How to Leverage PR to Grow Your Event

By Special Contributor, March 10, 2015

Let’s face it: Your event needs publicity so people will pay to attend, sponsors will invest in it, and you’ll be able to run a successful business. The problem with getting any type of PR is that people tend to view it as a magic bullet.

There may have been a time in the past when getting an article in a newspaper or online media outlet would have ushered in droves of customers, but for the most part those days have come and gone. Getting mentioned by a TV news outlet surely has to get your event noticed right? Unfortunately, unless it’s a highly targeted audience for your event, getting interviewed or featured on TV won’t mean much these days. So does that mean PR isn’t worth the time and effort?

Absolutely not.

The key to making PR efforts work for you comes in the form of leverage. It’s great that you’ve gotten your event written up in a local magazine, newspaper, blog, prominent media outlet, or even featured on TV, but your journey has just begun. Here are a few tips on how to leverage PR for your events.

1. Don’t be shy with your PR. As soon as you have a piece of press to share about your event, immediately put it out on your network. That could be on social media, to an email list for your event (which you should absolutely have) or through personalized emails you send to your contacts. The last option is a must.

“As soon as you have a piece of press to share about your event, immediately put it out on your network.”

I had the pleasure of getting interviewed by The New York Times a few years ago. While the interview itself wasn’t anything spectacular and it wasn’t set to run right away, I took the opportunity to share my excitement for the interview with my network. Whether it was to potential paying customers, family members, friends, I sent hundreds of personalized emails explaining my jubilance for being interviewed by The New York Times. The article itself didn’t even exist yet, but just the fact that it was going to happen was fodder for discussion.

You don’t need an interview from The New York Times either. Chances are the majority of people you’d contact about getting PR have never gotten PR themselves. Being mentioned by a local news station or blog is enough to share and will get people excited.

2. Use quotes from PR to show credibility. Whether you’re trying to attract great speakers, grow your attendee list or land sponsors for your event, credibility goes a long way.

Have you seen a recent TV spot for a major motion picture? Throughout the entire commercial you’ll see quotes on screen that make the movie sound amazing—often before the movie is even out. What you probably don’t notice is where those incredibly complimentary quotes are coming from. Often it’s from sources you’ve never heard of or will never read. Pay attention the next time you see a trailer or teaser for a movie.

You can do the exact same thing with articles, interviews or any other PR about your event. Pick out the quotes that do the best job of making your event look great (because it is) and share those quotes on your event website, in pitch emails to sponsors or on social media. Make sure to credit the original source of the quote, but take a nod from Hollywood and make the quote the star of the show, not who said it.

“Take a nod from Hollywood and make the quote the star of the show, not who said it.”

3. Share the PR wealth. One great way to continue to get PR from sources who’ve mentioned your event is to help them find other interesting stories.

The more you can create less work for a person in the PR industry, especially if you give them a potential story that makes them look awesome, the better chance you have of them talking to you about your event or covering it multiple times.

I’ve become a go to source for a CNBC reporter, an Entrepreneur.com reporter and a local news anchor in my hometown. It’s not just because I had an interesting story for them to share; it’s because I continued to share other opportunities with them that made their jobs easier.

***

These are just three ways you can leverage PR to get more exposure from it. The key is to not sit back and wait for the “magic” to happen. Put in your own effort and double down on the opportunity. There’s no harm that can come of it.

Art credit: Clint Poy

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