Did someone say event season? Yes, it’s here. And the stepped-up volume of in-person professional gatherings – from large-scale conferences, to invite-only open houses, to grand openings and groundbreakings, and much more – has us reflecting on the role public relations can play in moving the needle on event ROI. Beyond hiring a great caterer, inviting all the right people and, of course, ordering up a sunny, 75-degree day, here are four reasons why PR should be part of your event checklist.
1. Build awareness to bolster attendance. It probably goes without saying that you want your target audience to show up to your professional gathering. But exactly how do you make that happen? Depending on the size and scale of an event, an essential piece of the puzzle is creating a buzz – from social media, to news releases, eblasts and more – leading up to the big day.
For example, we are working with Felician University on its inaugural Innovation kNowledge eXchange (INX22), a two-day forum in early June bringing together international and local leaders in innovation and sustainability. Press releases/media connections, social media posts and eblasts have introduced the event and provided updates on key speaker additions, sponsorship opportunities and more. Media have expressed interest in attending and, of course, post-event recaps will establish a foundation for 2023.
Smaller open-to-the-public events, such as ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings, can also benefit from getting the word out through public relations channels. And, of course, spotlighting the event with clear messaging on how to get involved or attend – including a link to the event site, QR code and hashtags – is always a must.
2. Create an experience with “stickiness.” Think about your professional gathering from the experiential point of view. The goal of an event is to create a positive and lasting impression on attendees. For example, at a grand opening or broker open house, be sure to offer tours of the property, if possible, and/or feature comprehensive renderings. For a product launch, be sure that attendees can touch or use it, as appropriate.
A venue, itself, can play an important role on the experiential side. For example, Day 1 of INX22 is being held at the American Dream in East Rutherford. After the conference – or perhaps during lunch – INX22 attendees can immerse themselves in all the iconic venue has to offer, including an indoor amusement park, restaurants and shops.
3. Refine your messaging. An event is a special opportunity for your leadership and staff to have direct contact with your target audience. Now that you have their attention, be sure to focus the messaging that you want to get across. Consider creating a key points document – or elevator pitch – to make sure everyone is on the same page.
4. Build community and business relations: This is your organization’s time to shine. When appropriate, be sure to consider inviting dignitaries, including state and local government officials and community leaders, to be a part of the celebration and perhaps say a few words, too. Also think about inviting business partners and prospects to the celebration. Attendees will appreciate the opportunity to interact not only with your company’s top leadership, but also with area notables whom they might not normally meet. Media, too, will likely pay more attention if dignitaries are in attendance.
At Caryl, we take pride in working with clients to make their events memorable. From program planning, to coordinating logistics for publicity, we help make special business milestones shine as newsworthy occasions that make a positive impression. We have worked with clients on a variety of celebrations, from groundbreakings, to grand openings and ribbon cuttings, to open houses and more.
With impeccable organizational skills and meticulous attention to detail, our experienced team can help you anticipate and meet every event need. Working within our clients’ budgets, we leverage a network of trusted vendors and suppliers to ensure a successful gathering that will impress attendees.