As a PR person, I’ve had numerous instances where we’ve had a good, newsworthy event in the pipeline, with media slated to attend. We’ve worked our tails off for weeks to work the right angles, and our efforts paid off with considerable interest from a variety of news organizations.
But at the last minute, we got calls from various assignment desks canceling on us, citing the need to cover “breaking news.” Any number of things – natural disasters, multi-car accidents, or a slew of other unforeseen events – can kill your coverage.
It’s enough to drive you crazy, but all does not have to be for naught. You just have to go about event planning the right way and for the right reasons. Here’s how to ensure your event always bears fruit:
Make the Event Valuable for Those in Attendance
I’ve seen organizations put on events with the sole purpose to getting media in attendance. The nature of the news cycle means there’s no guarantee even in the best of circumstances. Be sure to make the audience the priority of your event. Make it memorable for them and ensure that it includes definitive calls to action. You’ll gain great traction by turning your participants into evangelists who will share their experiences with friends and family. You can’t buy better advertisement.
Get Your Audience to Broadcast the Event
Leverage the power of live streaming through Facebook, Periscope and Snapchat Live Stories to be the de facto news outlet. Setup and promote unique hashtags for attendees to use when posting to Instagram and Twitter. In short, transform your audience into people who will broadcast your story to their followers. While the collective audience may not be as large as the ones who watch the local news, they will be far more engaged and likely to buy in to your brand – and at a faster rate.
Distribute the News Yourself
Video record the event to post on your YouTube and social media. It can be done at virtually no cost using your mobile device and free video editing software like iMovie. Be sure to email your contacts with links to your blog showcasing the activity. Better yet, promote the event in advance.
If media comes out to cover the activities, great! It will only make the event that much more successful. Just don’t put all your hopes into that one basket. As stretched as news organizations are now, they simply may not have the resources to cover your event, even if it’s worthy of press interest. Make the news organization a secondary goal in putting on your event, and you’ll run a great chance of it being successful no matter what.