PR Tips for Event Management Professionals
By Francesca Lombardo
The best thing about public relations (PR) is it can be free! It does not require a large monetary budget, like other kinds of marketing or advertising do. The only thing you need is your time--and as event professionals, we know this is a valuable and scarce commodity.
When I took on the marketing/PR for my family business, one of our goals was to change our perception in our market. We began as a function facility in 1963, and although our impeccable customer service and outstanding food never changed, our decor and style did. When we underwent a complete interior renovation of our 56,000-square-foot space in 2011, we wanted to show the world our new, modern event space. This is how I learned very quickly the power of PR. The community’s perception was stuck in 1963, and I had to change it to the present without a deep budget. Below are the tools I used to accomplish my goals.
Use Social Media
The convenience and ease of social media will allow you to show your dedicated followers who you are, your style and your talent. Social media allows you to establish a relationship with your clients. Tip: Talk to your social media followers as if they were your closest friends. Our biggest reach is when we post the everyday things that are happening around the office. It shows that your company has a personality behind your page and allows followers to relate to you. To date, our highest activity recorded on Facebook was the photo of my cousins and me making 200 pounds of homemade sausages. Another tip: Broaden your reach by tagging all of the vendors you worked with on an event. This will engage them to repost, and their friends and followers to do the same. This is the beauty of social media--continuous buzz around your business.
You do not need to write a press release to get published. The media needs you! They need content to fill their morning shows, seasonal stories and trend columns. Reach out to your local TV stations, publications and bloggers in your area and pitch them an idea. You are the professional, you know what is trending. My tip is to keep it relevant, seasonal and unique. They may not need your story now, but could use you as a resource in the future. Two free online resources that do the work for you are HelpAReporter.com and TwoBrightLights.com.
When you do receive publicity for your work, display it! Prospective clients are meeting your website before they meet you. Tip: Create a publicity or media page on your website. Show off that you are recognized within your community, or maybe even beyond. Awards, publications and other media mentions show that you are creditable and professional, which makes you desirable.
Now that you’ve put yourself and your business out there for the world to see, all you have to do is sit back and hope they like you--and I have a feeling they will!
How to Master the Art of Advertising
By Carol Roleder
There’s no question that one of the most difficult decisions when marketing a company is how to make the best and most effective use of advertising. Nowadays, many companies have taken a completely digital route because of the convenience, low cost, global audience and even the knowledge that they’re helping save a few trees. With so many electronic options to choose from, it hardly seems necessary to consider any sort of print advertising.
But let’s face it: Not all products or services are conducive to being marketed solely to a web-based audience. That’s where print advertising picks up. The question remains: How do I make the most of print advertising? With the abundance of information out there as to what makes a successful advertising strategy, it all boils down to some very basic and long-standing principles that have pretty much stayed the same over the years, with the added twist that technology has brought to the table.
1. Know Your Industry
How people disseminate information within your industry will tell you a lot about which direction you need to focus your own advertising efforts. Keeping in touch with what is current in your industry can be anything from subscribing to an industry magazine to becoming involved in an association. In any case, the more educated you are about your industry, the more effective your advertising will be.
2. Establish Your Brand
With the introduction of the Internet, we have seen a decrease in the attention span of our audience. Where people will spend 15 to 20 seconds scanning an online ad, they will spend almost double that time to read a print ad. Print advertising is visually and tactilely engaging in a way that online advertising is not.
3. Microwave vs. Crock Pot vs. Stove Top
Each form of advertising carries its own distinct set of benefits. When it comes to print advertising, remember you are dealing with a crock pot, not a microwave. Print publications have definite time frames for when they are issued as opposed to online advertising, which is instantly available. It could take up to three months to see a return on investment with a print ad. A good way to bridge that gap is to add a QR code to your print advertising, directing your consumers to a web page or a special offer on your website.
4. Business Is Built on Relationships
Don’t forget that the best advertising you can do is a personal communication with your current clients and vendors. A handwritten thank-you note, a simple postcard mailing with a new product or service, and a personal phone call go a long way in maintaining your current clients. In any industry, gaining and maintaining the trust of your client base is key to running a successful business.
Business Stationery and Its Importance in Today's Digital World
By Jessica Yee
Many may think business stationery is an antiquated idea. Yes, electronic communication is the best way to get quick, instant answers to important questions that you need addressed immediately, but electronic communication cannot always convey the warmth and feel of paper communication.
Business stationery helps convey that you are an established professional and, when used correctly, it can be an effective marketing tool. It keeps the warm human connection that we want to create with our clients and vendors. Your suite should at minimum consist of business cards, letterhead and note cards for handwritten correspondence.
Oh, the dreaded first impression: You meet a new client or vendor, and you whip out your business card. It's a standard business card--maybe you ordered it from a mega online printer, a local print shop or even created it on your home inkjet printer. Did you take the time to think about the impression created by a business card? If you did have them printed at the mega online printer, did you order the free ones, the ones with the printer's advertising tagline on the back? If so, you're not only advertising your business but also the mega online printer’s.
Quality business stationery does not have to break the bank to make a statement. Your business card can be professional and elegant with attention to two key elements: paper and style. Heavier paper imparts luxury and professionalism. Texture or raised lettering help the receiver remember you and your card. Color and creativity can also make an impact, but you walk a fine line here--a poor choice of colors can be off-putting, and die-cut or odd-sized cards can put you in the “shove anywhere” or “throw away” pile. In my experience, the best impression (and the biggest bang for your buck) is a single-color, simple business card with your name, company name and contact information on heavy card stock.
Now you've made that great first impression with your client or vendor--how do you follow up? You might say you'll send a short email or social media message to keep your company fresh in their minds. But we are bombarded every day with so much digital media; how long do you think you and your email message stay in the forefront of that data-drowned world of theirs?
This is where your professional letterhead and note cards come into play. You need to write a letter, and I don't mean simply print out a letter on copy paper with your laser printer. I mean open your box of custom stationery and hand-write a letter to that prospective client or vendor.
That begs the question: What if I have bad handwriting? Poor penmanship can be improved with practice if you take the time to slow down and just write. Or, if you are going to use your letterhead and note cards as marketing tools, I suggest you employ the services of a local calligrapher to elegantly write the notes and envelopes for you.
When that handwritten envelope is received by your prospective client or vendor, your prospect will be more likely take the time to speak with you because you took the time to write a note just for them. You and your business can stand out from the crowd when you take that time to add a personal touch.
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