As most Arizonans know, event season is over. And what an award season, it has been. Since November, we have marketed seven major events. Every one of them has been successful. We measure success by our happy clients. All of the event clients are retaining us for upcoming events and gave us high marks. These include two Fountain Hills arts festivals, the MAME home building marketing awards, My Nana’s Salsa Festival for Arizona Hemophilia, The Parada del Sol Rodeo, the Cheba Hut store opening and the Arizona Burn Foundation Festival of Trees.
While these events are diverse, our process has been the same for every one of them. Here is our not-so-secret sauce to event perfection: Start with a marketing plan. This includes research to fine-tune the target market, public relations and content strategy, media options, timeline and creative direction.
Send out to local and regional calendars
This needs to go out 90 days before the event to magazines, online event listings and entertainment publications. If you are developing your list, do an online search for “events” and you’ll see the top options in your area by relevance. A short release with an event description, photos, time, date, admission and who it benefits will be necessary.
Plan an event kit
Many PR professionals have gotten away from this but we continue to get comments. Generally, we put together a themed basket of event props with the release and hand deliver it to targeted media entities. Mugs are especially helpful because people tend to keep them on their desk. We also include something sweet like candies.
Do a comprehensive PR drop seven days before the event
News people generally look for stories in the near term. Make it easy for them by providing them with all the details, easy access to the event and visuals. Television wants a video opportunity while print publications are looking for photos. Also, note that radio stations also like to talk about events – but they just need copy points.
Have daily communications meetings
There are so many moving parts that a short scrum (no more than ten minutes) to make sure all the key areas are moving ahead is essential. One person should be designated as the project manager to move it along.
Manage the media effectively
This is the single biggest factory of event success. Know who you are targeting. Use media research from the local TV and radio stations. Choose the media that will most likely attract your likely event goers. Radio is often a great choice. Make sure the station(s) you choose have the audience you are looking for. Ask to see rankers and do your due diligence. Then to precisely target specific groups of people, use paid social media ads. You can target women who like thrill seeker sports who haven’t been to a rodeo, for instance. It’s that granular. You can either target likely goers or grow the event by targeting people who would go if they knew about it.