Events stand to benefit from positive PR in exactly the same way as brands do. Whether you are a leading trade show, or a consumer fair, your show is your brand with its own unique selling points, content, and target audience.
So, your event has been planned meticulously – the exhibitors finalised, speakers confirmed, and media sponsors signed up – but how do you maximise the number of visitors through the doors on the opening day of the show? And how do you ensure that everyone who’s anyone in your target market(s) is talking about your event as a ‘must attend’ in the business calendar?
To use those oft quoted words, timing is everything. Begin too early and you’ll quickly find that the positive press does little to complement the show itself. Begin too late, and the danger is that the majority of media coverage will come out after the event. But give yourself 6-8 months to establish some good quality content, and discuss opportunities with those involved in the show, and you’ll see a steady stream of coverage that can build up and up, to peak right when you want it to: just before the show opens. By doing this, you can make sure that people in your industry are reading and talking about the issues central to your show at exactly the right time.
One of the great things about organising an event is the range of experts that you have at your fingertips. Exhibitors, keynote speakers, and event co-ordinators: each of these represents an authoritative industry voice that, when harnessed and united under the banner of your event, can offer valuable insight to the press across a whole host of industry topics. So work with them to maximise exposure and fully exploit what should be a symbiotic relationship. After all, good PR for them is good PR for you.
Keep a steady flow of news coming out of your event. Just confirmed a keynote presentation from a leading industry voice? Don’t keep it to yourself! Tell people about it. Press releases are great, but a dedicated newsletter to your audience will involve your entire community, and delivers the very latest show information. Media announcements will also alert key press to the developments and opportunities that make your show the hottest ticket in town.
Your event is your community. And what your community needs is a forum to discuss topics and share ideas before the event gets underway. Give them a place to talk, and talk they will. By all means steer topics. However, as you announce more news, and additional speakers and exhibitors, you’ll soon start to see the discussion grow organically, with forum members starting new threads. Remember; social media is as much about listening as it is about talking. Pay attention to what your community is talking about, as this is a simple yet direct method of keeping your finger on the pulse of what the hot topics. Moreover, react to breaking news, as well as to the conversations ongoing within your community.
A well-planned and executed PR strategy can establish your show as the industry’s ‘premiere event’. Build on the wealth of expertise at your disposal, ensure a stream of coverage appearing in all the right places and at the right time. Via a proactive management of content, news and social media, your event can become synonymous with the market, whilst reaping the rewards in terms of attendance, repeat business, and revenue.