Continuing a Behind The Scenes look at our Forest Home Media Launch Party project, after developing a launch event objective and plan, partner Dana Tucker and I decided ,in addition to networking with key community leaders, we also wanted to invite targeted media for possible event coverage. We have a solid network of area writers who were invited to simply enjoy the party but there is also a talented group of writers/photographers who cover events throughout the community we wanted to engage.
One of the services of Forest Home Media is media relations and coordination. In order to secure this party coverage, a photographer’s request was made as far in advance of the event as possible. I prefer to give this busy group as much notice as possible from two months to six weeks in advance. This gives you the opportunity to get on the reporter’s calendar for coverage consideration and then follow up two weeks, one week and 48 hours prior to the event depending upon the email interaction with the reporter. Here is an example of our photographer’s request.
Many media outlets are very specific about the kinds of coverage available based on whether or not the event is a benefit, business event or takes place in a certain geographical location. You have to know how these media outlets cover events and then respectfully request coverage with this knowledge.
In addition, because there is sadly a diminishing amount of reporters available, it is acceptable to make photos available to outlets who are able to cover the event. You need to know in advance the requirements for their submissions. For example, the Green Hills News publication is very specific in the groupings of people in photos as well as requesting names left to right in order of appearance. We did not request coverage from them on this particular event because it takes place outside the coverage area and neither of the key players reside in Green Hills.
Event reporters will take into consideration coverage outside of their geographical area if you make it clear that people from their coverage area are involved. For example, the Tennessean‘s Williamson County reporter will consider covering a non-Williamson County location if there will be a large amount of Williamson County people in key roles for the project and it impacts the community.
At the end of the day, it is important to give enough notice, respectfully request coverage and provide someone onsite during the event. This person should seek out those with cameras to help them group folks for photos and provide written information on the event. And, don’t forget to engage bloggers and Facebook reporters. We define these reporters as community influence leaders who love to attend events and then post and share pictures.
Here are Forest Home Media’s top five tips for earning event coverage:
1. Request party coverage 4 to 8 weeks in advance.
2. Be sure in your request to put the event day contact person’s cell phone number as well as the exact address with the zip code for Google directions. Make sure the event contact person has their mobile phone on!
3. Send reminders the week prior and 48 hours in advance of the event. Follow up is key. Make a phone call only if you have not heard from the reporter. You don’t won’t to be a bother; however, email is not infallible.
4. Have a person onsite to help photographers covering the event. Be sure you take plenty of photos in groups of two and four.
5. Act as a reporter for your own party coverage. Request the spellings of names in left to right order and the city in which they live. After the event is over, you can offer photos to any photographer unable to make an event. Do NOT submit the same exact photos to the more than one media outlet. And, don’t forget to post on Facebook potentially driving new people to your page.
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