Getting publicity for a local event is a pretty straight forward project. It’s just that the devil is in the details.
A custom targeted publicity campaign to your local media can get you coverage in the newspapers, and on radio and TV before, during and after your event if you recognize the opportunities and provide the media with just what they need at the right time.
You can conduct the campaign so that you drive people to your event and also get feature stories which talk about your event while the event is going on. Both will improve sales of tickets to your event. You can also get feature stories which describe what happened at your event and which identify to the public where they can get more information even after the event is over. This will improve sales of product or services after the event is over.
A special event news release needs to be written that describes:
• WHAT the event is all about
• WHO is doing the talking
• WHAT the key person is going to talk about or do (book signing or talk or speech or seminar…)
• WHEN (exact times)
• WHERE your events are going to be located including the address (even specific directions) of the venues
• HOW to attend with cost (if any) and the local contact information (who to call and a phone)
• WHY is it going to be interesting and important
• AND WHO is going to be most interested.
The most crucial information is:
• the exact location (street address and room)
• the exact date and time
• and the local person for the public to contact to get more information or tickets for the event.
You can create one well written news release which identifies multiple events AND offers some feature story content, substantive information or tips. This way you hit two birds with one stone. You address the needs of print media editor interests by providing descriptive and educational content. You also describe what your key person can talk about and why people will be interested in the subject so it addresses the needs of radio show, radio stations, and tv show producers and guest hosts in the selected target areas.
Now this next point is of critical importance. The real key to being successful in doing this city by city is to think hard and create a “local news angle” or a community involvement element of some sort event, and let the media know what this is in the news release.
Many authors have a book subject with broad national interest or appeal. This will get some editors thinking about an invitation or an article, but it will not get as many is when there is a distinct local news angle and a strong community involvement element highlighted in the news release.
A local news angle is one which features a local citizen, event, activity, problem, or concern, or benefit. Thus, if you send a news release to New York City the release should contain something of specific interest to people in New York City.
The secret to being successful here is to identify key local people, people, people for the media to interview and write about.
You add in the community involvement element by think up ways to interest or help a larger number of people in a specific group, organization, or needy sector of society. You can enhance the public interest this way, get more people to come because of the networking that can occur within a group of people who are interested in a topic.
This can be one of the most difficult ideas to implement effectively. It often takes some real creativity if you don’t know anyone who can act as a local focal point or subject of interest for a community involvement activity.
So brainstorm and do some research. Use the Internet, and phone book to identify a local participant who would like to share some publicity with you. Then call someone, or a company or organization to ask if they would participate somehow meaningfully. Often times it’s a simple as a club, a church group, a school, a teacher’s class, a PTA group, a women’s shelter, or a non-profit group of some type.
You can call ahead and make the arrangements, get the quote, the local case study, or problem analysis. Get a local to review the book, say how they used it in solving a problem, or helping someone, or just how they enjoyed it. Send it to the mayor, or to a Principal, or president of a volunteer organization, or charity or self help group. Do what you need to but come up with a hard local news angle. Add this element in to the formula and tie it in to the bookstore event.
You use the local news angle in each “local” news release. Once you come up with a formula, you duplicate it city by city.
Newspaper editors in particular really love when you do this for them because it fits in with what they prefer to publish more than anything else they do.
The media response rate for news releases with a local community involvement news angle is the highest of any type of news release. You get more interviews and more publications.
Once you have your news release written you need to acquire access to a custom targeted media list.
This is a current listing of people with street mail, phone numbers and email addresses that identifies and contains just the right media for you and your event. This should include a carefully developed list of the right calendar editors, news, lifestyle and feature editors, and subject matter editors at:
• daily newspapers
• weekly newspapers,
• magazines and appropriate trade publications
• radio stations
• radio shows
• television stations
• television shows
• news services & news syndicates
• and Internet media.
Depending on your event, this listing can be a small list of media within a downtown area, or it can cover your zip code, or a geographic area within ten miles or a half hour or more driving time. The circumference of the area you target and specifics of the list of media you create will be based on who you need to reach with your message to connect meaningfully with the people you need to ultimately reach.
You can also conduct Internet search, email and phone campaigns to identify places locally so you can then send your news release and personal invitations to:
• Support Groups
And other potentially relevant groups of local people.
You can also use social networks about your event and ask them to tell all their friends.
Finally, you need to remain acutely aware of media lead time. Your publicity campaign for an event needs to be initiated two to three weeks before your event. You need to transmit by street mail, and email and make phone calls to media so that you confirm that the right media receive and acknowledge that they have the information.
You should have media kits prepared in advance so that media you can respond quickly and effectively to media who make a request for information. Your goal is to give them the additional information they need to do a feature story quickly and easily. So your media kit should have everything they need including things like photographs, questions and answers, bios on key people, and specifications of products.
Steps to conducting an Event Publicity Campaign
1. Lay out your event schedule get prepared to send out news releases three to six weeks before your event.
2. Prepare your news releases.
3. Create and acquire your custom targeted media list.
4. Send out your first news release three to even as many as six weeks before the event.
5. Follow up by phone with the most important media on your list at each event location. Invite the media to come to the event, or interview the key people before, during, or even after the event. Invite feature editors to come to the event. Offer tailored articles, interviews, and site visits if your schedule allows.
6. Send out a second news release seven to ten days before the event, and follow up once again, to get and confirm media attendance or interviews.
7. Conduct the event and do the interviews. Treat the media in attendance very special. If they came in response to your release, thank them and make it worth their while. Give them review copies and media kits if you haven’t already done so. Be quick to take advantage of an opportunity to get more publicity, or better media coverage.
8. Send out a final news release on or immediately after the event to leverage the event . The event itself is news. This release should be a short article which summarizes the high points of the event and provides book, ordering and contact information. Make it easy for the media to do a feature story about the event just as if they were there reporting the event.
9. Call to say thank you to media contacts for the coverage and to request tear sheets. Offer additional information, articles, or interviews by phone as appropriate.
You need to try as hard as you can to create a socially relevant event – a cultural experience that generates word of mouth. Make sure that you seek a balance where you position your author as an expert or a helpful champion of the locals, a facilitator of change. Educate, entertain, inform, and motivate the people in the audience at the event. Give the media photo opportunities to visually capture local people experiencing real emotion. One great picture of a child or a person exhibiting a dramatic and personal feeling will galvanize the reading public to action and result in more sales.