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Public Relations Strategies for Events

Posted by Larry McAlister

Caution-210x210P.T. Barnum coined the phrase: “The Greatest Show on Earth” (GSOE), and probably in the early 1900’s, his traveling collection of elephants, acrobats and freaks probably was.

Today, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is still trademarked as The Greatest Show on Earth, and its traveling collection of elephants, acrobats and clowns really is not.

And, unless your event is Super Bowl L, the 2016 Rio Olympics or the Rolling Stones final show, it’s not going to be either.

But when it comes to media relations, and publicizing and promoting your event, it needs to be approached as if it were the GSOE. We’re not talking about hype and overhype, but strategic planning and execution that extends the life of your event on the front and back ends.

Although there is a process, there is never a promise the media will care, or come to your event. So we must be strategic, creative, clever and steadfast in our media relations efforts.

Barnum also coined the phrase: “Without promotion something terrible happens…nothing.”

All media events don’t have to be so grandiose. Use your resources and give your audiences enough of what they want, so they will come to your event, donate to your cause, and generate buzz.

When at all possible, give the media the opportunity to experience something your event is all about, whether the audience will get a chance to or not. Let them shoot machine guns, throw passes to an NFL star, go on a diet or dive into a sea of guacamole, your audience will live it through them, and will be engaged.

There are multiple opportunities for media events through the life cycle of your event including: announcement events; teaser events; differentiation events; “experience” events; covering the event; and follow-up events. The more of those you can engage the media, the more successful your event will be.

You can’t fire off a media advisory or press release and expect to generate media interest. Creating media events is essential for the full life cycle, and the success of your event.

Although he never said it, Barnum was also credited with coining the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Don’t let it be you.

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