4 Strategies to Maximize Media Coverage of Your Event
When you have an event to promote, you want as much coverage as possible. But are you taking full advantage of the news cycle? Everyone you pitch won’t go to your event, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cover it before or after it happens. Recognizing these opportunities will expand your reach beyond your day-of event coverage.
Guide My Brand recently secured media coverage for the 40th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which 5 million people visit in Washington, D.C., each year. Jan Scruggs, founder of the Wall, held a ceremony to commemorate the milestone and to honor the fallen.
We ultimately landed more than seven placements surrounding our client’s event, including large-market television coverage and a handful of military-focused websites.
- Start planning early and focus on what’s newsworthy.
As Jan Scruggs was booking speakers for his event, we were drafting and updating a press release. When he confirmed former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel would be speaking, we made that the headline because we knew that would attract media attention.
Even if you don’t have a big name at your event, ask yourself these questions to figure out how to best pitch it:
- Why should people care about my event?
- Is there something going on in the world that makes this event timely, relevant or newsworthy?
- What’s in it for the journalist and their audience (not just for me and my business)?
The team at Guide My Brand helps clients with this on a weekly basis. We handle the publicity and media piece so they can focus on their strengths.
- Offer up pre-event coverage.
We notified the media several times about the event before it happened. In our first round of outreach, we included enough information in our email so that a journalist could write a story. Some outlets, like Connecting Vets, went ahead and published articles prior to the event.
We also offered preview interviews with our client by request, and in our last reminder, we said our client would be at the memorial at a specific time the day before the event. Multiple media outlets came by to interview him, which led to this profile piece by a D.C. TV station.
- Be prepared for day-of coverage.
You never know what kind of turnout to expect on the big day, but make sure you’re prepared.
Think through these questions:
- Does a podium and microphone make sense?
- If you’re expecting a larger media presence, do you have a mult box so that journalists can get better audio quality?
- Do you need to carve out an area for cameras if it’s a crowded space?
- Do you have a point person for the media, and are they well-prepared?
- Who will be available to do interviews before and/or after the event if a journalist asks for them?
- Who’s keeping track of media in attendance (simply by asking which outlet they represent)? This way, you can easily compile a list of coverage following the event.
See how the CBS affiliate in D.C. covered the event at the Wall.
ALSO READ: 3 Reasons Why You Need Media Training
- Have a post-event plan to help rake in additional coverage.
If a media outlet misses your event, they may reach out and ask for photos, videos or interviews. Don’t be surprised! Instead, be ready to respond.
Plan for this well before your event by coming up with a strategy.
- Can someone take photos at your event, whether or not they’re professional? Can they upload those to a Google Drive or make them easily accessible soon after your event?
- Would it make sense to live stream your event? Or can someone shoot video? Are you prepared to send out that video soon after your event?
- Do you need to follow up with any journalists who expressed interest?
After Connecting Vets did a preview piece on the anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the journalist asked for visuals and speeches for a follow-up piece after the event. That means one outlet published two pieces!
Timeliness is really important here. If your event happens in the afternoon, a local TV station may want to include it in their 5 or 6 p.m. broadcast. A day or two after your event, the news cycle is most likely over, so if you don’t move quickly, you’ll lose out on coverage.
This can be a lot to keep in mind! Do you need help with an event you’re planning? Guide My Brand offers author publicity services and PR for entrepreneurs. Book a free discovery call to chat with us.