The ‘P’ in PR
The ‘P’ in PR should stand for people. Meeting journalists face-to-face in PR is the bread and butter of any media relationship, and is essential to let them blossom into creative collaborations and (ideally) coverage.
Post-pandemic, the concept of pre-pandemic PR, regularly involving meeting journalists for drinks and socials, has been a tough terrain to navigate. With constant changes on national restrictions or personal preferences in limiting socialising, gathering a crowd has never been more difficult.
Time is of the essence
To ensure any PR event is a success, using the lead-up time wisely is critical. Once a date has been set, hopefully far in advance to let journalists place it in their busy calendars, it should be a constant ‘go-go-go’ in inviting all your favourite press pals. As a general rule of thumb, in any given press-related event, there will be at least a 50% drop-out rate. This means the initial invite list should always be extremely extensive- more than you would think- and should be consistently evolving and changing with added contacts. These events aren’t just for you to focus on your closest contacts, but to ensure a good turnout, anyone you pick up the phone to, or email throughout the week should be a target.
One of the key takeaways in gathering a crowd for a PR event is to enjoy the process. Most will always find that when going to pick up the phone to call someone during day-to-day work, having the hook of an upcoming event always adds more momentum to anything being pitched. After being locked down for two years, especially in a media-related job, most will be desperate to get back to normality. Grabbing drinks (especially free ones) in an exciting location accompanied by a fun form of entertainment after a hard day on the grind should entice many.
Once the initial interest is there, it’s all about follow-ups. Journalists are extremely busy people, and will have plenty of other PR event invites going on. To make your event stand out, persistence and whipping out the creme-de-la-creme pitching skills of ‘why your event is better’ is vital. High energy is a must in any event pitching process- if the voice on the other end of the line is excited, this will translate on the other side.
As mentioned at the beginning, the ‘P’ in PR should stand for People. To gather a crowd, one must put those people skills on full throttle. Showing genuine enthusiasm for an event, persisting, and casting a wide net of targets will get you and your team a turnout to be admired.