How to get the media to attend your event

From weddings to birthdays, the presence of quality guests can really make or break your event. Sometimes the more the merrier, other times… not so much.

Just like personal celebratory occasions, when it comes to corporate events, product launches or press conferences, there are some people you will most certainly want to attend – the media!

Media presence is an important element of any event; they provide leverage to the awareness and purpose of what you, or your business, is doing.

Journalists, radio hosts, bloggers and TV presenters are very influential. Consumers (aka your potential customers) follow their news and respect their opinions, and inviting relevant, quality media to your event can do so much for your brand.

But anyone who has attempted to contact media themselves will know they are a fickle bunch. A journalist’s main objective is to cover news that is relevant to their target audience. Grabbing their attention amid a sea of news and events is no easy feat, and personal relationships go a long way. Not to mention they can work long, erratic hours, pounding away on their keyboards to constantly meet deadlines.

It can be a challenge to entice the media to an event, but challenges are good!  Contrary to popular belief, there’s more than promises of free booze and food you can offer to grab their attention (although, we won’t lie, that definitely helps!)

Make them an offer they can’t refuse

Journalists receive many invites every day about everything – food tastings, new product launches, store openings, movie premieres, and press conferences. What sets your invitation or event apart? Do you have a special guest speaker flying in? Is he or she an outstanding thought leader who will be sharing valuable insights about the industry, or local trends?

Journalists need an angle – i.e. a reason your event matters to their audience. Is your product the first of its kind in your market? Are you releasing a new white paper or piece of research of interest to their market?

Make your invite enticing by targeting it to them. Depending on your budget, you can even mail them a physical and specially designed invite. Get creative with the exclusivity, and make it an event that even you wouldn’t refuse.

Invite the right crowd

Do a little research on your media guests and ensure their relevance. It might seem impressive to get the senior current affairs correspondent along, but how relevant are they for a food tasting? Instead, you want to get in touch with the food reviewer or editor.

This is an important but often-neglected process for novices. It is pretty unassuming, but building up relevant media lists takes patience, time and effort.

Timing is everything

Besides events, writers often have to struggle with constant looming deadlines – so send your invitation at least two weeks in advance. If you don’t hear from them in a few days, follow up with a phone call.

Send out an email reminder with the date, time, dress code, and map of the venue a few days leading up to event – they will appreciate the gesture and it will reappear on their radar in case they have forgotten about the event.

Successful events with the media take practice and time, and forging sincere relationships with journalists definitely helps. They will be more compelled to RSVP and attend an event with a familiar face.

Spoil them

If you do get media to attend your event, it’s okay to be excited about it. Now, don’t waste the opportunity.

Make sure you give them attention (but not too much – no one likes to be hovered over). Keep them happy, make sure they have all the information they need, and let them know they can come to you if they have any questions. If you make them feel welcome and special, they’re more likely to remember you the next time you get in touch.

If you would like to know more about coordinating or successfully engaging media for an upcoming event or launch, get in touch at [email protected]

Image credit: Eugenio Marongiu /

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