Do you have a stellar event planned and want all the media coverage possible? Of course, you do… so read on! Whether it's on TV or in print, positive news about your event can impress clients, build brand awareness, and help share your company’s story with the world.
So how do you get a reporter to show up to your event? Well, it depends on how you ask them!
In addition to spelling the reporter’s name correctly on the invitation (super important), be clear from the get-go about the nature of your event otherwise it may not get the attention it deserves – especially at a bigger news organization where journalists receive dozens of press invites a week.
After you’ve ensured your media list is up-to-date with local TV and radio stations, newspapers, and notable bloggers (and you’ve connected with them on Twitter as well), it’s time to put your fingers to the keyboard and draft the invitation! Below you’ll find our seven best tips guaranteed to get a reporter or two to your event.
Get to the point already
Don’t wait until the last line of your invite to spell out the exclusivity, unusual and cool factor of your event. Are you DOING WHAT??? Say that in the first sentence.
Keep it short and sweet
The five-Ws approach is very helpful for reporters. Make sure your invite includes a brief explanation of what the event is for, where it’s located, why the reporter should attend and so on. Mid-mornings and early afternoons are generally when most reporters are available. If your event is on the same day as another local event, arrange to host yours either before or after.
When it comes to securing an RSVP to your event, relevancy is key. The truth is most journalists won’t attend your event if it has little to do with their audience. Is your event doesn’t tie in with a hot news topic, try connecting it with an anniversary, holiday, or another occasion reporters will want to cover.
Principles of design
Never include your images as an attachment in an email invite. Just don’t. Instead, place them in the body of the email – for wow factor and to make it easier for reporters to immediately see what your event is all about. It also helps if your invite has text that can easily be copy-and-pasted and, for reporters on the go, an attractive and responsive single-page invite that loads quickly on their smartphone will get you serious bonus points.
Save the date
A particularly useful feature to include in your in your invitation is the “add to calendar” button. Just make sure to name your event accordingly and provide all the appropriate details (like directions) in the notes section. Another good option is to send guests to an event site with the click of an RSVP button or allow them to respond directly to you.
Drop by whenever
Would you rather be asked to show up at an event sometime after 5 pm or told to be there at 5:30 sharp? A relaxed start time automatically just seems more inviting, low maintenance, and maybe even fun. Tell guests to “drop by whenever” and watch your RSVP rates soar.
Allow plus ones
Nobody likes going to a party alone, not even reporters. Try the “plus one” rule for all free events and then watch how fast the RSVPs roll in.
Following your event, be sure to send high-quality photos, any video footage, and a short write-up all to reporters who came out. It’s also a good idea to post photos and video to Instagram (don’t forget to tag journalists who were there), and consider posting a summary of the event on your company’s Facebook page. A follow-up a press release with four-five short paragraphs including quotes is also golden.