In a post-COVID world, it is more challenging than ever to attract people to in-person events, especially press events. Journalists are inundated with invitations, so you need to give the press a compelling reason to attend on a particular date and time.
Your event needs a "hook" and an experience that goes beyond what can be offered online. This could be anything from insightful panel talks to valuable networking opportunities. If you can offer an unmissable experience, people are more likely to attend.
Here are our top tips and insights for planning and holding a successful event:
1. Set clear goals and objectives.
What do you want to achieve with your event? Are you trying to launch a new product, generate media coverage, or build relationships with key stakeholders? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a plan to achieve them.
2. Choose the right date, time, and location.
Consider your target audience and what would be convenient for them. For example, if you're targeting businesspeople, you might want to avoid scheduling your event during the middle of the workday.
3. Choose your venue and suppliers and organise key speakers or a speaking panel.
Always keep your brand and target market in mind and think about how each element of the event will appeal to your audience. It is important to be organised and start planning as far in advance to reduce risks and to allow time for curveballs that can sometimes emerge unexpectedly.
4. Create a detailed budget.
PR events can be expensive, so it's important to have a budget in place before you start planning. This will help you stay on track and avoid overspending.
5. Develop a strong media relations strategy.
If you want to generate media coverage for your event, you'll need to develop a strong media relations strategy. This includes identifying the right media outlets to target, writing press releases, and pitching story ideas.
6. Promote your event.
Once you've planned your event, it's important to promote it to your target audience.
Promotional channels will vary depending on the event and your target audience, but social media channels will play a significant role as they can help you to reach a wider audience.
Develop and implement a social media plan and create compelling social media assets to tease and promote the event in the run-up to the date. Paid social media activity and influencer collaborations can help you to extend the reach of your posts even further. Online advertising should also be considered.
For press events, a beautifully designed invitation or an experiential creative mailer can help to drum up interest and entice journalists to attend. For customer events, Eventbrite can be a useful tool as can local media adverts and promotional leaflets.
7. Execute your plan flawlessly.
On the day of the event, make sure everything runs smoothly. This includes having all of your materials ready, setting up on time, and welcoming guests warmly.
The key to a successful event is organisation and planning as this will increase the chances of everything running smoothly. However, be flexible and remain agile – remember that not everything will go to plan so prepare for the unexpected too.
Be professional and ensure that your guests have a positive experience and will want to attend your next event.
During the event, capture photography and video. You may also choose to post this content on your social channels to generate more interest in your event and extend the reach even further. This may even encourage others to attend your next event as they won’t want to miss out again.
8. Follow up with guests and media.
After the event, be sure to follow up with guests and media to thank them for attending and to provide them with any additional information they may need.
9. Measuring the success of an event.
Success will look different for every event, but may depend on how smoothly it ran, the number of attendees, or the positive feedback received from guests.
You may feel that everything went well or there might be something that you would do differently next time. Reflecting on an event is key to ensuring the next one is even better.
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