Four Essential Pieces of Advice for Implementing Public Relations Tactics When Planning an Event
by Michelle Matos
Over the past four months, I spent hours and hours a week planning the biggest event I’ve ever organized: the Society of Women in Business’ first-ever International Women’s Day Conference. Public relations played a huge part in making this event happen and was a factor toward success. After finally executing the event earlier this month and seeing the outcome of all the work my team and I put in, there are a few lessons I have taken away from my experience planning this event. Here are a few key takeaways, from a PR perspective, that I would keep in mind when planning events in the future:
1. Start Early!
It’s easy to underestimate how much time and attention to detail goes into planning and executing an event. You’ll need to allow plenty of time for communication with your team, your audience and anyone else you reach out to in planning this event (i.e. advisors, potential sponsors or donors, the media, etc.). Often times, things need to be approved by multiple people before they can be implemented, so keep in mind that it’ll take time to get your message to each necessary person, and if changes need to be made that will require time as well. Getting a head start will also allow leeway for mistakes or unexpected events.
2. Invite the Media
Don’t forget that pitching the media is a fantastic way to get the word out about your event/organization. Write a press release and distribute it to every media outlet that reaches your target audience. There are plenty of media outlets just here on campus, but don’t limit yourself to just on-campus media. If you think your event is significant enough to possibly gain attention in the greater community, it couldn’t hurt to reach out to other local media outlets. You may be pleasantly surprised by what and how many media outlets would be willing to cover your event.
3. Have a Contingency Plan
Think of possible crises that could come up, and come up with ways your team should handle such situations. The number one goal of crisis management is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place. The second is to stop or mitigate the effects of the crisis, and you can do this through planning ahead. Although a crisis may seem unlikely, it’s best to be prepared in case something goes wrong. If not handled properly, one unexpected event could hinder the overall success of the event.
4. Use A Hashtag
Almost every event these days has its own hashtag. Make sure your team and audience know to use this hashtag on ANY post referring to the event. Use the hashtag heavily while promoting the event, encourage people to use it while they are at the event, and continue to use it on all related posts after the event! To encourage even more use of the hashtag, consider doing a contest on social media, and offer an incentive for those who participate.
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