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Steps to Planning a Media Event and How it Can Boost Your Business

By Brent Sampson

What is a media event and how can it help your business? The term “media event” defines many marketing and selling venues, including a book signing at a local bookstore, a seminar at a local hotel, or a luncheon at a fancy restaurant. Whether you are an author, speaker, consultant, or a business owner, media events can be used to grab attention and put your book, product, or service in front of audiences of hundreds or even thousands.

Think of that blockbuster movie or that best-selling novel or the latest tech gadget that has captured everyone’s attention. Chances are, these products or services have created their stellar reputations through the media, and they all had media events to get the publicity rolling. Movies have “world premieres,” novels have “publication parties” and gizmos or services have “unveilings” followed by “training seminars.” 

Media events and public appearances can fall into any number of categories and include any number of venues such as radio interviews, television interviews, podcasts, presentations, chat room interviews, online book tours, public forums, catered luncheons, speaking engagements, and more.

So, how can a media event help you? Well, if you’re selling a book, a media event can expose you to a large audience of potential buyers. The same holds true for your products or services. Media events are a wonderfully effective method of client/customer acquisition because it opens up a new tier of people who are still uncomfortable conducting business impersonally online.

If you’ve never thought about using media events to boost your company, product or service, think again. With some research, creativity and follow-through, you can use a media event to boost business, sales and even credibility. Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Brainstorm event ideas and investigate potential venues in your area. A good event idea matches its venue. You wouldn’t have a catered luncheon at a bookstore, for example. A good place to identify possible media event locations is through your local newspaper. Each paper usually contains a calendar of events for the week or the month. In fact, it’s a good idea to attend some of these events to see what they’re like and to scope out locations. Another place to look is your local bookstore. Most bookstores carry event calendars or maintain a list of contact people who hold that information.

Browse the calendar listings for venues to see if a promotion fits with their upcoming plans or works within their availability. Sometimes it might be necessary to tailor a planned event for a particular occasion or holiday. If there is contact information available, make a note of it so you can pitch the appropriate person about your event idea.

In addition, the Internet is another great way to find events. Use any search engine to look up local, state, national events that you can tie into your product, service or expertise.

2. Plan and schedule your event.  Decide upon the topic or theme of your event while scheduling the venue based upon availability, cost and applicability to your topic. Next, you need to invite some attendees, preferably members of the media. After all, one of the main purposes of a media event is to generate follow-up within the media by the people who attended your event. It’s that “free publicity” that can pay for your event’s cost. You may be able to kill two birds with one stone by inviting attendees and coordinating some promotion in advance (see #4).

However, it’s important to be persistent without being annoying. If, after three or four attempts with a particular media contact you are still unsuccessful, it’s time move on to another prospect or media outlet.

3. Prepare for your event thoroughly in advance. Double-check your dates, products and materials. People who attend or listen to your events are participating because the advertisement or announcement struck a chord with them, so be sure to deliver what they came to see or hear. Don't be shy about letting them know how to order your book, product or service. After all, that's the reason you're involved in the event in the first place.

4. Promote your media event aggressively. You need a positive, outgoing attitude to deal with the media. When promoting up your event, you may have to contact the media several times to get a mention in the paper or on the radio. Selling yourself and your book, product or service is a numbers game. As any salesperson will tell you, the amount of contact is directly proportional to the amount of sales.

Invite your colleagues, friends and family to your event. If it's within the scope of your marketing budget, advertise in the local paper. Smaller papers may chose to write an article about your event, particularly if they know you are an advertiser. Many papers may even promote your event for free within their "Events" or “Calendar” pages.

Whatever the venue, it is your responsibility to attract the crowd. The venue is just that – a venue. To have a truly successful media event, you want the audience there, so do what you can to promote it. Send out e-mails and invitations to your contacts. And be sure to promote it within your company, so your colleagues and employees can come out and show their support.

5. Thank the people involved once the event is complete. The vendors, stores, event organizers and volunteers will appreciate your thoughtfulness. A simple acknowledgement or heartfelt thank you sent through the mail or through email will make more of an impression than you can imagine. If you make the right kind of impression with them, it could lead to more media events in your future, and if nothing else, you get to mention your book, product, or service one last time. Repetition is important.

Media events are helpful for businesses, authors, consultants and experts. Just be creative and open-minded! There are opportunities to promote yourself, your company and your product or service everywhere.

Read other articles and learn more about Brent Sampson.

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