You’ve just finished your event organization and you’re about to find out what you fear the most: how many invitees will actually attend?
It’s a very common concern. Imagine that you have planned a creative concept, tasteful animations and exquisite catering for an innovative product launch. If at the end, you find yourself toasting with ten people present (colleagues included!), I’m not sure your boss or client would come to shake your hand.
That’s the reason why you should dive into this article. I have thoroughly described top winning steps that will undoubtedly maximize your PR event attendance. Get in!
1. Give regularly an added value to your PR network
PR works like any type of relationship: it gets stronger over time, but you have to invest in it. Start by connecting with each person in your target network during a one to one casual meeting. Do some research about them, prior to just requesting a meeting and ending up talking only about yourself. You have to have a reason to meet, an authentic one: “What is it for me? What is it for them?” Your targeted network includes inevitably medias and bloggers, who are tired of getting solicited only to attend events, or feature a press release. Don’t be afraid to be genuine, make people at ease with you, and keep in touch throughout the year by giving them real added value and showing your appreciation.
Winning steps: meet with your PR network individually, share what it is about them that interests you, what it is about their work that you admire. Depending on your expertise, propose a service on complimentary basis in case they might need it: a free article, occasional copywriting, a professional input or a free workshop. Introduce them to a potential client or interesting connection later on. Share with them sometimes an article that you found resourceful. Greet them on birthdays, or send a personalized end of year card with positive thoughts.2. Build a PR database centered on your contacts’ interests
Usually, PR databases look all the same: name, email, phone number, business field, and profession. How about adding a column highlighting your connections’ hobbies and interests? Because unfortunately, we don’t all end up working where our heart is: lack of opportunities, small market, lack of funding, parents’ pressure to do “the right thing” and chose security over passion. The reasons are endless. Give your PR contacts the chance to be part of an event where they will be connecting with their passion, and they will only thank you for being thoughtful. And different.
Winning steps: during your first individual meeting with your PR network, ask them about their hobbies. Draw later on your database including a column named “interests”: it might be reading, horse riding, painting, cooking, etc. You can invite concerned PR contacts for a book-signing event, mixing cultural columnists with people passionate about reading – but who won’t write about it. You’re just inviting them because you actually care about what they love! Wouldn’t it feel nice to just please for a change?3. Send personalized invitations
What happens when you receive an invitation by mail, with just an ecard? I personally tend to delete it. With the numerous amount of emails per day, your PR contacts often don’t have time to spend on third-parties who didn’t actually took it for them! You might say that it consumes so much more time than just sending emails in bulk, but you will get so much more in return. Isn’t it always the case in everything we do?
Winning steps: write a short note in the email, addressing your contact with content that will trigger their interest. Answer the questions: “Why did you think of them? Why should they attend? Is there an exclusive angle story you can provide them? Is there a potential client they could meet there? Etc.” Insert the ecard after your tailored message (don’t attach it!), and send!4. Use callbacks to back up your invitation with a special treat
If you can make time to call your invitees yourself, it would be marvelous! But let’s be realistic, it’s not always this easy to do. You might want to select the contacts whom you are most connected to, and delegate the others to a team member. If your invitees are still uncertain about being able to make it after you sent the personalized invitation, have a last but effective reason left for them. It should constitute the last push, not a major reason since you should have included that one already in the email.
Winning steps: brief your team member or professional hostess about each contact, to make the phone call meaningful. The last push could be either a dinner organized for a small group with the owner, or a registration for an engaging seminar the brand is organizing with limited seats number, or for roundtables around a topic that will give added value to a specific segment of your PR network.
I have shared with you some of the top winning steps that will maximize your PR event attendance. Hold on to your speech, so your initiative will be up to your promises and attendees’ expectations. That’s when good word-of-mouth will work for your future events’ attendance too.
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