The main event
Organising and hosting events can be a useful skill in a PR person’s tool box. An event can provide a brilliant place to showcase an agency’s expertise, journalist contacts and organisational skills.
But what makes a really great event? What do our clients want to get out of events and how do we convince them it’s a good idea? What do journalists want to get out of them and how do we marry the two? As ever, this is the job of a good PR agency. Balancing client demands for a show stopping event, with a journalist’s expectation that they’ll get something to write about: setting a clear objective before planning begins.
A great event must engage, wow, educate, inform and leave attendees with a lasting impression of what the company does, what’s the announcement and what will the company look like in future. They need to feel that it’s been worth their time: a flashy location and some good finger food isn’t enough. In some ways, an event is a concentration of an influencer campaign, it can incorporate journalists, analysts, bloggers but has to match each of these groups expectations. What’s the news announcement? If there isn’t one – what’s the purpose for attendees? They need clear information in the event invwhat’s ite as to in it for them.
Social media provides another element to consider. What’s the event hash tag? Is it easy to identify with the company and/or location? Learn from other company’s mistakes – social media faux pas are in the public domain so make sure you’ve checked you’re not going to make the same mistake. The first company to do it can put it down to a learning experience; the second looks lazy.
There will always be people who can’t attend, and how to disseminate the news and information to them should be considered as well. Think about the logistics for this – it’s no use organising a phone briefing if the only place you have to conduct it is under a public address system.
Planning and hosting a successful event demands all the skills a PR agency employs; organisation, media relations, social media expertise, planning, logistics, diplomacy, quick thinking and problem solving. You need to look like a swan, you can be paddling as frantically as you like below the water, but above you need to look calm, cool and collected.
Anna Fazakerley, AxiCom UK
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