Event marketing and communications

This page has guidance on how to write a marketing and communications plan and social media plan for your event. This includes media and PR planning.

Developing a marketing and communications plan

As an event organiser, one of your biggest challenges is identifying the most effective strategies for reaching your target markets to ensure the event achieves the best possible exposure. You may need to think outside the square to achieve your marketing objectives.

Our Writing an Event Marketing Plan module provides a step-by-step overview of what you need to consider when putting together a marketing plan for your event. It includes:

  • templates for writing a simple plan that covers all the bases
  • case studies of innovative marketing solutions used by real events.

Writing an Event Marketing Plan [PDF, 601 KB]

Example plan

Fast5 Netball World Series Marketing & Communications Plan [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Developing a social media plan

Social media is an important event marketing tool and should be an integral part of any marketing and communications plan. You should keep up to date with the latest social media developments to ensure you can use social media channels effectively to promote your events.

Our Introduction to Social Media Marketing module outlines how to put together a social media plan. It includes:

  • an overview of social media platforms
  • how to best use social media to market your event
  • real life case studies so you can see how the examples work in practice
  • templates to help you put together your plan.

Introduction to Social Media Marketing [PDF, 640 KB]

Developing a media/PR plan

Once you have secured an event, developing a media plan is a priority. Try to get whatever help you can from your international federation or governing body or national organisation, as well as from 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:
    • the build-up to the event
    • live (during the event)
    • post-event
  • a comprehensive list of proposed media activities and associated timeline eg, TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, website and social media
  • a schedule of major events that will provide useful media opportunities eg, launch announcement, arrivals of main participants, official welcome, opening ceremony or dinner
  • proposed media release schedule and editorial outline, including details of 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.

Example plan

Opti Worlds New Zealand 2011 Media Plan [PDF, 179 KB]

Implementing the media plan

Choose a media spokesperson

We recommend you appoint at least 1 designated and mandated media spokesperson to concentrate on engaging and building rapport with the media. The spokesperson should be provided with media training, as they will be the face and voice of the event.

The designated media spokesperson should:

  • have an in-depth knowledge of the event
  • be able to articulate concepts clearly in an enthusiastic manner
  • be approachable and easily contactable, as media work to unique timeframes and often need quick access to information and official comment.

Consider appointing media sponsors/partners

You should consider appointing media sponsors or partners with a focus 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 broadcasting from the event
  • special interest stories and feature pieces on event participants or individuals involved in the event.

Monitoring media coverage

It's essential you keep a record of the media coverage of an event. Not only is it likely to be a reporting requirement of funding agreements, it's also 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, eg length of radio interview or TV slot, number of words in a newspaper or magazine article
  • reach, eg 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.