Whenever an organization wants promote a new product, service or cause that it is supporting, it does this by hosting an event. An event can be held in a variety of ways, but the main idea is to provide information and fun to people within an organization and its audiences or stakeholders. Because an event is all about connecting a client with its publics, event planning has become a very important and specialized part of public relations. Event planning entails generating buzz surrounding the event that is being promoted.
Recently for an internship, I planned an event centered on the reopening of a salon due to its change in ownership that occurred at the beginning of the year. I had never planned an event in my life, so not knowing where to start, I did what any future public relations professional would do and started promoting the event on social media. I used the company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to release online flyers of event information. I planned all the essentials after that, including food, beverages and entertainment.
|Social media flyer created by me|
I only had about a month to plan everything to it all happened very quickly, and I didn’t get to plan everything as well as I would have liked to. As a part of public relations, event planning is something I will probably have to do as a part of an entry-level job in the future, so I wanted to ensure that I would be prepared next time I would have to plan an event.
- Develop a PR plan for the event – develop a communications plan (like we have been doing in class) that lists the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics for the event. It will also include who the target audience will be and what the key messages will be. It is very important to know how the audience wants to be reached:
- Social media
- Traditional media
- Integrated media
- Make a list of event details in advance – everything from décor to food needs to be decided upon months in advance. It doesn’t need to be pushed aside until the very last minute.
- Have a hook – what is going to be interesting about the event you are promoting? Are there going to be prize giveaways, entertainment or a theme to differentiate it from past events. Make the event stand out and promote what ever it is that makes it special.
- Have a budget in mind – it’s not the most interesting part of planning an event, but you must know how much the business is willing to spend so you can plan accordingly.
- Promote the event to local residents and businesses – for the event I planned, we used the local newspaper and the Chamber of Commerce to disseminate information about the event to local businesses and residents of the community. We also had a ribbon cutting ceremony that many business-people attended and it was featured in the paper the next week.
- Promote the event through social media – to me, this is the most important part of event planning. You want to inform your audience, which takes the time to follow and engage with your business on social media, about the event. Start Facebook contests or Twitter and Instagram hashtags a couple of months in advance to create excitement for the upcoming event.
Spiewak, M. (2012, May 8). It’s My Party: The Role of Public Relations in Event Planning. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://smpsboston.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/its-my-party-the-role-of-public-relations-in-event-planning/
Warner, J. (2013, June 2). 42 Tips For Producing A Memorable Small Business Event. In Small Business Trends. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/small-business-event-planning-tips.html