos on your company website and social media, as well as send them out via your internal and external e-newsletters.
Here are some more tips to help you gain maximum publicity and keep your boss happy!
Straight Up PR
Telling relevant local, regional and national journalists that you’re holding an event is a good first step to securing coverage in your target media. It also acts as a conversation starter if you’re keen to invite a particular journalist along.
News releases can lead to interview requests so make sure you’re available to follow these up as soon as you’ve issued your release and take advantage of the opportunities.
As well as a tool to help secure media coverage, news releases can be rewritten as blog posts on your own website which you can then promote via social media and your regular e-shots or newsletters.
And don’t forget the all-important post-event news release, which should ideally go out with a selection of photos on the same day or the morning after if your event took place in the evening.
Creating a brief will help your photographer know exactly what you want them to capture – but listen to their guidance too. They should have experience photographing events like yours and will have some insights worth paying attention to.
As soon as you can, tell them when you need the images. Some photographers can have a small number of photos available for you on the same day, for use with news releases or social media posts, with the rest following on a day or two later.
You don’t want to be waiting weeks for the photos!
Live Social Media Updates
Sharing updates from your event in real time can help you boost your social media following and engage with new audiences. But where do you start?
Using hashtags for events is a great way of encouraging interactions online with your brand or business in the lead-up to, during and following an event.
Start out by choosing a hashtag and be sure to check the letters don’t spell something rude or inappropriate! If you can’t think of a clever hashtag, just keep it simple, such as #LincsCommunityAwards or #SampsonsGolfDay
Encourage the use of your hashtag by using it yourself and asking others to use it in their updates about the event. If you have stakeholders or sponsors, let them know in advance what the hashtag is and ask them to use it as frequently as possible. Advertise the hashtag to those attending on the day too.
Update your social media channels regularly, with information about the event, including the preparation for it (if that’s appropriate). Your audience might like behind-the-scenes photos, videos or teasers ahead of the celebrity host reveal, for example, and the more people interact with your content, the more people will see it.
Ideally, on the day of the event, someone should be available to manage your social media channels, keeping in touch with those attending, letting people know about the preparations and sharing real-time updates as the event gets under way.
We’re particularly keen on this during award ceremonies, where you can reveal the winners to your online audience as they’re being announced on stage.
Remember to interact with people in the room who are sharing content from the event, especially if they’re using your dedicated hashtag. Retweeting photos of people with their awards or comments about how much people are enjoying the event is just the type of update you should be sharing.
After the event or the following morning, double-check you have replied to everyone you possibly can and retweet any final messages. Then post a thank-you message to everyone who attended and helped to make the event such a success.
Finally, don’t forget to update your website. News of your event should hit your website as soon as possible after it has taken place. If you’ve been able to get a couple of good quality shots from your photographer on the day, then get these up on your site ASAP and let people know when they might expect the rest.
Lots of organisations make their event photos available to download, so find a site to host them and then share the link as widely as possible.
Having your post-event news story on your website straight after the event is important, not just for interested journalists, but also for your stakeholders, sponsors and even your own management team who will want to know how it’s gone.
Need Some Help?
If you’re planning an event around your busy day job, then the Shooting Star team is here to help. We boast three event specialists in our team who have delivered a range of events, from awards to festivals, from inception to fruition.
Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org if you need some extra guidance or support.