PR (or public relations) is all about publicity and relates to the use of non-paid mediums to increase the promotion of your event, such as in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and online.
Knowing where to find your local media isn’t much use unless you have something of interest to offer them! Your most effective tools for reaching the media will be through Media Releases – preferably used in conjunction with a follow-up phone call.
Today, electronic delivery of Media Releases is standard practice but the same formatting applies to both printed and emailed versions. The type should be double-spaced. It should only be one page in length – and must contain the basics of a good news story:
- Who is involved? (Local celebrities, high-profile visitors and performers all add interest)
- What is the event about? (Draw attention to any unusual or special features of the event)
- Why is it on? (Is it a fund-raiser, community get-together)?
- Where is it being held? (People need to know how to find your event)
- When is it on? (People need to know when)
Provide a catchy headline and include any essential information, such as where to get tickets or more information. Make sure you are aware of the publication deadlines and get your material in early – and when working with a number of media outlets in the same general region (such as in Geelong), it helps to make each event story special to that publication (especially for weekly and monthly publications).
Always put a contact name and telephone number at the end of the release including after hours numbers.
For larger events, it may be helpful to develop a Media Kit – which can include photos, special features on participants, sponsor information, even a few ready to publish items. Most newspapers and magazines today prefer to receive their material electronically.
If you are running a major event, it is well worth your effort to build relationships with local media so that you have a better understanding of their needs. Personal contact with journalists and radio and television producers will allow you to better tailor your approach and suggest particular angles for the story.
Don’t forget about ethnic communities or minority groups. Consider using special promotional material in their own language – or communicating through ethnic newspapers, magazines and radio. The Geelong Migrant Resource Centre may be able to assist in this area.
Brochures – Brochures are useful for inviting participation. They can be translated into community languages and be distributed easily. They are also useful to give to people as potential sponsors.
Posters – Posters are a quick and usually economical way of spreading the word about your event. Put in the right places, they have longevity and a visual impact.
Internet – one of the first places people look for events information is online. Whether you have your own event site, or can leverage information on another site (such as our free events calendar), publishing info online is a must.
Social Media – Use electronic promotions to their best advantage. Create an online community on Facebook to send updates about your event. Opportunities could include using tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and many more.
Event Program – If you have an event program that can be printed in advance and widely distributed, it will give people a definite idea of what is happening and when. It will also allow people time to plan to take in aspects of the event that appeal to them.
Mail Outs and Letterbox Drops – Develop a mailing list of interested parties, including all stakeholders and community organisations that may be interested in your event. You can also ‘rent’ mailing lists if you want to target particular sectors of the business community, associations or clubs. Australia Post has a publication, ‘The List of Lists’ which is also available, which details mailing lists available for rent.
Signage and Billboards – Another important method is to display signs to attract local traffic. Check with the City regarding approvals before erecting any external signage.
Photography – As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousands words. Use good images to help people understand your event.
Direct Mail – This method relates to brochures or letters sent to potential customers through the mail. If you use this method your message must be simple and interesting. Generally, direct mail has a much wider circulation and higher advertising costs.
Newsletters – These can be really useful for helping to promote major events, especially annual events where you have a long lead time. Newsletters, including progress reports on the event’s planning and program development can be valuable.
You may produce a regular event newsletter to be sent to everyone on your mailing list.
You may also be able to have an insert in other regular newsletters or a local newspaper.