Event marketing is on the rise.
A recent report by event software company Bizzabo says 85 percent of marketers cite event production as “essential” to their marketing strategies, while 41 percent consider event marketing the most crucial channel to achieve their goals. Two-thirds surveyed say they plan to increase spending on live events in 2019.
As more organizations look to live events to boost the bottom line, they’re also looking to their PR teams to help get the word out to improve visibility and drive attendance. Events allow face-to-face interaction with prospects, helping them establish a more personal relationship with brands. Organizations can get feedback in real-time, instead of waiting for customers to try the product and share comments, which may never happen.
“For instance, intimate VIP events may help to win new customers, while thought leadership and networking events may help to increase brand awareness, and awards ceremonies may help to generate revenue from ticket sales and sponsors,” says Bizzabo.
Given this rise in live events, how can PR pros help brands make the most of these opportunities?
Here are four ways PR pros can get the word out about events:
1. Traditional PR tactics
Use press releases to create buzz. These can be written in advance and pitched to relevant publications, posted on your web site and social media and issued on wire services.
“What doesn’t work is writing the same old press release for the event,” says Vannessa Wade, Founder, Connect The Dots PR. “Add flare. Talk about the event with excitement. Have a clear call to action.”
“Whenever possible I try to connect client events to a local community conversation or a trend,” says Olivia Adams, communications strategist, Byrum & Fisk. “This makes media advisories, press releases, pitches and social media content all that more relevant and impactful when the event is connected to a bigger conversation.”
In addition to press releases, invite journalists to attend and cover the event. Post the event to local listings and event calendars.
Make the most of your event headliners in your PR efforts. Set up an interview with them before the event so you can create a press release or blog post. Beyond that, pitch an interview with them to local media. Then, share the articles that result on social media and the event landing page.
2. Content creation
Beyond press releases, craft blog posts to talk about not only what your company is doing at an event but what you’re excited to see. Are other brands participating that you may be able to include in your post?
You can also create a landing page with all the information about the event. Take time to answer all the questions potential attendees might want to know. Include a sneak peek or behind-the-scenes footage, a program of speakers with excerpts from their work, and more.
After the event, you can write another blog post that recaps the highlights. Include photos or videos from the event. Be sure to share this on social media, as well.
3. Social media
Prepare some scheduled posts ahead of time and share live updates during the event. Post your content on Facebook Events.
Enlist partners and sponsors in your social media campaign to promote your events. Be sure to tag them in your posts to increase the likelihood that they’ll share them. You can also create sample posts for your employees and third parties to share, making it easy for them to cut and paste.
4. Influencer marketing
“A major problem for brands in today’s digital world is that they tend to be faceless among a social feed of other brands,” said Deirdre Lopian, creative director, DLPR. “But influencers know how to create engaging content that will stand out and resonate with their audience.”
What types of initiatives can influencers help brands with? Keynote speeches, panel discussions, promotions and live-streaming are a few examples Lopian cites.
Keep PR in the loop
As brands ramp up their event marketing efforts, PR teams can use these techniques to help build buzz and excitement to make them more successful.
Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @PRisUs or connect with her on LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on the Meltwater blog.
Tags: event marketing