When people think of public relations, the image that often comes to mind is working a media event, pulling things together while reporters prepare for an on-camera interview. And while those in the biz know that’s certainly not an everyday occurrence, media events can be one of the most fun parts of the job.
They can also be the most challenging, with long hours and lots of logistics.
At Wellons Communications, we’ve worked our share of media events, from restaurant openings with big celebrities to most recently, Altamonte Springs’ Red Hot & Boom. With that solid experience behind us, we have developed a process to help media events go as smoothly as possible.
Here are some of our tips to help your next event go off without a hitch—and with a ton of media coverage.
Target your messages.
What matters to TV reporters might not matter to a freelancer photographer, and what’s important to a blogger might not be what a newspaper reporter wants to know. That is to say, when you’re telling the media about your event, make sure you’re giving them the information they need to do their job. Showing that you understand what they need and will make sure things go smoothly once they’re there goes a long way for getting media to cover your event.
Avoid the one and done.
When it comes to media events, you can’t send it and forget it. Getting live, in-person coverage is harder than getting a publication to run a press release because it involves a lot more coordination on both sides. Make sure you send all of the information multiple times, and don’t be afraid to call to make sure there aren’t any questions.
When you’re working off-site and out of your element, this step can’t be overlooked. You have to think of everything. Make sure you have a hard copy of any press materials you might need to distribute, but make sure you can access any docs you might need digitally, too. Chance of rain? Think about plastic folders or laminating key documents (yes, we’ve walked out of events with soaking, ruined notebooks before…lesson learned!). Batteries or back-up chargers are always a good idea. And don’t forget to take care of yourself, too! You can’t do your job if you aren’t feeling well. Bring water and snacks, if you need to, and wear weather and event appropriate clothing.
Brief the whole team.
Even if only a few team members will be working on-site, make sure your entire team is in on the plan. They should know what to do if media members call the office, how they can assist you if needed and how they can reach you in any circumstance.
At the end of a long event, we just want to kick off our shoes and relax. But too often, it ends there. People don’t look back on the event and learn. What went well? What can we do better next time? Where did we have success? Experience is the best teacher, and this is the team’s chance to reap the rewards from a hard day’s work.
With this checklist in mind, we’ve had some seriously successful media events, and with these tips in mind, we know you’ll be able to maximize your next live media opportunity.