A Simple Guide to PR For Events
Event PR is one of our favorite areas of expertise at Bettie Bomb and it comes with a lot of work. Big or small, it doesn’t matter, there is always a huge amount of planning, timelines and pre-event work to make sure all t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted! We specialize in providing Public Relations for events and one of the biggest categories we serve are events for the philanthropic community.
As one of The Best Nonprofit PR Firms in Chicago, Bettie Bomb supports these non-profit organizations in their overall mission by spotlighting top fundraising efforts for their cause. Charity event assistance is key – not only maximizing exposure for ticket sales, but generating sponsorships, auction items and donations are all crucial elements to the overall mission and fundraising initiatives. Spotlighting your cause is paramount and we focus on targeting multiple platforms to raise as much awareness as possible.
From non-profit galas and fundraisers to multi-day festivals and events, below we’re going to talk about how PR can help events succeed.
How Can PR Help Events Succeed?
When it comes to events, PR is an integral part to its success because it builds buzz, identifies and invites your target audience, plus spreads the word across multiple platforms. Your event PR agency takes your planning efforts to the next level by giving clients ground support, planning assistance and a strategic communication process. Events need to raise money and sell tickets..spotlighting your event, cause and business leading up to it with pre-event coverage helps to do both.
The COVID-19 pandemic launched us into a completely virtual world, even more than we were in already! Event PR agencies support your business with the tools to host webinars, workshops, conferences, watch parties, demonstrations…ANYTHING. This includes turning an in-person event into a virtual one with the flip of a switch. They are equipped to set up, invite and manage attendees, plus facilitate the overall experience.
Overall, it’s about maximizing exposure in an effort to help build your attendance and/or generate ticket sales and your PR team supports you by making sure the right audience is engaged.
What Do PR Agencies Do For Events?
PR is key as part of your overall event promotion strategy. It’s used to drive ticket sales, RSVPs and help leverage sponsorships and/or partnerships. Focusing on local media and targeting key audiences is reaching top potential attendees. We help get people there.
But first we need to break it down into categories: Event Planning, Publicizing, Management and Measuring Success. We’ll get into each one below specifically, showing the vital steps needed when creating an event strategy. All of these steps are focused on how to make your event standout and rise above the noise of all other events happening around you. What makes your event unique? What is your cause or goal by hosting this event? Event PR agencies need to have a full understanding as to why the public should care about your event’s story so we can work together to drive interest and attendance.
In addition to getting the word out, there are other initiatives behind event promotion. A large part of events, especially in the philanthropic space, are sponsors. These high-dollar sponsorships are how the event is able to be executed and charities work all year trying to secure their sponsors for each event. Media coverage, especially post-coverage showcasing the event and the people who attended helps in securing sponsorships for the following year. They use this information and press clips as part of their sponsorship packages, which positively positions their event to potential sponsors. It shows these targeted businesses and corporations of the possible exposure they could receive at the event if they sign on as a top sponsor.
How to Publicize an Event
To build buzz for an event and sell tickets, we have to focus on as much pre-event exposure leading up to the event, especially the 1-2 weeks beforehand to generate interest and get people to attend. We focus on pitching media of course, but getting the event listed in local event listings and calendars is very important. Another vital component for charity events specifically is using personal profiles and stories that are compelling and engage the audience. For example, for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and their annual St. Nicholas Ball in December, the money raised funds all of the children’s programs through the organization. We used the Director of the Children’s Program’s to be our speaker along with a few families that have benefited from being a part of this program. Another great way is to create assets like photos and videos to support. They created a beautiful video showcasing some of the different families at home with interviews, plus footage of the programs. This was very powerful and they even showed it at the event to help with live auction fundraising on-site.
Another way to publicize is with smaller mini-events leading up to the event to create excitement. For the Grey Goose Chicago Beach Polo World Cup, we created a media clinic with some of the professional polo players where the media got to learn the basics of polo, get on horses, etc. We’ve also done Instagram or Facebook LIVE sessions with top spokespeople or notables to tease the event, do a Q&A, etc.
Inviting the media and offering complimentary tickets to them can be a great way to attract more notables and help with the following year’s sponsorships & attendance. We also work to involve the media by having a local anchor serve as emcee, which helps overall, but especially with media coverage from that particular station. They will most likely send a crew to cover the event to get footage of their anchor participating.
Event Management in PR
You’ve been pre-promoting for months and now the day has finally come! PR agencies work hard to continue the publicity by sending out media alerts to all news desks in hopes that they send a crew to cover for the evening news or next day post coverage. We also work with any media in attendance to make sure they are getting the interviews they need, photos, etc.
Photos for post coverage are huge for charity events, so we usually have a team assigned to this task. We shadow a photographer and set up shots with guests, plus ask for their name and the city they reside in so we can target hyper local publications with their photos. Along with the photos and captions, we send how much money the event raised, plus any other notable highlights.
After the media is taken care of and we have our photo lists with captions, we can wrap up for the most part. Over the next 48 hours, we scan post-coverage on all broadcasts along with packaging up our post coverage information that will be sent out to all media. We fact check with clients and gather all of the information we need for outreach. And that’s a wrap!