By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
Sorry… there isn’t any magic potion or secret key to get the media to cover your event. I’ve worked on events like new product demonstrations, ground breakings and ribbon cutting ceremonies and while many have seen successful media coverage, some have not.
Make sure your event is newsworthy. Just because you think something happening within your organization is exciting, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Media are looking for stories that will relate to a wide audience of readers and viewers. Ask yourself: Will this impact the community? Will anyone outside of my organization/business care about this? If you can answer yes, then you might have an event media will take interest in.
Pick a good day of the week and time. If possible, stay away from Monday and Friday if you want the media to cover your event. Mondays tend to be spent catching up with weekend stories; Fridays are spent planning weekend coverage. Your best bet is to focus on a day during the middle of the week. As far as time goes, try mid to late morning. Holding an event too early doesn’t give media enough time to plan their schedule. Late in the day puts a time crunch on editing stories to run in the evening news cycle.
Give them a heads up – but not too much. If you have an event that you believe the media will have an interest in covering, let them know about one or two days ahead of time by sending an email with the event details. Send anything earlier and your message will most likely get buried. It might also help to follow up with each media outlet to see if they plan on attending.
Don’t hold an event just for the media. I always tell clients this. You never want to hold an event like a ground breaking just for the media in the event that no one shows up to cover it. Things happen – late breaking stories or a national story can put a hold on everything, including coverage of your event. Plan the event for the people attending (board members, community supporters, staff, etc.) first. If media attends, it’s a great bonus for you.
Take these thoughts into consideration when trying to attract media to cover an event or ceremony. Hopefully it will help you avoid some common pitfalls.
What other ideas do you have to get media to cover an event? Any tips or things to avoid? Please share!