If you want to see your events packed out and have widespread media coverage, then winning the PR game is crucial.
You need to build up a buzz around your event, to pitch to the media and liaise with them for interviews and sharing content assets. And when everyone’s gone home you need to keep people thinking about the cause behind the event and to take action.
At Jersey Road PR, we are experts in providing PR for events. Here, members of the team share their thoughts on overcoming some of the challenges many events face and the importance of doing PR well:
Getting media cut-through can be a challenge for events. This is because there are so many and in so many places. In order to get the media interested you need to identify what makes the event unusual or newsworthy.
Are there stories of people who are attending, participating or being impacted by the event that could be used in the media?
Are there opportunities for the media to attend the event and speak to people of interest at the event?
Are there issues that the event is focusing on that could be used in a thought leadership strategy?
“Typically journalists are not interested in events, unless they are very high profile or align very well to a high profile story,” says Matt Anns, an account manager for Jersey Road PR. “Many events will need an additional strong hook to get any traction in the media. Otherwise PR around an event is largely worthless.”
“Finding some high profile names (i.e. speakers) attending your event and getting the right people in the room can help overcome this, but ultimately PRs have to ask themselves 'is this event relevant for readers of X publication?' If not, then work needs to be done to find a way to bridge that gap.”
With Christian events, there are also many to choose from and all are working toward a similar vision. So the role of PR here is to dig deep into the event's vision and mission and pull out some interesting angles that will make the event stand out.
These could be stories of impact from event-goers, engaging and utilising influencers, drafting specific messaging for different target audiences, competitions, specific angles in thought leadership or partnership opportunities.
For some local events it can be hard to engage a wider audience with the vision for the event. You need a robust regional media outreach strategy, and to utilise thought leadership, newsjacking and stories to engage a wider audience with the themes of the event itself.
It’s also important to work with the client to create a wider call to action for those who may not be able to attend themselves. This all builds brand credibility of the event which you can build on in future years.
“In the summer, Jersey Road PR ran a national events campaign which saw nine different cities in the UK host a festival for local communities to meet new arrivals from Hong Kong on the BN(O) visa scheme,” says Esther Jolliffe, an account director for Jersey Road PR.
“Some people turned up to the festival because they heard an interview on the radio with the organiser ahead of the event. It was free to attend, so they wanted to come and check it out. That’s the real power of local PR: when you can take a tangible action based on something you’ve heard or read or seen. And because it’s in a local area, it makes it easy to take action.”
While it’s not down to the PR to sell an event – that is primarily the role of marketing - PR can really help raise awareness, and raise the profile of the event. Third parties such as media outlets are reporting from an objective angle that speaks to those who may not trust an advert profiling something they aren’t familiar with.
Local coverage also does a great job of encouraging action because the event is usually happening right on your doorstep and people often care about their local area. They care about the issues that they are seeing on a daily basis. And usually events are put on with a vision and a reason, even if that is just for families to have fun.
“With the UKHK campaign we used relevant case studies that spoke directly to local people. The subject of each case study lived in the city of the event taking place. Some individuals had just arrived and they were sharing what they liked about the city or what they were finding hard. People took more interest in this,” says Esther.
If you don’t do PR for your event, you’re limiting your audience.
“Getting the word out about your event and sharing what value it can bring to your potential audience will build a more committed base of individuals to your cause,” says Sarah Catterick, an account manager for Jersey Road PR.
“PR can help build relationships by bringing more people to your event (and that’s not including marketing efforts), and it can also extend the life of the event’s call to action. Without PR, you run the risk of your CTA (call-to-action) starting and ending within the walls of your event.”
Gareth Russell, Jersey Road PR’s Managing Director, sums up the importance of PR for events:
It can help you reach a larger audience with an objective message that can be more engaging for those you are looking to attract
It allows an opportunity to communicate the wider vision and objectives of the event than simply gathering a large or targeted audience
It provides additional post-event opportunities if you are able to offer interviews during the event with key people (speakers, artists, organisers etc)
It can be an additional opportunity for sponsors to gain brand exposure
It builds your brand equity for future events.
If you want to see your events go from zero to ‘let’s go!’ get in touch with us. We know what we’re doing and can help you as you plan and execute your events.
Written by Andrew Horton, Head of Content, Jersey Road PR.
Securing local media coverage is an excellent way to raise your profile in your community, build trust and encourage people to take action. Here are five steps to help you get great local media coverage: