Successful Meetings - October 2007 - (Page 18)

Planner’s Workshop > Pre-Event Building Media Hype for Special Events By George Haber If your meeting or special event warrants publicity and media attention (for example, if it features a celebrity, an expert in the field, or a government official), you should consider doing both pre-event and post-event publicity. First off, realize that not every event that you schedule is necessarily as compelling (and therefore coverable) to the media as it is to your supervisors or your client. Competition for space in a publication’s “news hole” or a 22-minute news broadcast is keen, and the president of your financial services firm talking about retirement planning is unlikely to be as appealing to a local news outlet as the opening of a new shopping mall. Take advantage of the fact that the total audience for your event is always larger than your actual audience. Media representatives may not be able to attend—but that does not necessarily mean they’re not interested. Post-event publicity enables you to reach your audience by reporting on your meeting or event, either by writing and distributing a news release with a few compelling photos or by talking to a reporter after the fact and describing what went on. When one importer of a high-quality coffee invited food and travel editors to a press briefing to introduce the coffee, not all invited journalists showed up. The day after the event, the organizer used a messenger service to send packages of coffee, along with press material, to the media reps who hadn’t attended. (None sent the coffee back.) Before, during, and after your event, you should develop and distribute a “press kit”—a package of information—for reporters and correspondents who are present, or who you think would have an interest in your event, as determined by the “beat” they cover or by your knowledge of their interests, perhaps obtained through a telephone call. You may also use this material as an information kit for any officials or other opinion leaders you want to keep fully informed. But remember the purpose of the press kit is to inform journalists quickly about what’s going on and to give them relevant, usable information for any articles they may want to write or spot they want to broadcast. Avoid the temptation, common among well-meaning but inexperienced PR personnel and event planners, to regard media who show a modicum of interest in an event as a “captive audience” and to flood media attendees with reams of information about the sponsor of the meeting or event. What should you include in your press kit at an event? Here’s what a reporter or correspondent expects: A background sheet, preferably one page, that briefs the reporter on all key details that he or she must know to understand what’s going on. For example, if your school is demonstrating a new fiber-optic hookup of TV monitors in schools around the country, a background sheet could describe how transmission via fiber optics works and how it differs from traditional means of transmission. It would describe benefits and costs, and could contain some quotes from authorities in the field. OCTOBER 2007 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS 1 2 A news release, no longer than two pages and often no longer than one page, describing the event. 18

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - October 2007

Successful Meetings - October 2007
Editor's Note
On the Record
Technology Talk
Mouth for Sale
On Site
Tools of the Trade
Striking a Balanace
IACC’s New Generation
Suffering from “Green” Fatigue?
There Once Was a Group in Nantucket . . .
A Trick and a Treat
Places & Spaces
Reno / Lake Tahoe
New Orleans
Los Cabos & Baja
Ontario Province

Successful Meetings - October 2007