Publicizing your event
Publicity can help to raise awareness about your event and gain more sponsorship. There are a few simple steps to take to ensure that you do everything you can to get the maximum amount of coverage.
- Make a publicity plan
- Time your publicity correctly
- Write a news release
- Have photographs for the press
First of all ask yourself two questions:
1. What is your objective? Why do you want publicity - for example is it to attract the public to your event? Or is it to raise money for your efforts?
2. Who is your target audience? Think about whether you need to be targeting a particular audience. Would your event suit families, sports lovers, mountain climbers, your co-workers, local business people or perhaps simply the general public?
Once you have answered these questions you should have a clear publicity aim and you can plan towards this.
Keeping your target audience in mind, decide if you are going to make fliers or posters. Then design and plan these as soon as you have all the details of the event. Please make sure you follow WaterAid's branding guidelines and show a copy to us by emailing it to us
- it is very important that we are all sending out the same messages.
Make a list of places to display your posters, for example local coffee shops, restaurants, schools, libraries, sports or social clubs, gyms, local businesses, shops. Remember to ask first.
Make a list of all the media you are going to contact. In most cases this will be local newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. But do think about your audience. What sort of people would be interested in the event?
Don't forget specialist publications and journals. For example, if you are trying to attract keen cyclists to your event don't forget health, fitness and cycling magazines. Also see if you can get an article in your company newsletter or intranet.
Identify your spokesperson. Make sure this person is well briefed on the event, its aims and WaterAid so that they can give an informed and entertaining interview to media. Quote this person in your news release.
Write a news release and email a copy to us
. Send it to editors preferably by fax or email which gives a sense of news and urgency. Follow up any press releases with a phone call - to see if the newspaper:
- Has seen the press release
- Is interested
- Would like more information or perhaps details for a feature story based on the event
Call the news editors of your local media to outline the event and/or send a news release by the following times:
Send the release at least one to two days in advance and at the very latest by 3pm before the day you are hoping your news will be published.
If your newspaper is available to buy on a Wednesday, the very latest deadline will be early Tuesday afternoon.
Monthly media and listings sections of the press:
Call in advance to check deadlines as they vary enormously.
Local TV and radio:
Will accept news on the day (call early) but do also look out for weekly programs that are relevant to your event and call well in advance to check when their deadlines are. They also have forward planning desks so it is useful to target these to get your event in the diary well in advance.
Follow up any news releases with a phone call - to see if the news editor:
Pre-event news releases
- Has seen the press release (you'll be amazed how many haven't!)
- Is interested
- Would like more information or pictures of beneficiaries for a feature story based on the event
You may need to enlist the help of the public or your particular target audience in advance of the event.
This may be because you are asking them to come along to the event. Or you may be asking them to do something specific such as form a team and sign up for a sponsored hike. In this case you need to add this into your overall event plan. Think about timescale. Work out when you need them to sign up by and time your news release accordingly.
To add impact to your release it is an idea to send it with a good photograph. Send a fun picture which helps to tell the story of the request you are putting to your target audience.
After the event
Don't be despondent if the media doesn't turn up to your event - they are under a lot of pressure. It is worth sending out a news release with a picture as soon as possible after the event. Be sure to include final figures for the amount raised and number of participants.
Make sure the most important information is in the first line of the release. Make sure you have answered the questions:
- Who (are the main players)
- What (is the event, and what is the aim, for example is there a fundraising target)
- Where (is the event taking place)
- When (is the event taking place)
- Why (in this case to raise funds to help WaterAid bring clean water and sanitation to people)
To maximize the chances of the news release being read and responded to follow these tips:
- Make it as short as possible - preferably keep it on one page.
- Use double-spacing between lines so the release can be read at a glance.
- Try to stick to one or two-syllable words.
to think of a catchy headline that grabs the journalist's attention and
that they might be able to use in the paper.
- Add contact details for further information. Make sure the
contact is available to respond to calls straight away and make sure journalists know who to ask
for if they turn up at your event.
Before sending the release it is worth finding out the name of the most appropriate journalist to send it to.
Make sure you follow up the release with a phone call to make sure they got it.
Get a good photographer on board. Then, if the press don't turn up, you can send them your pictures immediately after the event.
A good press picture will contain the following elements:
1. It will help to tell the story.
2. Subjects should be smiley. Remember newspapers love children.
3. The subject will be preferably looking straight to camera.
4. Photos need to be really clear, crisp, and, if possible, bright and colorful but without clutter. If possible choose a plain background.
5. Ideally the subjects should fill the frame. Avoid anything hazy or arty - the press would much rather a crisp, even contrived-looking shot than something that may not come out very clearly in the paper.
6. Don't forget good branding. Put important people in logo t-shirts or caps if possible.
7. Picture quality is important. If you are taking images yourself using a digital camera then remember that the press will need a high resolution image to be able to print from (300dpi at 100% is a good guideline).
Please email us
if you would like to supply a photo of WaterAid's work as well as of the event.