Event Essentials: Marketing Events and Leveraging Events for Publicity
There’s no PR like event PR. Events are news, events build community, events build brands – and there are infinite opportunities for creativity.
In the digital age, live events seem almost sacred – the increasingly rare gathering of a group in the physical world is definitely notable. And for all the time (and money) spent creating an excellent event, you deserve to have people there and get maximum attention before and after the event itself – this is what I can 360-Degree Event Marketing.
In my workshop Promote Your Show, these are the event essentials I cover that apply to any event you want to leverage as a publicity tool. I’ve gone into more depth on some of these topics before and will try to give you more on the others in the near future.
What’s the point? What’s the theme? Go bridezilla on your event and get creative about every last detail – these are the things that engage people and make your event memorable. Highlight the best parts in the invitation to get people excited and buying tickets.
Who is the event for? With so much competition for people’s valuable time, you’ve got to be specific about who you want in the room, how many of them, and how you’re going to reach them.
At the very least, you’ll have an event invitation, whether that’s an email, Facebook event page, webpage, or something more flashy. From there, the scope, budget, and target audience of your event dictate what else you need to both attract attendees and build awareness about your event or its host organization. There should be a consistent look and language to all your marketing materials – this includes on-site stuff like signage, programs, video, paper tickets, etc.
Is there an opportunity to integrate a company or product into your event and get money toward your event budget? Integrated sponsors have got to make sense with the image of the event itself, from beverage donations to custom events created specifically for a sponsor.
These are the people, organizations, and even media outlets that help you spread the word about your event. Your biggest fans will do this just because they love you, but for the heavy-hitters, create a pitch that thanks them for their valuable marketing help, whether it’s a Facebook link swap, logo on your invite, or tickets to your event.
There’s so much you can do to promote your event on social media, but the rule of thumb still applies – keep it on brand, be creative but professional, and don’t over-message. Use photo and video to get people’s attention, and involve them on-site with smartphone-friendly actions like Foursquare check-ins and live tweets.
Photography & Video
Promise me you will not host an event without hiring a professional photographer. Video is optional depending on the event and your goals. But professional-quality photos are vital because they allow you to use your event as marketing to people who weren’t there for weeks, months, years to come.
Sending a media alert or getting coverage is a great way to reach new audiences and raise the profile of your event. Be sure your press materials include a press release with all the vital details and a high-quality image at minimum, and follow protocol when contacting press and greeting them on-site. More on this here.
It’s vital that you collect the contact information of anyone interested in your event. Email addresses are the minimum. Take RSVPs even if your event is free – it’s the best way to gauge interest and the reach of your marketing.
Congratulations on an awesome event! Now it’s time to make everyone who didn’t show up jealous that they missed it so they’ll go out of their way to be at the next one. You can do an eblast with a brief recap, post photos and videos on social media, or just save the photos to market your next event. Save all your press in a digital folder for future use, like your website, newsletter, or to plug your next event.