Get the Media to Show Up to Your Event
Should the media attend your client’s event? As a corporate event planner, there will be events to which you will be asked to invite the media. But these types of events can be tricky to pull off.
Before you start planning, take a step back. Do a thorough assessment and make sure your client’s event has these essentials to ensure proper media coverage.
The event is newsworthy.
The single most important element to consider is if your event is newsworthy. Even if you have been hired to run the event, always evaluate its media potential. What is the objective of the event? Is your client launching a new product? Is the company announcing a merger? Is it unveiling the line-up to its brand new festival?
Timing is right.
Doing an environmental scan from the get-go is essential. When you schedule your client’s event, make sure there are no competing events taking place at the same time. It won’t prevent anyone from inviting the media to another event, but if the situation changes in the meantime, you can adjust.
It’s also important to gauge the social and political context. Depending on what is going on locally or internationally, your client’s awesome announcement could be received with backlash if not timed right.
The topic of the event is trending.
If the theme of the event has been in the news as of late, you’re on the right track. Same goes for the company itself, its products, or its industry. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on where you stand, a trendy topic is not necessarily a positive one.
For instance, if your client’s company has been in the news for failing to deliver on its big government contract, a press conference at which the union leader and the CEO would address the media would certainly be well-attended.
To the contrary, the event of a client launching a product with technology deemed obsolete would not attract as many representatives from the press.
Do the media typically attend your client’s events?
The past is a good indicator of the future. Do the media typically show up for your client’s events? If not, it might be an indication of their lack of interest.
“Personality” also plays a big role, whether it’s the personality of your client’s company or its leader. The media likes to be surprised, wowed, and even shocked. If your client can achieve this, reporters won’t feel like they’ve wasted their time.
Also, if your client’s last media event was a total flop from a logistical perspective, it’s safe to say that reporters are less likely to attend. With a few exceptions where they cover a press event for the sake of public information, no matter how much they dislike the organization or its people, reporters want to be respected. This translates to having proper spokespersons available for questions and photo-ops, providing access to adequate rooms and equipment and making sure not to waste anyone’s time.
Reporters will gain more insight by covering your client’s event.
Will showing up for your event make for better coverage? If your press release covers everything there is to know about your event and its topic, it could mean that there isn’t that much to say and that the release itself is sufficient to do a quick write-up.
Put yourself in a reporter’s shoes: what could she/he gain by covering your client’s event? An opportunity to describe the vibe of the event? To see who is in attendance? To interview a high-profile guest? If not, consider passing.
What if the event isn’t newsworthy?
If you find the event not to be newsworthy or the timing or context not to be right, don’t panic. Depending on the type of event you are planning for your client, it doesn’t mean the event itself isn’t worthy. Click To Tweet
Explain to your client that inviting reporters to an event where they might feel they’d be wasting their time could affect future opportunities. Instead, propose to send a press release and invite photographers for a photo-op.
At the end of the day, the press is a special beast that you can’t control. Always take a step back to assess the event’s newsworthiness, trends, timing, context, value, relationships, and if need be, propose something different. Because if you don’t get the media to show up, you are wasting your time as well as your client’s.