Five Ways to Make an Event a Successful Part of Your PR Programme

As a marcomms specialist you understand that you are missing a trick if events do not feature within your PR programme. However have you ever spent money on an event and considered what you could do to maximise your PR return?

Whether it is an intimate stakeholder roundtable, a major trade conference, press launch or even just your Christmas party, here are some top tips that you can apply to events of varying size and form to help you get more PR bang for your buck.

1. Communicate a newsworthy message at the event

Use the event to inform your audience of something of real relevance such as an exciting development for your business or a pre-planned comment on an important topic by a senior executive. Communicate an important message that has not previously been made public. It will encourage the media to hopefully leave with a newsworthy story. When you’re sending out invitations, give them a teaser but don’t give too much away. Try to convey why it will be worth their time to attend the event. Top tier business journalists will receive countless invitations a week and will need to believe there is a good reason for them to attend.

2. Have the right people from your business at the event

Representatives from your business in attendance need to match the quality of the audience you want to attract. If you want leading business journalists or senior representatives from your important customers to attend then you need to give them the opportunity of access to the very important people within your business. If the people from your business cannot make in person then explore technological alternatives such as video conferencing for part of the event.

3. Create content from your event

Filming engaging video content from your event is an absolute must. There are now more channels than ever before to push this out to and this will ensure the important messages from your event resonate for days and weeks after the event. It will also provide you with a piece of content that you can share with invitees who were unable to attend as well as a wider target audience. Where possible try to include any of your physical business branding you have present at the event within the content.

4. Don’t forget social

Utilize media such as LinkedIn and Twitter to promote the event in the weeks before and create a specific event hash tag that will also be used at the event. During the event update on what is happening in real time and engage with those in attendance. Remember in this mobile age many people love to tweet about the events they are at so by encouraging them to use your event hash tag on the day you will ensure that your event receives the maximum attention you want on social media. However be sure to keep a close watch on the hashtag during the event and be ready to answer any questions attendees posted, no matter how serious or trivial.

5. The Importance of follow up

Proactively follow up with all attendees to ensure that they received all the information they required and to check whether they have any additional questions after the event. You may not get an opportunity to speak with everyone at the event so follow up will help cement relationships with stakeholders and ensure media has complete clarity if they are planning on writing a story.

It goes without saying of course that implementing these five key tactics to maximise PR return are dependent on making sure that you are thoroughly prepared for your event. The average industry conversion from invite confirmation to actual attendance is only 50%, so don’t underestimate how much time you will need to really make it a success.

Jordan is a vice president in Ketchum’s corporate reputation specialty, based in Washington, D.C., with extensive experience working with clients across food and agriculture, technology and financial services. He also has considerable international experience supporting clients on global campaigns, having previously spent four years in Ketchum’s London office.