Media events are a crucial part of the work we do at Mutant for clients both big and small. From intimate food tastings to large festivals, we’ve done them all. Much more than just a boozy knees-up, a well executed media event has the ability to build the hype and momentum needed to give a campaign gravitas.
Once the event has been decided on, the venue booked, budget confirmed and itinerary planned, all you now need to do is get the right people attending. It’s harder than you might think when you consider that your event is just one in an ocean of other media engagements.
Here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts to ensure that no seats go empty:
DO – Think about who makes the list.
It’s not just about going for numbers. You need to ensure that your ultimate campaign objective is front and centre of everything you do, and that starts with knowing who you want to attend.
You should always have clear objectives. What is your event trying to achieve? Media coverage? Lead generation? Having a clear objective helps decide the kind of target numbers you should aim for. Decide all of this before you pick up the phone.
Small-scale intimate events like food or drink-tastings mean you have to be super selective about who you invite, otherwise you risk compromising the quality of the event. For a small intimate event you want ideally no more than 10-15 people. This allows you and/or your client to spend quality time with each of them. If lead generation is your aim then you want media to come in droves and don’t need to be too picky. 30 or more would be ideal for this although bear in mind that the size of an event space makes a big impact on how busy an event feels.
DON’T – Ignore the plus ones
This can seem counterproductive and a waste of budget but members of the media are actually just like you, with social lives, and friends. Torn between a work event and dinner with a friend – many would choose the latter.
If bringing a partner or friend sways their decision, then think about how important their attendance really is. If the cost of an extra ticket means that an influential journalist comes along and writes a full page feature, then it is money well spent in the long run.
Talk to the journalist, see if they have an angle in mind and help them find one if they dont. If you can bring them to the point where a story angle is already well formed in their head, then you can be more confident in justifying the extra expense of a plus one to your client.
In the end, use your discretion. Is the potential coverage worth an extra seat? If so then do it.
DON’T – Be afraid of hand-holding
It’s simple – make it very easy for the media to come along. This can range from sending comprehensive written (or even video) directions to find the event space, to organising their own private parking space (I actually have had to do this before). Think long-term, you want this to foster a lasting relationship with the media. Try to delight them as much as the client and they will trust you as a source of a good story, and come back again.
DO – Think Willy Wonka.
A bit of mystery and intrigue goes a long way.
Spill the beans from the start and the media little incentive to come along. The event needs to provide some exclusive value to them whether it be an interview opportunity, an announcement or an experience so always explain the value that this event will provide them. This is why we generally avoid providing the menu for a food-tasting beforehand, so that the media arrive curious. It’s good to find a balance between telling them the information they need to know, but still keeping a bit of the mystery alive.
Need help with media invites? Drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org