The Modern Event Planner’s Guide to Working With Journalists
How To Invite Media To An Event
Our Best Tips And A Timeline
If you execute a perfect event, but there are no journalists there to report on it, what then? Journalists can be your direct line to creating buzz and building a brand, so it is important that you cultivate a positive relationship with media outlets in your events’ industries. Whether you want bloggers and influencers discussing your keynote speaker, or the local news reporting on your impact to the community, getting the right journalists to your event will be key to your success. But that leaves one question: how to invite media to an event?
At Omnience™, we know that journalists can be your best friends for marketing an event, but it takes some finesse and persistence to get them there. Here are our tips for how to invite media to an event, as well as a handy sample timeline at the end.
As soon as you have the basic information of your event confirmed, you should start contacting journalists. To build the most buzz before event day, start scheduling interviews as soon as you have enough details to discuss. Before you can do that, you need to know who to reach out to.
Research A Media Contact List
Instead of casting a wide net and sending information to every publication you can find, try to identify the media outlets that your event will truly appeal to. Reach out to blogs, websites, newspapers, news stations, radio stations, and magazines who have a target audience you want to reach. Gather journalists’ information and keep it organized, perhaps on a spreadsheet, so that you can refer to it when you hear back from them. Consider including information such as their publication, contact information, typical niches, and importance (1-3).
Share A Press Release Or A Media Advisory
You will likely be creating a press release for your event, but consider writing a media advisory to share directly to journalists. A media advisory is similar to a press release, but it is shorter and only includes the most relevant information. This is how journalists will decide if your event could be worth covering, so highlight key speakers or anything that will set your event apart. A well-written media advisory could spark an interview, which is a great opportunity for you to share all the details about your event.
Give Them Their Angle
All journalists are looking for a unique spin to report on, so give it to them! Look at your event from a journalist’s eyes; what stands out? What are you doing differently than everyone else? Is your event especially timely or relevant at this moment? This will grab the media’s attention and make it easier to get them to your event.
Communicate With Precision
Journalists have great power over how their audience will perceive your event, so it is crucial that you handle your interactions with the proper care and professionalism that they require. Prompt and courteous responses will go a long way, but here are some more tips for interacting with journalists when planning events.
Stick With Your Brand Message
Whether your purpose is spreading industry knowledge or celebrating a business milestone, journalists will appreciate concise answers. Avoid rambling about details that won’t matter in the big picture or aren’t relevant to the angle the journalist is pitching.
Take Negative Press with Grace
Both before or after the event, have a plan for handling negative press. Nothing can blow a small critique up into a public relations catastrophe like an improper reaction. Consider addressing it, and then reach out to the journalist with the goal of gaining better understanding for your own edification. This might encourage him or her to help restore your image, and at the very least will alert you to an issue that needs your attention.
Give Them What They Need
So, it’s event day and the journalists you invited showed up! Make sure that each journalist has what they need to make your event look good. If news cameras show up, escort them to a particularly well-designed area that will really pop on television. Help a radio station set up in a section that won’t be overwhelmingly loud. All journalists should have VIP access, including preferential seating during speakers and other noteworthy events. Let them know who will be their contact during the event to answer any questions they might have.
After your event, reach out to the journalists who attended to thank them for their time. Offer any additional information, such as relevant data or the names of the key players. If there are publications you want to be featured in but they did not send journalists, reach out to them again with excellent photos, videos, data, and stories they could use—it isn’t too late for them to pick you up!
- Planning: As you begin planning your event, create your media contact list. Send them media advisories or press releases as soon as the basics of your event are confirmed.
- Right Before: A couple days before your event, reach out to journalists. Confirm what publications are considering attending your event, and check that television stations have received your information. Make sure they have your event in their assignment book to consider sending out cameras.
- On Event Day: Greet the journalists and give them the scoop on anything noteworthy or anyone who would make an interesting interview. Before they leave, exchange contact information if you haven’t yet.
- Shortly After Event Day: Contact the journalists who attended with any additional information they might want, such as attendance. Check that they have all names and organizations correct with correct spellings. Reach out to other journalists from appropriate media outlets with information that will entice them to write about your event.
With some attention to detail and a little persistence, you can lift your event into the spotlight through insightful media attention. Inviting journalists to your event is a great way to support your stakeholders, create positive buzz, and set up a foundation for next year’s event. Contact us for help communicating with journalists for your next event.