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How to Run an Effective Event PR Campaign to Promote Your Next Event

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Posted on February 14, 2023

Running a successful public relations campaign can help boost the number of your event’s attendees. If many people attend your event, you can achieve the goals you set out to achieve with it in the first place. Ultimately, an effective event PR campaign can translate to a successful event, which can, in turn, help your business succeed.

But how can you run an effective event PR campaign to promote your next event? Follow my five top tips:

1. Define Your Event Goals

goals for event pr

The first step to launching a successful PR campaign to promote your next event is clearly defining your event goals and objectives. When you identify them beforehand, you can channel your time, energy, and resources into achieving them.

Your event goals can be varied. Apart from increasing brand awareness and enhancing customer engagement, you might also have any of the following as your goals:

  • Increase the number of people availing of free product trials. 
  • attract talent 
  • increase employee engagement

Write down your goals and objectives. Just make sure they’re specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Take into account your available budget and manpower.

Once you’ve determined your objectives and goals, you can determine your key performance indicators for measuring success. If your event goal was to increase brand awareness among millennials, your KPI could be brand mentions of millennials. If your goal is to generate more sales, your KPI could be revenue after the event.

You’ll look at these afterward to determine if your event was successful.

2. Know Your event PR Campaign’s Target Audience

know your event pr campaign target audience

Now it’s time to determine your PR campaign audience. Your PR campaign audience should be the same as your event audience. That makes sense because the whole point of your running a PR campaign is to promote your event. It wouldn’t make sense to target CEOs with a campaign that aims to promote a concert for millennials. 

For example, in October 2019, Coca-Cola held a CMO leadership summit in Chicago. So the brand’s PR campaign–which relied mostly on social media marketing and influencer marketing–targeted CMOs, too. 

So, in the run-up to the event, you had Coca-Cola tweeting the names of respected business leaders who would serve as event speakers for the event:

3. Pick the Right event PR Campaign Platform/s

platforms for event PR campaigns

One way to discover a suitable platform for your audience includes sending out surveys to get the opinions and preferences of your desired audience. 

Another way is by finding out which platform works best for the type of audience you’re targeting – remember, Google is your friend. 

For instance, TikTok is probably the best platform if you want to reach millennials. To promote its Nike Nationals event for 2022, then, Nike leveraged the platform as part of its PR campaign to promote event:

You can also use past data and analytics from previous campaigns to see which platform had more reach and produced results. If picking the perfect platform seems difficult, you can seek the help of a B2B PR, food PR, or a fashion PR agency, whichever applies to your business. They’ve had lots of experience in PR and are the best people to know which platform works best for specific PR campaigns for events.

This doesn’t mean you can only pick one platform for your PR campaign. After all, your PR campaign can have many components. It can include social media marketing, paid to advertise, and podcast marketing, among other things.

In fact, it’s best to pick as many platforms as possible to reach as many of the right people as possible to promote your event. Just make sure the platforms you pick are frequented by your target event audience.

4. Use a Creative Angle for Your event PR Campaign Materials

creative angle for event pr campaign

To run a successful PR campaign and ensure attendees to your event, your creative cap must always stay on. Attracting the attention of the media and the public requires you to pitch a creative angle. To achieve this, ask yourself what your target audience can relate to. They don’t have to be related to your event at all.

You can, for instance, leverage newsjacking. It’s the practice of using current news and trending events to promote your brand. So, you’d center your PR campaign around a major trending news item. 

Let’s say you plan to launch a new dish as part of your restaurant menu. It so happens that the event comes right after the World Cup ends. Your PR campaign can then include social media posts that show a hypothetical scenario: people celebrating their country’s World Cup victory (or loss) while eating your new dish and interacting with fellow sports buffs during your food launch.

Instead of promoting your event directly, you can also share the stories of people who attended a similar event you held in the past or specify the number of people who attended it before. This is a great way to convince others to attend your event, too. 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to PR campaign creative angles. The key is to understand two things—your audience and event message—and think outside the box.

5. Tap into the Power of Traditional Media 

Using traditional media for event pr

We’ve so far talked about digital platforms you can leverage for that PR campaign to promote your event. But these aren’t the only platforms you should leverage. If you want your PR campaign–and, therefore, your event—to gain more traction, you must also tap into traditional media. 

This is why you need to, one, send the media event invites, and two, write press releases as part of your PR campaign. 

You can have as many press releases as you want. I would suggest that one of these be a main press release that announces the launch of your event on the day, like this one below:

The rest can be “minor” press releases that announce the other components of your PR campaign. For instance, you might want to announce the release of your creative ad promoting your main event. This is a common approach by big brands like Nike and Pepsi.

Remember that the more detailed (and well-written) your press release is, the more likely it is to be picked up by media outfits. The press release above is an example of one that ticks off all the right boxes. It starts off with the main idea and then provides many supporting details. It even includes quotes from relevant personalities.

Upload the releases on your company website and send them to your media contacts. If you don’t have their email addresses, reach out to them via social media platforms. 

Don’t upload or send your press releases to your media contacts too late or too early. For the event press release, send it on the day of the event. Don’t send it before, because that would only encourage journalists not to attend. Send the press release for your other PR campaign components (ads, etc..) a day before their launch.

BONUS: Build Relationships with Journalists

Your PR campaign can only go as far as the quality of relationships with the journalists covering your specific field or industry. However, building relationships with journalists doesn’t just happen after one encounter. It’s not just about learning how to create a digital business card and sending it to them. You should have a long-term mindset when approaching journalists. It’s a relationship that needs to be cultivated over time.

Journalists need to see that you care about them and not just about the story they’re going to write about your brand. Become friends with them, not just another PR person on their contact list. Learn what interests them: the type of audience they write for, their hobbies, etc.

You can also send them tips for other stories. Also, introduce them to people in your network. 

Ultimately, the better rapport you build with the media, the more likely they’ll help you promote your PR campaign and event.

Conclusion

If you want your event to be a success, you can’t just wait for your target audience to know about it. Running an effective PR campaign can help promote your event and boost your attendees.

You learned ways you can run an effective PR campaign. Define your event objective and your PR campaign’s target audience. Pick the right PR platforms. When creating your PR campaign materials, use creative angles. Finally, tap into the power of traditional media. 

As a final tip, keep track of your campaign and measure its success afterward. You can consider your PR campaign a success if your event achieved the goals it set out to achieve in the first place. Good luck!

This post was written by Chris Norton and co-developed by Sara Emezi

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