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  • Writer's pictureAngus Hsieh

4 tips for planning your next PR event

One of the most crucial facets of public relations involves planning and hosting events to help promote brand awareness. Whether it’s a brand new product launch, special premiere screening, or media relations luncheon, the planning and execution of these events can be arduous and demanding.

However, not all PR practitioners are experienced event planners. Although many large corporations and organizations usually either have an in-house team of event coordinators or outsource to third-party contractors, this is often not the case for PR practitioners working in small agencies or companies. Thus, the task of planning the next big promotional event can sometimes fall into the hands of a small group.

Here are four helpful tips to ensure an event goes smoothly:

1. The event should be clearly centered around the story you’re trying to tell

Have a clear vision of what the event is trying to inform the key publics, and build the atmosphere around that. An event is more than just a gathering to showcase the company or its product. It’s a medium for the storytelling of the PR goals. According to the Executive Vice President (EVP) of a major corporation in the entertainment industry, “whether it’s a premiere, luncheon or press conference, you have to ask yourself, ‘what story am I trying to tell with this event?’ and how does every element, from how people walk in, to what they first see, and to what information they’re going to get while they’re at the event help with that message.”

2. Meticulously identify all technology requirements early on

Technology plays a huge role in the presentation of events, whether its lighting, sound systems, or projectors. The level of preparation of the technical equipment required can make or break an event’s success. The last thing that event planners would want to happen is to scramble at the last minute to find a special cable for the music to play or for the microphones to work. Identifying all of the technical requirements early on through a checklist and developing a method of organizing the equipment will help ensure that the event goes according to plan without difficulty.

3. Give the guests a stand-out gift or experience that they’ll remember

Make sure that the event offers guests a unique experience or item they can remember. This “wow factor” doesn’t even necessarily have to be extraordinary or expensive, but it must be memorable. “If you are creating an event and people are taking time out of their lives to come and experience it, give them something they’re going to remember fondly, because how they remember the event is how they will remember your product, or your show or your speech,” said the Executive Vice President. “It could be as simple as giving them the most delicious cookie they’ve ever eaten.”

4. Be aware of local laws and regulations

One crucial logistical consideration that every event planner must not forget is to be compliant with local street or health regulations. Forgetting to check with local government laws and regulations for your event set-up is a costly mistake, and a near-guaranteed way of getting an event canceled or fined by authorities. For example, the San Diego Department of Environmental Health and Quality (DEHQ) requires water access to be placed within 100 feet of food vendors.

Event planning can be a complicated challenge that requires thorough logistic oversight. By keeping storytelling as the center focus of the event, identifying all equipment needs early on, delighting guests with a memorable “wow factor” experience, and following all local event regulations, the chances of a successful event are much more favorable.

By: Wei-An Hsieh

Wei-An Hsieh is a senior at San Diego State University and a radio operator in Marine Corps Reserve. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. He hopes to work in the music industry after graduating in May 2023.

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