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Spring is in the air, and for many organizations that means it’s a great time to host an event.

If your planning is underway, you probably have your to-do list in progress – a venue secured, speakers lined up, and a marketing plan ready to go. But have you considered the public relations possibilities?

Public relations can be the perfect complement to your overall marketing efforts by helping create a broader awareness and general focus on your key messages, event, and organization.

Following are a few areas to consider when thinking about public relations for your event:

Understand Your Goals

As with any plan, the first step is identifying your campaign goals.

Are you wanting to add overall awareness about your event? Are you hoping to focus solely on driving ticket sales? Perhaps you want to drive awareness of your overall cause or issue.

Whatever the focus, having an established goal really helps in terms of framing your tactics and especially your messages about the event.

Refine Your Message

What do you want to say about the event? Using your goals as a roadmap, you can determine the key talking points and concepts.

If event awareness is your focus, highlighting the context or bigger picture is vital. For ticket sales, you want to focus on a specific call to action and benefit to the consumer.

Consider the Media

Are you trying to get some media attention for the event? If so, it’s important to ask yourself some tough questions about the potential media interest and gain a realistic understanding of how others may view and value your event.

Does your event have a broad appeal? Is it a broad enough focus that has general interest or is it unique enough that it’s a little bit of an oddity? Have you seen similar events or incidents of this scale in news coverage before?

Additionally, you will want to consider the visual nature of the event. The media may be less receptive to talking heads in a conference than a scenic outdoor venue.

Finally, think about your keynote speaker or main draw. Do they have broad appeal or are they immediately recognizable? Putting the spotlight on your main speaker can help broaden the awareness of your overall event.

Make it Social

A vital component of the PR plan should be social media. Consider how you will promote the event and what channels you will use.

Refer back to your previous planning on messaging and make sure your posts support that message. If you have strong visuals, include them in your posts. Consider using a #hashtag, to help potential participants find your posts and stay engaged with event activities.

Video can also be a key component in your social plan. Perhaps create an interview video with your main speakers and post it on your channel. A live video, either in advance or on the day of the event, can be a powerful promotional tool.

In the end, no matter what type of event you are promoting, these public relations techniques can help get your event in front of your audience and help support your overall marketing goals.

Gary Campbell

Gary joined Davidson Belluso with 20+ years of experience in communications and media relations. Initially working as a sports and news reporter for several newspapers, Gary spent 17 years in public affairs at Arizona State University. His tenure there included writing, editing, media relations, and crisis communications along with managing the university homepage and developing a comprehensive news and media information site. Recently, he spent almost a year as communications director at Crisis Response Network, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides mental health crisis services. Outside of the office, he spends time with his wife and three children and is a founding director of a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting a local high school marching band.