Whether it's a press conference, a reporter ride-a-long or a media availability event, one of the most effective PR tactics for garnering publicity and media coverage is to coordinate an "event". The most successful events have strong branding and tell your organization's message through hands-on visuals or pictures.
I remember the first event I helped coordinate that reinforced for me the importance of skillful and strategic event coordination. I was still only an intern and was working on Capitol Hill. My assignment? Make the "death tax" bill being proposed before the House interesting! One of my mentors proposed I see if I could come up with a coffin that we could stuff tax receipts into and hire a grim reaper to make an appearance during our afternoon press conference. After numerous calls to local theater art houses, I finally located a free coffin that we could borrow for a few hours. (You should have heard me stumbling on the phone as an intern trying to explain my bizarre request!) The end result was that the event got media to not only show up but our "death tax" presser made national news!
As a former reporter, I've seen PR professionals come up with some really great ideas and some real duds. I now know what works, what doesn't and how to get media to care about your event. As a PR professional, I developed and coordinated events to promote my organizations work. After the Super Bowl, I coordinated a media event using the pre-printed shirts showing the losing team actually won. My organization was receiving the misprints and I garnered national and local coverage by setting up the event within 24 hours after the game. During disaster responses, I have set up many media events by coordinating volunteers and setting up relief supplies for them to assemble. Timeliness is often key and it's important to seize the moment when media is looking for a story but a great media event always shows who and what your organization is about.
Event Coordination Key Strategies
- Organize event details (who, what, when, where, why)
- Promote event through traditional and new media communication tools
- Coordinate spokespeople and provide talking points
- Prepare press releases, calendar alerts and visuals for branding and promoting
- Recruit media coverage and promote to news organizations