When launching an event for a client it’s not a one off activity, it should be a part of an over-arching strategy. Events provide companies with opportunities to extend their reach within target markets to build relationships. First, however, you need to identify your stakeholders, key messages and have a view to build long term relationships, otherwise there is no point.
Have you ever been to an event and after a very short time wondered why you were invited in the first place? It was unimpressive and its unlikely you would ever attend another. This scenario is much like the corporate world when organising a media launch. If you invite journalists to a media launch, you need to be able to answer two key questions the journalist may ask: Why should I attend? And why am I here? To have a successful launch, there must be an intriguing strategy that will leave an impression on the journalists and engage them on an interpersonal level. There must be a compelling reason for their attendance and something that couldn’t be achieved through other means, for example, emailing information.
So here are a few tips to consider when planning for a media launch:
- It’s all about how you craft your message; if your message is not relevant and the event launch does not impress, it is doubtful media coverage will be generated.
- Timing – remember journalists have busy schedules and have lives outside of the office too. Don’t make an event launch too long (more than an hour) or after hours or during key deadlines. Allow enough time for a story to be put together after the event. After hours is exclusive to social events such as film launches. Just like you, the last thing a journalist wants to do after work is – more work. So, if it is after work, make it enticing.
- The medium – If your story is relevant for television news, host your event in the morning so it can be ready for that afternoon and slotted in for the evening and night time news. If you want radio involved, why don’t you hold your event while the radio segment is airing?
- Accommodate specific journalists depending on the target market. It is important to choose the right medium for your message. Keep in mind some journalists work for publications that circulate every fortnight, monthly or quarterly so if you target the wrong journalists, your opportunity for media coverage could be outdated by the time it prints.
- There’s always time for a photo opportunity. There needs to be several photo opportunities on offer especially if you are inviting multiple journalists. The last thing they want is to walk away with exactly the same photo as their competitor. If there are no photo opportunities then its simple – no media coverage.
- The launch of an event is only the beginning of a great campaign for an organisation (you don’t launch a rocket into space and discontinue to monitor its progress – how will you know where it ends up?).
- Follow up on the progress of the campaign on your website or social media platform to keep your publics updated.
- Utilise the highest quality spokesperson from your organisation to send the message to the publics and ensure a scheduled time for a one-on-one interview.