If you’ve been following the Press Previews blog religiously (I mean, why wouldn’t you?), you’ve probably gathered that there is an art to capturing media’s attention regardless of the medium. We’ve discussed how to build the right list in the first place, foster long-lasting relationships with your contacts, wow them with your mailer and more. So, it should come as no surprise that inviting press to your brand or client’s event takes an equally thoughtful approach.
Here are our top tips to ensure your event RSVPs are chock-full of quality, engaged press:
Have A Hook
The need for a hook is two-fold. For starters, you need to grab journalists’ attention with the first thing they see: your subject line. The subject should be quick, catchy and to the point, all while putting any important information front and center, like the date and occasion for the event. The next layer of your hook is the main reason press should feel compelled to take time out of their busy schedules and schlep to your event in the first place. Is there some kind of exclusive preview, product sample or spokesperson they’ll have access to? Some out-of-the-box activity or industry expert interaction they can’t experience anywhere else? Don’t be shy, and let the media know you’ve got something exclusive!
Make It Personal
Another common media relations thread: customization is the cornerstone of any solid media relationship. Once you’ve ensured all your fun, flashy and functional information has been packed into your invite email, start at the top and find places you can weave in personal details from your past conversations with them to trigger their memory. There are likely parts of your email that can also be more carefully nuanced to mold to their beat or a certain story angle you’re aware of. Anything you can do to strengthen the relationship while also giving them a specific reason it would behoove them to make it to your event will help your chances of securing that coveted RSVP from your media contact.
Include a Visual
Now that you have a succinct and strategic email with the perfect personal touch, it’s time to add some polish with a well-designed JPEG visual. This is another opportunity to add an impetus for media to attend. For example, if your event is part of a recurring series, you could include photos from past events to give them a sense of the kind of look, feel and atmosphere they can expect. Overall, a compelling and creative visual creates more excitement and gives media a more 360 sense of the vibe of the event (i.e. is it casual or formal? Is it a sit-down or a swing-by situation?)
Do Your Homework
Even the most knockout media invite is all for naught without a well-researched media list. When planning an event, we understand there are 1,001 items on your to-do list, and sometimes taking the time to carefully select your attendees falls by the wayside and publicists take the dreaded “spray and pray” approach to garner higher numbers. Setting aside time to ensure every single person on your media invite list is relevant and will move the needle for your brand will create efficiencies later for you when pitching, not to mention ensures every piece of coverage that results from your media attendance is of value.
Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!
No matter how catchy your subject line or how exciting and exclusive the event, the simple fact is that a lot of media don’t see emails the first time around amidst the thousands of others they receive day in and day out. Don’t assume they’re ignoring you – wait a day or two, depending on your timeline, and check back in. Anywhere you can offer a new nugget of information or create a sense of urgency, will only help you to entice your top media to make your event a successful one!