By: Alayna Rivera
Putting together a successful event is not always an easy feat. It takes time, manpower, money and a great deal of planning. While some companies put on fantastic events, many don’t know how to gain media support and positive recognition. Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer of SLK Creative shares her tips to achieve media attention before, during and after an event.
BEFORE THE EVENT
The most important part of an event happens on the forefront. Relationships are your greatest assets. Build a rapport with journalists now and they’ll be more likely to cover your events in the future.
The number one question to ask yourself before publicizing your event is this: “What makes my event newsworthy?” Special events are a way to tell your company’s story, but sometimes that story is more exciting to you than anyone else. Often there are 100 different angles for a media pitch. Find out which angle of your event works best for each journalist you reach out to. Don’t just write one press release for everyone. Do your homework and use what you know about journalists to customize your pitch. Remember that they’re people too and want to cover events that are fun and interesting to them.
Collect the right media contacts. If you send a press release to the wrong person, it’ll often go unnoticed. Know who you’re pitching. Sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and call a journalist. Have promotional materials available to send over immediately so it’s still top of mind. Also ask about exclusivity. The media might be more likely to come to your event if they’re the only one covering it.
Send a “piece of the event” to the journalist ahead of time. Shari says, “If they see it, they will come.” Make sure it’s something interesting and unique.
Make sure you get the word out to the media about three months in advance, and don’t resend your release every day. Be strategic about who and when you pitch!
DURING THE EVENT
When a journalist arrives at your event, treat them like a VIP. Offer to show them around and give them background information. Some may not want you to accompany them, while others like the extra attention. Give them your business card and offer to send them any other information they may need (e.g. bios, photos, videos).
Deliver what you promise. Journalists get annoyed when you don’t have something they were hoping to witness. Make sure all elements in your press release stand true at your event.
If there’s a photographer there (either with the media or your company), set up captivating shots that will tell your story.
AFTER THE EVENT
Send out a follow-up release soon and remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. Especially if the media is unable to attend your event, make sure photos are readily available. Pictures often get more media placement than just words.
Post coverage across all your communication channels. Post photos and updates on social media and your company website.
Lastly, evaluate your event’s success. Meet as a team and discuss media coverage or lack thereof. There’s always room for improvement.
The bottom line when pitching the media about your events – use your media connections and knowledge to pitch the right people the right story.
Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer brings more than 20 years of journalism experience to her role as president of SLK Creative, having previously held editorial positions at numerous publications in New York and Florida, as well as having written freelance for many magazines and websites nationally. Started in March 2012, SLK Creative is a boutique marketing, public relations and business development agency, focusing on the special events and hospitality industries. Here, Shari lends her expertise to companies that are looking to be publicly recognized, to grow, or to simply get their company on track for the future. Follow @SLKCREATIVE on Twitter.