I probably shouldn’t start a post like that lol but if I acted like I was excited about this subject I would be lying through my teeth and I don’t do that.
I truthfully cannot stand hosting press events.
Not because I don’t like seeing media face-to-face (I actually LOVE that part about my job) but I hate the variables that come with pulling off an awesome event. Inevitably, a lot of shit goes wrong. All the time. I have some horror stories that I’ll spare you, just take my word for it.
But that being said, I do know what it takes to pull off a sick press event…having helped with a few in my time. There are a few different approaches you can take based on the outcome you’re trying to achieve.
So why go through the effort of doing a press event and spending money on it? Well, it’s the easiest way to introduce your new product/brand to the market in a larger and more personal scale than just sending an email that most people will probably just ignore.
Sucks but it’s the truth.
Exhibit A: Newness.
Media LOVES new products. Especially when they can see it before the rest of the world. Who wouldn’t like an exclusive first look, right?!
Exhibit B: Repackaging.
Let’s say that your good/service has recently undergone a makeover. To the point where the old version of whatever it is, isn’t even recognizable anymore. Then you should re-introduce it to media as an FYI that the old shit is out.
Exhibit C: Launching a brand for a first time.
Wooooo!!! So exciting!!!!! Do a splashy event that let’s everyone know you’ve ARRIVED, baby!
But let’s dive into one of the above situations more in-depth.
Let’s talk about a new product launch because those are the most frequent reasons that you might throw a press event.
Let’s say you work for a makeup company (lol) and you’re releasing waterproof mascara. A fun press event idea could be inviting YouTube content creators to a private group Soul Cycle class at a hot new studio (ideally that hasn’t been opened to the public yet.)
The content creators would get the mascara applied right when they walk in the studio before class. They hit the class, sweat it up, and put the mascara to a sweat test. After class, offer refreshments and light food as well as complimentary blowouts/ makeup applications to refresh their look. Goodie bag could be a new workout duffle bag or water bottle with the mascara inside.
That’s a SUPER SIMPLE and straightforward example but out-of-the-box thinking usually pays off in terms of organic coverage. The more weird/creative the event…the more memorable it’ll be! The bottom line is that you want to come up with a way to entertain/ feed people in a way that is both clever but reinforces key product messaging.
No use blowing a TON of money on an event just to have your favorite magazine editor walk away scratching her head, unclear as to why she just went indoor skydiving for a brand’s product that had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with heights, flying, air, or anything remotely close to making sense.
Once you nail the concept, it’s all about the art of the follow up:
- Create a cute save the date JPEG, embed it into an email and blast it out to the [appropriate] media audience you want to invite
- Remember, a save the date doesn’t have to have the venue location or exact timing information. It’s literally a SAVE THE DATE.
- Target to get it out of your inbox at least 2 months ahead of the event
- Create a cute invitation JPEG, embed it into an email and follow up with everyone you sent the STD to
- The invite should have the venue location, timing details, and the hashtag that media should use to cover the event
- Target to get it out of your inbox at least a month ahead of the event
- Offer car service to select editors, content creators, social media influencers that are most important to the brand if you can afford it
Other than that? Think about the details. How many places can you integrate your branding without being cheesy?
Venue have a couch that’s super ugly? Add branded pillows
Venue have a big blank wall? Rent a gobo projector
Serving food? It should always be passed (not stationary) and always use branded cocktail napkins
Using flowers? Figure out a way to incorporate branding.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of money to get your point across. Even if you’re small-scaling it and organizing a press event surrounding the launch of your new small business/ brand… cupcakes with a little toothpick stuck in it that have your logo attached to it like a little flag are NOT expensive but can look super cute!
Just remember…people like to eat, drink, and listen to good music, but we all know they really come for the goodie bag. Give them the product you’re featuring along with a small gift that ties back to the event. It’ll be the easiest way to guarantee that they’ll try it and SHARE!
Those are the basics!
Hit me in the comments section if you have any more specific questions!