5 Things You Need to Know About Planning a Media EventBy Heather Thompson

As a young communications professional, you learn many things about the job you just aren’t taught at a university.

Especially if, like I did, you graduated with an English degree.

But, if you work with people who are willing to teach you, and you have a firm grasp on the concept of the Internet search, you pick it up pretty quick.

Plus, you learn which tasks are your favorites.

Plan a Media Event

I found that planning a media event is one of my absolute favorite things to do.

I’ve done many of them for all different types of clients and occasions, and no two are exactly alike, which makes planning a media event that much more fun!

Here are five things you need to know about planning a media event.

1. Do Your Research

Organizing a media event on any scale requires knowledge of your client, journalists, and the area where the event is being held.

If you are putting together an event in another state, Google is your best friend.

Thanks to customer reviews, I always find a great place to eat, stay, and organize with very few issues.

2. Keep Notes on Everything

Having notes is in your best interest. When event day comes and you need to remember what time the caterer is supposed to be there or what time AV shows up, having notes means you won’t need to second guess yourself.

Notes are also helpful for knowing who is supposed to show up and when, such as journalists, celebrities, and their handlers.

3. Send Invites Early

Be smart about when you send invites, but earlier is usually best.

Plan on sending the invitations out two to two and a half weeks before the event, and include at least two follow-ups either by email or phone.

Getting on someone’s calendar early is never a bad thing.

4. Expect the Unexpected

If you are expecting the media event to go exactly as you planned without any hiccups of any kind, you’re delusional.

The best way to be prepared is imagine everything that could go wrong.

You know, Murphy’s Law.

Because it is guaranteed that one of the following will happen:

  • The food will be late;
  • The reporters won’t be there on time;
  • No one can find the building;
  • The AV group forgot something;
  • Your jump drive doesn’t have anything on it;
  • You find a typo in your handouts;
  • You never got clearance for the news trucks to park in front of the building; or
  • The client decided to change the entire format of the media event at the last possible moment.

Needless to say, be prepared to handle all of these scenarios, and any others, with confidence and common sense.

5. Have Fun

The great thing about media events is you have the opportunity to participate.

Not only are you organizing a meet-and-greet for sports figures, CEOs, or celebrities, but you also get to partake.

Once the festivities have started, take a moment and revel in what you have accomplished. There is no better feeling than that.

Enjoy the Media Event

There are a lot of different ways to plan a media event, but following a few planning guidelines can help keep everything on course.

If you make mistakes, use those as tools to learn for next time rather than get discouraged.

What may seem like a big deal to you is really a small ripple that no one else even noticed.

P.S. Just a reminder that there will be no blog posts Thursday or Friday.

Heather Thompson

Heather Thompson is a communications specialist at Siemens Industry, Inc., specializing in external and internal communications as well as social media. She can mostly be found sitting comfortably at her desk staring down two computer screens, two smartphones, and a tablet.

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