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How to Plan a Successful Event — Part II

[1]By Renee Sylvestre-Williams

The buzz for your event is strong and journalists and VIP guests are sending their RSVPs. How do you maximize your momentum?

In the previous article on event planning [2] published on January 21, we looked at the preparation necessary before an event. Now we’re going to look at how to make your event successful and follow up with media after the event.

Kei Baritugo, founder of BoldLove Communications says there are many ways to make an event successful. As she said in the previous article, figure out the overall event goal and objectives and identify your target audience.

Once that’s done, at the event, Baritugo recommends the following:

Have a guest list but be flexible. If an important person shows up at your event and they’re not on the guest list, let them in. “Instruct your staff to be friendly and cordial, especially if it’s a VIP party. Always be polite and when possible, accommodating–even toward people who may not officially be on your guest list. Remember: kindness is free,” says Baritugo.

Set up a photowall or visually interesting area(s) for media and guests. Have press kits and one-sheets handy to address basic questions on name spellings, facts, and other pertinent information.

Grant journalists access to your key spokesperson(s) for interviews. As a backup, set-up a designated quiet space for interviews in case the event area is too loud or noisy.

Make sure attending photographers and videographers have a great vantage point if there are speeches or special presentations or performances. Great visual documentation is important for coverage so give them the space and access they need to take good shots.

Have official photos with suggested captions available the following day by hiring your own event photographer to capture the highlights of the evening.

After the event, Baritugo likes to send thank you notes. “It is very important to thank people for their time,” she says. This includes media and personnel working the event.

After a few days, she follows up with media to inquire when she can expect their coverage to be published or aired. If some journalists who attended the event are unable to give your event the spotlight it needs, be understanding and remain cordial. It’s not personal.

“PR is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. You don’t know what long-term impact this event has on your future endeavours and relationship with media. They may have not covered your event this time but maybe next time they will. In the end, it’s important to base your success on whether the overall event goal and objectives have been met and your guests had a great time,” says Baritugo.


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