By Annabelle Tooby, Account Executive
Exciting, nail-biting and rewarding: three words that accurately summarise the planning and execution that went into my first-ever media event. A happy client is a happy PR and here is how it went…
With F2F events obsolete, postponed or cancelled for the best part of two years, it’s safe to say I was a little nervous to be fully responsible for securing media and analyst attendees on behalf of my client. Good nervous though, like an excitable flutter before jumping to do a skydive (I’m an adrenaline junkie so this was the best simile I could think of, perhaps it’s also like how a bride feels before she steps foot down the aisle for those less driven to the extremes).
I’ve always loved a good event. Be it a family gathering, music festival or of course work-related. So, as a budding PR media specialist, the prospect of managing the media attendees for my first client event was definitely something I was eager and excited to get cracking on.
So first up, what is my plan of action? Well, it all starts with probing the client for the interesting and ultimately headline-grabbing information that will be key in the initial outreach stages.
But for me, one of the biggest lessons I learned is the subject line is paramount. The first and one of the most important decisions is crafting a catchy, snappy and straight-to-the-point subject line to capture a journalist’s attention.
In today’s digitally-driven age – as most people are familiar with none more so than a modern journalist – inboxes are grossly overcrowded with hundreds and thousands of emails daily. To cut through the noise and make your event pitch stand out among a sea of other keen PR pitches, the subject line is key.
Navigating the post-covid variables of event planning was also a bit of a challenge, but ultimately a productive learning curve for me. In the past, the offer of free food and exclusive content would have made any journalist jump at the offer. But, with so many dispersed far and countrywide nowadays, the premise of taking a morning off work to come to London isn’t such an easy sell – even if the client and the event is bang on their beat.
While I got off to a promising start, with a few weeks to go and only half the target met, it was time for a change of tack. The pressure of the task was mounting and the fear of being ignored or turned down was starting to set in. With a refreshed pitch and a more punchy subject line, away I went again. Persistence is indeed key. I had secured the journalist my client was most keen to attend and hit the target a week before the event took place.
A 5 am start and coffee in hand I headed off to London and all the planning, preparations and pitching were soon about to materialise in a real-life media event – or that was indeed the hope! I bustled into a crowded train carriage and sent a friendly text to all the media and analysts to make sure they could reach me should any issues arise.
All that was left to do was wait for them to arrive and one by one, I greeted them in reception. I was particularly grateful I had prepared and printed off a checklist complete with headshots as this made sure I was able to recognise and greet the media by name.
So all in all, I am glad to say that not only was the first media event project a success for my client, but it also sparked a keen interest and appetite to organise and host more events in the near future.