What publicity, good or bad, can do to the image/reputation/business of any company, start-up or a celebrity is something we all know. Similarly, publicity, a good one at that, can work wonders for an event, whether it is simply a team building exercise, an annual meet or a presentation. With media support, the eyeballs your small or big event grabs can change drastically. Media, often called the fourth estate, can play a crucial role in thousands of people talking about your event.
As opposed to the general notion, working with the media is much easier than it seems. But on the other hand, you need not always have friends in the media to attract the public to your event. Although, there are a few rules one could abide by to drive media interest to an event; here is our set of 8 rules for the same:
1. Lock your strategy before distribution:
Always remember that analyzing and planning is as important as execution. Before you shoot out the first press release, consider your strategy of working with the media. Depending on the type of event, a different media section will be interested in getting involved with it, e.g., the news media would want to cover a large-scale project. On the other hand, if it is an internal company event, influential industry magazines and blogs may be interested. So, make sure your media strategy is locked beforehand.
2. Your style is your identity:
Your signature style of writing is what you should be known for. Every publication has its own writing style that they stick to – some use loud headlines, followed by small paragraphs; some others are more about images and minimal text. You can save an editor’s time by adapting your press release for mass media. It is not necessary to rewrite the text every time, rather make minor edits to get to a couple of versions for different sources.
3. Follow the hierarchy:
Media is of two types: mass and professional, and the rule of the food chain works for both categories. When sending out material, always connect with publications having large readerships first. The ones with smaller readerships will repost the material and share a backlink to the original article. This way you will save time and effort and you will earn the trust of larger publications if you retain the uniqueness of the original article with them.
With professional media, things work a bit differently. You need to send out an article with slightly different information to each publication; do not commit the error of sending the same article to different publishing houses. Play with different elements of your event and create different yet interesting drafts to be shared with professional media.
4. Put plans in place and stick to their timelines:
Putting a timeline against your press releases truly matters a lot. Make a detailed schedule of the press releases, list the planned topics and never confuse matters with post-event press releases. Stick to set timelines to come what may, because a delay in the news dispatch only dilutes the newsfeed further and readers begin to lose interest. A fresh and hot story interests media and readers the most.
5. Keep a tab on your email count and refrain from bulk emails:
The most important question after a long preparation is how to connect with mass editorial offices? Well, if you cannot find any individual contact details, simply write to the corporate email ID found under the Contact Us section on the website. Sometimes editors and bloggers mention their work ID on their social handles, but please, please never leave messages on their Facebook or LinkedIn pages. Public people appreciate their private space immensely; don’t forget that.
Even more important is to refrain from sending out bulk emails. Make sure to write separate, personalized messages to different publishing houses. Don’t be lazy: send press releases in separate messages rather than mass mailing 10 addresses.
6. Don’t dilute your brand with plugs:
We all want as much publicity as possible for the event, including credible promotion for our partners. But, a logo on each photo and a long list of partners at the end of a press release can be hassling for the media personnel. Most media clearly separate advertising and editorial content; therefore, they will remove info about commercial partners.
Our advice is simple, you need to grab the media’s interest and retain it, regardless of brands. The more you push the media to mention your partner companies through press releases or at the event itself, the less likely they will be to want to share it.
7. Share backstage:
Other than the front-seat action, dive a little deeper and share other details such as rehearsals, preparation process, guest meetings and more. Backstage is generally perceived as something very personal, because you show what wasn’t seen by active participants at the event. Trade publications greatly value this footage and information; for them, off-screen material is more important and interesting than a traditional multimedia report.
8. Build a rapport:
Working with media is all about building strong relationships, and no time is a bad time to do that. To start off, show a caring and serious attitude: save an editor’s or journalist’s time by sending prepared and crafted material which corresponds to the style of the publication. Also, do not bombard them with all the info in a single press release. If they find your content interesting, they will reach out asking for more details. Lastly, maintain a database of friendly media, including personal email addresses and phone numbers of editors and journalists that you have developed a good rapport with. They have to be first to receive the details of hot and fresh news about your projects.