Events are such a great way to showcase your personal brand and connect with the audiences that matter to you. Holding the event is one thing, but getting people to show up and maximise the PR opportunity is a whole other thing!
Here is an outline of a PR and marketing strategy you can apply to nearly any event or opening.
Get great visuals
Before you do anything, get great photos! Visuals are so important for marketing any event. Images help your audience understand and relate to your event.
You will use the images across all of your marketing and PR material. Having high-resolution professional photos on hand to send straightaway to any journalist who asks for them will be a life saver. Don’t forget you can also do a video as well.
Write a media release
Journalists need to receive information about your event in a certain way – and a media release is the best way to do that. In the release add images, where and when the event is being held and details about it.
Local news love local talent
Local papers love writing about the latest local talent from their area. Research the details of the local newspapers, magazines and even radio stations for where you live and where the event is being held. Then send the media release and images to the editors or producers at those outlets.
There’s a good chance they’ll want to run a feature piece if the idea is interesting enough, either as a ‘profiling the local’ piece or a ‘what’s on’ piece.
List your event
Major and local newspapers and event sites are always looking for interesting events to put in their ‘what’s on’ sections. Do your research and provide generic information about your event: what, when, where, cost, and a short description.
Find the journalists that look after the ‘What’s On’ section and email them the information directly, or many online sites have forms you simply fill in. This takes some time but it’s definitely worth doing to boost the reach of your event.
Find media that relate to your event niche
Research the media outlets that write about the niche your event falls under. For example, if your event is on technology, then look up the tech journalists and send them the release (and invite them!)
Think about telling some stories that relate to your event by writing articles for publications. For instance, if your event is an art exhibition, perhaps write a piece on the latest trends in your particular medium.
While many people no longer think to produce a printed flyer, it’s worth considering. For a recent art exhibition, I printed postcard size flyers as well as created a digital version (PNG file). The digital version was shared via email as well as on Facebook and Instagram.
The printed version I handed out and also left them at local cafes and art centres.
Love it or hate it, social media is perfect to promote an event. On Facebook share your event information not just on your page (and not just once – do it multiple times) but also on niche pages and groups. Also, create an event on Facebook and invite your friends and ask your friends to share it.
Instagram is so perfect for many events as it’s just a series of images. Share your work, use hashtags effectively and direct message influencers. Follow other Instagrammers that are in your niche, many will follow you back.
Events are such an important part of building your personal brand, and at times promoting your own event can feel self promotional. But you need to move beyond those feelings and understand that the more marketing and PR you do, the more people can see the beauty of your work.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as thought leaders in their field.
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.