Kursha Woodgate provides her thoughts on how an event PR timeline can help your event ROI.

PR for your event should be planned from the outset with a series of announcements at key stages in the run up to, during and after the event.

But sometimes it can seem difficult to know what to announce and when is the best time.

Clearly there will be some variation according to the type of event you are organising and whether your target media is mainly monthly, regional or online etc, but there are a few guidelines you can follow to help get the most from your event PR. Let’s take a look.

Save the Date

As soon as you have the date and venue confirmed, don’t just focus on emailing your current database of contacts with the details. Instead turn it into a news release for trade press or regional media as appropriate.

Perhaps the event is being held in an unusual venue, or the location has been chosen for a specific reason (maybe you need more space as the event is growing, always a good ‘success’ message) or the dates may have varied from last year to avoid certain public holidays.

Whatever the angle, this is your first piece of news once the event is confirmed, so make the most of this PR opportunity.

Eight out of Ten Cats

We all know how the media love statistics, so think about ideas for surveys amongst your current contact database.

You will need a good sample size to make the results valid for the press, but a simple form from www.surveymonkey.com could give you some interesting PR angles.

This can also be a great way of engaging with your prospective delegates prior to the event and maintaining their interest.

Line-up Revealed

Use any big names, whether celebrity or senior executives in blue-chip organisations, to lend weight to your programme line up. Your job is to gain the interest of the editors.

Announcing the programme itself, even if it is subject to change, is most likely to be your next big PR opportunity, so consider what’s different about the event content, what are you offering that people cannot get elsewhere and how you can turn this into a news story.

Speakers Confirmed

Drip feed further stories about confirmed speakers or new sessions, perhaps a practical workshop or clinic, in the months running up to the event.

This keeps the momentum going and maintains a steady PR presence in the media that matter.

News from Day 1, 2 etc

Make the most of the buzz around the event itself, pull together highlights from the day, any news released by exhibitors or speakers and ensure that you put those announcements out in a timely manner.

Don’t forget to make use of great images from the event and even get some video soundbites from delegates and exhibitors to provide multimedia content to online media.

Successful Event Round Up

After the event itself, it is always worth summing up what was achieved, whether in terms of increased visitor numbers, deals concluded, the results of debates during the event, whatever the highlights may be.

Announcing the success of the event will also help secure business development opportunities for next year, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to announce your next ‘save the date’!

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