When it comes to questions of press and wedding PR, we always know exactly who to call. Nicola Russill-Roy, founder of Propose PR, is our resident go-to gal for all things public relations and a valued member of the HivePros team. Earlier this year, she hosted a HiveSkills session on harnessing the power of PR, and left our attendees buzzing with ideas! Today, Nicola is sharing some of her expertise with us again, this time her top tips for organising a successful press event for your wedding business.
If you have never organised a press event, you may be wondering what this actually means and how to go about organising one. So I have put together this little guide to help you!
WHAT IS A PRESS EVENT?
Simply put, it’s an event to promote whatever it is that you have to unveil to the press. The event can take many forms, for example, a masterclass, workshop, party, lunch or dinner. It can also be an intimate affair or large scale, although I would suggest starting small if this is your first press event. What you are launching will also vary. It could be a new collection, a new range, a new product, or perhaps if you are a service-led company who has a new service, you can find a creative way for press to experience this service at an in-person, interactive event.
The people attending the event are press, so this means magazine editors, writers, bloggers, freelance journalists who write for publications, podcasters, influencers – basically people in the media who can write about your event and share this with their online or print readers.
WHY NOT JUST SEND OUT A PRESS RELEASE?
An event brings your message to life. For example, if you have got a new collection you want to share with the press in the hope of scoring yourself some coverage, there is no better way than actually getting them to see and feel the collection, speak to you as the person behind creating it, and maybe trying out a few items themselves. This is a far more interactive then a piece of copy with images. Of course, not every business can or will want to hold a press event and this is fine too. A well-designed PR campaign can still score you the press coverage you need. However, a press event can be extremely worthwhile and powerful, and gain your business lots of media coverage.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING A PRESS EVENT
Timings. Press are busy people, so consider their schedules and deadlines weeks before choosing a date for your event. Avoid evening events unless yours can start soon after traditional working hours. Journalists are often at their desks by 8am, so after a full day, will not want to hang around and wait for an event that starts at 8pm.
Location. Make it as easy as possible for press to reach your location. Most journalists work in Zone 1 in Central London, so try to keep to this area if you can. If you are targeting regional press only and are outside of London, the general rule I like to follow is for press not to have to spend more than 30 minutes travelling. If they are further away, consider ways of transporting them or, if your event is taking place at a venue with accommodation, you may want to collaborate with them in offering press stays overnight in return for the hotel gaining some additional press coverage.
Length of event. Ideally, you want an event to last no more then 2–3 hours. Press are busy and their time is precious.
Purpose. Have a clearly defined purpose for your event. Don’t just host a networking event for press to mingle and chat. Think about what it is you are trying to promote, plan a way of creatively presenting this to them, and make sure the press know exactly what they are coming to see and why.
Invites. Give your guests at least four weeks notice. Don’t leave it until the last minute to send out invitations as you may find press are already booked up with other commitments.
Information. Have your press kits ready to give out at the event before guests leave. A press kit typically includes a press release containing all of the information press would need (price points, stockist information, where to buy, information about you and your company, contact information), and a USB containing images that press can use. Alternatively, mention in the press release that hi-res images can be sent to them upon request via Dropbox or WeTransfer.
Follow up. After your press event, contact all the attendees, thanking them for being there and giving them a digital version of the press kit, so that they have all the information to hand.
Start early. Be prepared to get super organised if you are thinking of planning a press event! You may want to factor in a three-month lead time. You will also need to factor in a budget for things like venue space, food and beverages, invitations, photography, flowers – and of course, your time in putting the whole event together.
Seriously considering hosting a press event of your own? If you would like to pick my brains further or would like some help with press event management, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Want to get a taste of Nicola’s PR consultation offerings? You can now book a PR Power Hour session with her as one of our HivePro offerings. Find out more HERE.