To create a buzz about a new product launch or an important announcement, inviting media to a press event can be a great way of getting free exposure with your target audience. Press events can also be a great way of developing relationships with top influencers and encouraging journalists to interact directly with your brand.
Here is our expert guide on organising a successful press event that will help to deliver a solid return on investment.
1. Set clear objectives and goals
What do you want to achieve from the event? It is vital to define your desired outcome from your event before you begin planning. Are you alerting the press about a new product launch, or to raise awareness of a campaign? Establishing a clear mission statement for your event will keep you focussed towards achieving your end goal.
2. Define your guest list
Who do you want to reach through your event? Which publications are most suited for your event and are you targeting the right journalists? To generate widespread coverage, consider inviting influencers, bloggers and vloggers as well as print media to create buzz both online and offline – you’ll also get quicker wins with online media who will be able to upload content quickly, if not instantly.
3. Timing is key
Be sure to research important industry dates to avoid clashes with your event. For example, if your event is for a leisure marine audience, you’ll want to avoid September as Southampton Boat Show and Cannes Yachting Festival are two major global marine events taking place in this month, which your target journalists will most likely have already committed themselves to.
4. Announce the event to your target press
Journalists receive an average of 20 event invitations each week, so you’ll want to make sure your event doesn’t get lost. To make sure it stands out from the crowd, personalise the announcement and keep the details concise. Include all the pertinent points and make it sound enticing to generate FOMO. Send out your invitations and then follow up with a phone call for that personal touch – journalists like to feel special and this is also a good way of establishing a relationship.
5. Creation of assets
From a media pack at the event to access to high-resolution images afterwards, you’ll want to ensure that your invited media have everything they need to feature your event. Hiring a professional photographer can be a costly outlay but it is a key factor as publications and bloggers will want good-quality images to accompany their features. An informative media pack including details of your announcement in a clear format will assist the media with their features – digital assets are usually very well received.
6. Follow up after the event
The event might have finished, but your work has not! Now you need to follow up with journalists to ensure they have everything they need and give them a nudge to confirm when the coverage will be published. Thank them for attending to show your appreciation and reiterate the key messages from the event. Provide an informative post-event press release to ensure journalists have all the details they need – including your contact details should they have any questions.
Bonus tips: How small businesses can secure press attendance
In our experience, the chances of securing attendance to your press event are greatly improved if:
- The event invitation is attention-grabbing and includes all of the important information at a glance.
- The event is relevant to the journalists and their titles – their time is precious, so it needs to be newsworthy.
- The event is mid-week and avoids travel on weekends. Journalists may be very interested in your product but they also have home lives like the rest of us.
- You provide accommodation for journalists who are travelling from overseas. This means that they can enjoy the event without the added stress of finding a hotel or travel arrangements. This will also make the event a more cost-effective proposition for Editors, who have the final say in commissioning journalists.
- You take the time to personalise your invitation – either by following up with a call or sending individually addressed communications. Journalists appreciate the effort and it'll stand out in a sea of blanket emails.
About the author: Kate O’Sullivan is the Managing Director of ADPR, a PR agency with over 29 years of experience in creating and delivering strategic communications campaigns for its clients across a wide range of sectors.