You’ve presented your client with an idea for an event that’s fresh, unique and sure to draw attention from media near and far. Your idea is clear, concise and establishes a tangible goal and objectives and even better, it fits within your budget! You received an enthusiastic approval and now it’s time to execute. Where do you go from here? Here are some tips to ensure you are as prepared as possible for a memorable and successful event.
Pick a date and time
Check city, county and local event calendars to ensure that the date and time you select doesn’t conflict with any other similar planned events to avoid competition or risk reduced media coverage – or even worse, no media coverage at all. Be aware of statutory and/or religious holidays, avoid school holiday time periods such as winter or spring break, and always check dates with key participants such as speakers, presenters and all VIPs.
Choose a location
No matter which location you choose for your event, make sure that you and your guests will have permission to be there. Whether that means paying rental fees and signing contracts to secure the space or venue, or simply calling ahead to request permits for using the space and receiving necessary approvals, do it. Conduct a site visit before committing to it to ensure that it fits your needs. Make sure the location is easy to find and easy to get to. The last thing you want is for people to get lost on the way to your event or even worse, to show up angry and upset. Additionally, and I can’t stress this enough – always have a contingency plan in place including a backup location in case of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
Depending on the nature of your event, you may need sound equipment (including microphones and speakers), a stage, seating, and generators if your venue doesn’t have an accessible power source… the list goes on. Make a detailed list of what you need and secure the items as far in advance as possible.
Assemble your team
Planning an event is hard work and you’ll need all the help you can get. You’ll want support the day of the event to assist with handling all of the details. Budget permitting, identify a point of contact to be in charge and at a minimum, a contact for venue management and set-up, as well as someone to be in charge of directing speakers and VIP, a parking lot assistant to help with parking and a media assistant to help guide and direct the media.
Promoting the event
In order to generate awareness and excitement about your event, you’ll need to have a theme or “hook” that will compel the media and the public to take notice and make them want to show up. Media advisories, calendar listings and social and digital media posts are great ways to attract attention and start a dialogue about your event. Make sure your branding and messaging is streamlined and brief and highlights the most important details. Begin pitching the event to the media a few days in advance so you get on their radar, and then follow up by giving them a call the morning of to inquire about attendance.
Important Event Details
Before your event, create a detailed run of show that lists the day’s activities from beginning to end and then send it to all invited guests so everyone is aware of what will happen and when. Include the location address and pertinent details such as parking information, gate codes, preferred arrival times, dress codes, time slots for speakers and anything else that guests should be aware of. Create a second, more detailed run of show for your internal team including important pre-event preparation information, set-up and tear down times, team contact information and tasks.
For the media, be prepared with media kits which contain a media advisory, a press release if you have one and any other information that highlights your event, the purpose for it and anything and everything that can help reporters create a nice package to highlight your event.
Finally, always be prepared with an event box. This can be a true “event-saver” and can come in handy when you least expect it. In a clear container with a handle, we like to include (at a minimum), tape, scissors, rope, pens, a notebook, paper clips, a stapler, a black permanent marker, colored markers, a hammer, nails, velcro ties, rubber bands and zip ties… you get the idea. Add anything you can think of that you might need and maybe even throw in a few things you think you may not. Again, you never know.
Good luck with your event and if you ever need a team of experts to help you, you know where to find us. 😉