A lot of varied activities fall under the broad umbrella of PR, and, as working professionals, we often find ourselves driving media and client marketing events – from press briefings and press tours to conference sessions and receptions – often on short notice and with small budgets. That’s why successful organization and execution of events must be part of a PR person’s repertoire.
Events are not only part of the job, they provide a venue for us to be creative and efficient and deliver results in a way that differs from day-to-day PR activities like strategy, writing and working with the media. In fact, Bospar recently sponsored a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) event about media ethics. I leveraged my old reliable “How to Pull Off an Event” checklist and thought I’d share it for the benefit of all:
- Pre-event marketing. Ensure that you’ve got all of your promotion lined up in advance, from newsletters and social media posts to advertising, in order to get the word out and drive attendance.
- Call your friends and network. Activate your business and personal networks to make colleagues and friends aware of the event and its appeal for them, be it educational or social.
- Bring liquor! This is something of a joke, but do ensure that you’ve planned the venue and catering appropriately for the audience, such that people will be adequately “fed and watered” before, during and after your event.
- Hire a photographer and a videographer. This is a very important consideration, because you’ll want your event effectively documented for promotional and marketing purposes, including photos of key speakers, executives and the crowd. Create a list of “must have” photos and videos, particularly for social media, and review that shot list with your team in advance. During the flow of an event, you most likely won’t have time to directly supervise picture-taking.
- Merchandise and social media. Be sure to write and disseminate coverage of your event on social media platforms, so that participants are recognized for their contributions and that post-event chatter is positive.
- Say “thank you.” Be sure to follow up with a note of appreciation to the audience, your speakers and to any other stakeholders who have contributed to your event’s success. They’ll remember that you did.
Impactful events require a little bit of planning and forethought, detail-driven execution and thoughtful follow-up. The internet is a ready source of planning guides and assistance and represents a great place to start searching if you’re a PR pro tasked with making an event happen. Of course, events can be nerve-wracking, because they can feel like success or failure is a “referendum” on you as an individual, but advance planning and following best practices definitely helps lead the way to event success.