Whether you’re planning a grand opening event, an intimate press dinner or an exclusive VIP party, the preparations and reporting are fairly consistent. Depending on the scale and purpose of your event, however, showcasing the results may vary depending on goals and expectations.
When planning a successful event, determine the client’s expectations and goals upfront, then move on to the logistics and flow of the party.
Set Goals + Client Expectations
To start, it’s imperative that you set up a working session with your client to determine the goals of the event, their expectations on what success looks like, and the overall structure of the event. Consider these questions when preparing your event strategy:
- What are the goals of the event? An obvious question, but a great starting point.
- E.g., is the goal to foster new connections by treating press to a nice night out? Meet a specific attendee quota? Widespread media coverage following the event?
- What is the structure of the event? Casual or more formal?
- Who are the key players? Identify spokespeople if applicable.
- Who is the target audience? Influencers, media, everyday consumers?
Also determine how you’ll measure results to gauge success. For example, if you’re hosting a press-only event like an intimate media dinner, you’ll likely measure your results based on the number of attendees. If you’re hosting a grand opening event or press conference, though, you’ll likely need to report the amount of stories or social posts that came from the event and those posts’ reach in addition to the number of attendees.
Once everyone agrees and plans begin to solidify, it’s time to create an event strategy or “run-of-show,” which your client should also agree to before any execution.
Devise the Strategy
Event strategies typically come in the form of run-of-show documents, which outline the determined goals – from a high level down to specific KPIs – timelines, involved parties and their respective duties, a sample of target media and/or influencers, the working RSVP list, staffing and housekeeping items like AV equipment, food and beverage, talking points for speakers, and more.
It won’t be a short document.
Execute the Plan
Once the strategy and run-of-show document is complete, it’s now time for event outreach. Invitations may come in the form of an eye-catching graphic, an EventBrite link or a general “RSVP to” email contact. If your client has a capacity limit, begin working in batches, targeting the “must have” contacts first, and moving on to others after initial invites are delivered. It’s important to keep your client in the loop on RSVP status and interest. We also recommend that event outreach begin at least one month prior to the event.
Prepare for the Event + Provide On-site Support
After the RSVPs have been collected and tracked, it’s helpful for all involved parties to receive a media briefing sheet outlining all attendees – whether influencers or journalists – to provide context on the attendee in order to prepare efficiently. This is an important document for both the client and the PR team.
Then, depending on the client and event location, on-site support is usually warranted. This ensures the PR team remains in the loop of all event happenings, can note attendees as they arrive and coordinate press interviews if applicable.
As you enjoy the event and relish in the conclusion of successful preparations and execution, it’s time to measure the success.
Measure + Report Success
Creating an event-specific media tracker is beneficial to clearly measure results: who attended, how many stories or social media posts they published, and so on. Once all event attendees and their respective posts have been accounted for, it’s also helpful to create a one-page document that clearly and concisely provides a high-level look into the event and the corresponding results.
Consider including the following metrics when reporting your results:
- Number of attendees
- Amount of social media posts and/or press coverage
- Impressions that these influencers or journalists’ content generates
- Notable call-outs like top-tier coverage and VIP guests
Events can require a lot of detail-oriented prep work, but it’s all worth it when it comes together into a successful event, no matter how you’re measuring it.
Do you have an event coming up and need to spread the word or invite influencers? Get in touch to see how Dittoe PR can support your efforts.