Public relations plan
As mentioned in the marketing module, the development of an effective marketing and communications plan is essential for the delivery of a successful event and a media/PR plan should be a significant and integrated part of that marketing and communications plan.
Once an event has been secured, the development of a media plan is a priority. Gain whatever assistance you can from the international federation or governing body, national organisation and media managers at previous or similar events.
A media plan should outline the steps necessary to ensure that editorial coverage in targeted external media, as well as the event’s own channels (email newsletter, website, Facebook, Twitter etc) is maximised for the benefit of the event and its stakeholders.
A media plan should include:
- Analysis of target audiences and corresponding media channels
- Identification of target media products and agencies
- Identification of potential media partners
- Analysis of intended media activities by different marketing phases (e.g. build-up to the event, live (during the event) and post-event phases)
- Comprehensive list of proposed media activities and associated timeline (television, radio, newspaper, magazine, website and social media)
- Schedule of key events which will provide useful media opportunities (launch announcement, key participant arrivals, official welcome, opening ceremony or dinner etc)
- Proposed media release schedule and editorial outline (including detailing any media release sign-off processes)
- Details of any photos and video of the event for promotional use such as on the event website and in press releases.
- Media Plan - OptiWorlds New Zealand 2011 [178 KB PDF]
- Marketing and Communications Plan - Fast5 Netball World Series [1.6 MB PDF]
It is recommended that at least one designated and mandated media spokesperson is appointed who can concentrate on engaging and building rapport with the media. Choose a person who has an in-depth knowledge of the event and ability to articulate concepts clearly in an enthusiastic manner. The spokesperson should be provided with media training as they will be the face and voice of the event. It is important that the designated media spokesperson is approachable and easily contactable as media work to unique timeframes and often need quick access to information and official comment.
Event organisers should consider appointing media sponsors/partners, focusing on targeted local or national newspapers or other publications, radio stations and TV. The opportunities to gain extra and/or free coverage can be critical in creating excitement and awareness in the days or weeks leading into the event.
Often media partnership agreements can include promotional opportunities such as:
- ticket competitions
- money-can’t-buy experiences
- advertising space
- promotional slots/vignettes
- live crosses and live broadcasting from the event
- special interest stories and feature pieces on athletes or individuals involved in the event.
It is essential to keep a record of the media coverage of an event. Not only is it likely to be a reporting requirement in funding agreements, it is critical data when trying to secure support for future events.
Keep a record of all media coverage (including all types of print, online and broadcast media) detailing type of coverage, depth (length of radio interview or tv slot, number of words in a newspaper or magazine article etc) and reach (size of audience/distribution channel).
When it comes to measuring media coverage, the level of monitoring necessary will depend on the size of the event, and the method of monitoring will depend on the target audience:
- Large events should engage a media monitoring company to track media coverage.
- Smaller events can track media coverage using Google Alerts or similar online search functionality.