Getting the press to cover your event can boost publicity for you and announce your event to the world.
If you are a business brand, then it’s much more than just bringing you to the limelight.
When your business goes public via the media, a lot of people get conscious about what you are doing and you are certain to gather some incredible following in the weeks to come after your event, especially when it has to do with a product that is being put out there for the world to see.
“PR is extremely important, and being able to use it in the right way means everything. You have to market your success.” – Lee Haney, bodybuilder and former Mr. Olympia
Once your brand is public, it makes it easier for it to get subsequent media coverage from the press and even blogs like HyNaija could feature your event as a news article depending on how important it is.
But the question still lingers: how do I get the press to cover my event?
Firstly, unless you are a global brand and your event is always on the news, you’ll need to craft an awesome invitation to the media and continue pitching them until the said day of your event.
So getting the press to cover your event is hinged on one factor; invitation and this article will focus on everything you have to do to make this invitation successful and bring the press to your event.
Without further ado, let’s get down to business.
1. Is Your Event Newsworthy
This question is as important as it sounded if you just read it out loud.
Even if your father owns a media outfit and you are doing an irrelevant house warming party, he won’t send his staff to turn up.
Your event needs to be newsworthy enough before the press can show up.
So first consider the nature of the event you are hosting before sending out pitches to the media.
This will save you a lot of stress and wasting both your time and theirs.
How do you know if your event is newsworthy?
You have to answer these questions:
- Am I doing something extraordinary?
- Is any top elected official attending?
- Is any celebrity my guest speaker?
- I’m I launching something new that will benefit the entire public or some category of people?
- Are my about to make history or break a record?
- Is what I’m doing related to a trend?
When you’ve determined if this event you are hosting is sophisticated enough to go public then you can follow through with the next step.
However, if you can’t answer any of those questions, don’t get deterred, you can still have a media breakthrough and you are permitted to continue with the subsequent sub-headings, there are alternatives you can use.
2. Compile A Media List
Before you start sending out invitations, you need to compile a comprehensive list of all the media agencies you want to be pitching.
Start listing from your local media before expanding into more renowned media outfits.
When compiling this list, find out if the media agencies you will be inviting are interested in the kind of event you are doing.
Different media outfits have where their interests lie and if yours is not something they dig, they’ll gladly pass.
Make sure your list is lengthy enough and include every media agency in your locality.
When you cast your net that wide, you can get lucky in catching some fishes.
On the bright side, if half of the press outfits you enlisted happens to send reporters to your event, then you are global already.
3. Create a Publicity Plan
As you are aware, planning is everything and is a major step in eliminating the risk of failure.
In your publicity plan, you need to create a timeline of all the activities you’ll be doing to get the press to cover your event.
From the media list you’ve complied and determined if they will be interested in your event or not, you can create a pitching plan, say; a 6 weeks pitching plan prior to the event.
Within this 6 weeks before your event, the first week should see the emails reach all the media outlets informing them of what you’re doing.
The next mail should go out in the third week reminding them of the said event and the final mail on the very week of the event.
If you don’t do this, remember they entertain a lot of invitations on a daily basis and they need to fix you in their to-do list beforehand.
After the first pitching, you can ask for the contact of their media liaison officer and follow-up with calls moderately.
4. Create a Media Advisory
Your media advisory is like a formal invitation to the press to attend your event.
It is shorter than a press release and here you hit the hammer on the head of the nail.
The media advisory can be used in place of a press release if your event does not require one.
Basically, a media advisory comprises of 5 W’s.
What is your event all about?
Where is it happening?
When is it happening?
Why should the press be involved?
Who should be attending the event?
You could make a guest list and attach photos of them.
One society guest or politician or any controversial personality can get you all the press attention you desire.
So do well to include them in your advisory.
Finally, your contact details should be included and the medium they can get back to you for correspondences.
5. Create a Press Release
This should accompany all your emails or any other media you are employing in reaching out to news outlets.
This press release will tell them what it is you are doing in details and a brief background; perhaps a summary of what your organization stands for, what the program intends to achieve, the audience it is targeting, the prospects of the organization and any other relevant detail.
This press release should be like a news article and can not only assume the cover letter status of your email but should be put out there in blogs and local newspapers where you can easily buy a space.
This goes a long way in proving how important your event is and the news media can consider it worthy of grace.
Another press release should be done on the day of the event written in the past tense.
The press release should relay your story ultimately and do half the job of publicity for you.
6. Make Your Own Media
The goal here is to make the job less of a hassle for the press, so easy that even if they fail to attend the event, they can still publish something about it based on what you have dropped on their desk.
Videos and pictures say a lot more than words, the press is aware of it and they’d appreciate if you’d supply them with your own media.
You can create an online skit of what’s going down, more like a jingle.
It could be pictures or videos, but ensure they are of premium quality and should reflect everything your event will be showcasing.
Past events can also be included to give an insight into what the press is to expect.
This is why it’s necessary to cover all your event, they come in handy in times of pitching like this.
7. Understand The Times
Timeliness is of the essence when trying to attract the press to your event.
This works like magic and you won’t have to stress your life out with cold pitches.
Let’s assume your event is about cancer, why don’t you stall it until its world’s cancer day?
Do you see where I’m driving at?
Your event could be a book launch and the book is all about the contemporary Nigerian child, there isn’t a better day to launch it than on children’s day.
Understandably, the press might be occupied because it is a national event but when you follow up with all the steps listed, they can afford to spare you a reporter to come cover your event because they find it newsworthy and appropriate for the times.
When your event is hooked to something current and newsworthy, it becomes easier for the media to show up.
In the media world, it is called newsjacking.
Your event is in line with the season or trendy good stuff in the society, the press will gladly oblige your invitation.
What if the media fails to honor your event?
Well since you’ve made your own media.
You can disperse them in every social media platform in existence and you might get lucky, an influential blogger might come across it and help you with publicity.
As an alternative, some local TV stations can accept the video coverage of your event and air it for you, but this comes at a cost and this is why you don’t need to involve quackery when covering your event.
Go for the best and get something of excellent quality.