When you think of the field of public relations, many think of writing press releases, managing social media accounts, or managing an image of a brand. While all of those things are basic elements of the field, one aspect of public relations that may not seem so obvious is the element of event coordination (a form of community outreach). Creating experiences for your client that generate buzz is a fun and creative way to get the community involved with your client, their brand, and their message.
To pull off a stellar event, such as a concert or branded ceremony, it takes hours of work, organization and communication. However, with the right tools and a little direction, you can organize a kick butt, buzz generating event for your clients!
First and foremost is identifying the purpose for any event you plan on organizing. What is the end goal for this event? Is it to promote philanthropy, drive traffic, or create brand awareness? Whatever the reason, be sure it is identified and measurable before you proceed into the next phase of event coordination.
Be creative! People love experiences and if you can create one that stands out and forms lasting memories they will talk about later, your event will be that much more worthwhile. Be creative in your event brainstorming sessions. In this stage no idea is a bad idea and originality is key. Planning an event that has never been done before is great, but even if you plan a tried and true event, be sure to put your client’s unique spin on it! Be sure to show your creative side in the advertising material and overall event design. It’s a great opportunity to exercise those creative muscles!
Take initiative on everything. To ensure your event goes as seamlessly as possible, it is important that as the event planner you consistently stay one step ahead of your vendors, your client, your venue, as well as everything else. Ask yourself questions you may have for any third parties, as well as questions or needs they may have for you. Be proactive and take care of these needs early to avoid any unforeseen issues that could have been prevented. If you have a vision or examples of what you are looking for readily available, be sure to provide these to your vendors as soon as you can. The earlier you and your vendors have a mutual understanding of what the execution will look like, the smoother and more true to vision you can expect your event to be.
Once the blueprint is complete and your vendors and venue are in place, traditional public relations practices come back into play. Spread the word. Invite key members of your client’s target audience that will be eager to spread the word for you. Post event details to social media will also help spread awareness. Don’t forget to include community influencers, reporters, and individuals with a following tied to your event’s goal. They are key to spreading the word to increase event attendance and keep the buzz going post-event as well!
Once the day of the event arrives, become comfortable with thinking on your feet. Even the best, most thoroughly planned events don’t always run as smoothly as you may hope. Sometimes hiccups will happen and as the event coordinator, you have to be prepared to turn these small mishaps into small victories. Do you have a plan in the case of a malfunctioning speaker? A stubborn mic that refuses work? A guest of honor that is running a bit late? These things will happen and accept that it is okay when it does. Come prepared with your superhero suit and trust you are there to be the hero of your own event and save the day (Okay, so you don’t really need the suit, but I like to think it’s more fun :)).
Take pictures and video to document your event to post to social media. If it is relevant, broadcast a Facebook Live of cool, unique or important aspects of your event. Be to sure to ask your client if they have a shot list of images they absolutely want to capture that they may use for media, social posting or a variety of other reasons.
Lastly, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Event coordination is not always easy, but you should enjoy your event! Take a deep breath and immerse yourself in your event. Take the lessons from each event you plan and implement them into the next one. Happy event planning, everyone!