In the fields of PR and marketing, planning or helping coordinate an event is common practice, but it can be a lot to undertake. Whether it’s an internal meeting with ten people, or a statewide event with hundreds, there are many aspects that are a part of successful event planning. The PR team at SA has some tips to get you through the three main stages of event execution: planning, promotion and day-of coordination.
The planning stage is arguably the most important part of putting on an event. There are many elements that go into it, no matter the size, such as arranging the agenda, coordinating food and finding the perfect location. Utilize all available resources to do your research in making these types of decisions to make sure you are getting everything you need and at a reasonable, competitive price. Another important thing to consider when in the planning stage is establishing the ROI of the event. What do you want your attendees to leave having learned? What metrics would make it a successful event? Make sure that every aspect of your event can help provide an answer to each of those questions.
Last, it’s seems elementary, but make sure you plan for the unexpected. Whether that’s a surprise rain shower before the event and dealing with wet jackets and umbrellas, or having your keynote speaker miss their flight. Make sure you have a backup plan and steps to put it into motion.
Of course, you’ll want to promote your event so people learn about it and attend! Event promotions can be done in a variety of ways, from PR to direct mail to digital and social media. Here are two of the most common tactics we recommend for event promotion.
- Traditional Media/Media Relations – Traditional media is not dead, people! Outreach to local outlets and reporters that have covered previous stories about this or similar topics is a great place to start. The most important part of media relations is to do your research-make sure your story and event are of interest to each reporter you pitch and has a connection in some way. Another great way to entice reporters with your event is to directly explain why they should care about the event. Are you impacting students? Raising money for families? Making a difference to your community? Make sure you can provide an angle about the event that would be enticing for the reporter. Other than pitching reporters, research if a media sponsorship might be a good fit for a media station.
- Social Media – Your social media event promotions should start prior to the event and go all the way through to the end. How early you start promotions on social media depends on your goals. Do you need to raise a certain amount of money beforehand? Sell out of tickets? Or, do you just want people to know about it and attend? You can start promoting the event as early as you’d like, but really ramp-up your posts about one month beforehand. Continue posting about the event while it’s happening, and make sure to incorporate photos and video to attract more attendance, or engagement among people who couldn’t make it.
It’s very easy to overthink the day of the event. With proper preparation and planning, the day of the event will run smoothly, even if something does come up, you’ll be prepared. To keep things running smoothly, it’s important to make sure each person knows what their role is, and what is expected of them. This will not only make everything run more efficiently, but it will also ensure that nothing is overlooked, such as taking photos and posting to your social media channels. If reporters will be attending the event, make sure you provide them with an agenda of the event, or introduce them to individuals that would be comfortable speaking to the media.
While it can seem very daunting to plan and execute an event, with thoughtful planning, diligent backup plans and a positive attitude, anyone can successfully plan and execute an amazing event.