The 5 W’s for Inviting Media to Your Event
This is a guest post by Cece Salomon-Lee. One of of the most reputable voices in PR and virtual events.
Cece is the founder and Principal of PR Meets Marketing and co-author of The Virtual Buzz. With more than 15 years in marketing and public relations, she has a unique ability to translate innovative technology into cohesive and successful campaigns that cross from public relations and marketing to social media and virtual events. She has been an active participant in the emergence of the virtual events industry, originally in her roles with technology pioneers ON24 and INXPO and recently as a consultant and contributor to Virtual Edge Institute.
Inviting media or bloggers to your event is one public relations tactic to increase awareness of your event before, during and afterwards. But reporters and bloggers are inundated with email pitches. Whether this is for an online or in-person event, your invitation must include the Five W’s – who, what, when, where, and why – to stand out from the crowd. And in turn, entice reporters and bloggers to attend your event.
Ideally no more than two paragraphs, here are the essential elements of the invite:
What is this about?
Similar to a 30-second elevator pitch, you want to take no more than 20 words to communicate the purpose of your event, including the name of the event, date and location.
When is this taking place?
In addition to including the dates, be considerate of reporters/bloggers’ schedules. The invite should be sent 3-4 weeks in advance, allowing the person to make changes to their schedule if needed. I recommend longer lead times for events that attract larger delegates to accommodate flight and hotel arrangements. Sending an invite three days in advance demonstrates insensitivity to a reporter/blogger’s schedule. And yes, this has happened to me.
Where is the event?
So you’ve included the location in the first sentence, this should be enough, right? Not exactly. For physical events, being aware of a person’s physical location is instrumental to determine whether or not you’re inviting the right person to your event. Questions to consider include:
– Where is the person located?
– Does his/her publication send reporters to cover the event?
– Does this person attend events year after year? If so, which ones?
While virtual events are more convenient and less costly for a reporter/blogger, be sure to consider when you’re inviting the person and why they would care to attend, which is covered next.
Why should I care?
After describing the what, when and where, the why provides the motivation for a reporter/blogger to cover your event. Remember, a majority of reporters have to get editorial approval before covering an event. Help the reporter out by clearly outlining how this event achieves his/her editorial mission. For example:
– Will the event release new research not available anywhere else?
– Does the event discuss a trend currently happening in the industry that would be of interest to the reporter/blogger?
Who will be there?
In addition to underscoring why an event would be of interest to the person, spotlight panel discussions, specific speakers or attendees, in the case of a physical, who may be of interest to the reporter/blogger. This way, you’ve done the heavy lifting for the person, saving her time and focusing her attention on specific items. This increases the likelihood of securing the person’s interest and attendance.
By following the Five W’s, media and bloggers will have the right expectations of your event, minimizing questions and maximizing interest. But this requires doing research upfront about each person, understanding her likes/dislikes and physical location, as well as promptly answering all questions.
Sample Pitch for a Virtual Event
Subject: Introduction and Invitation to [EVENT NAME]
Hello [NAME OF PERSON],
My name is [YOUR NAME]. As you’ve previously written about [TOPIC], I thought you and your readers would be interested in learning more about the [NAME OF EVENT, LOCATION, DATE].
Briefly, the event will have over 30+ educational sessions and workshops on digital solutions for events, meetings, learning and community. The event is designed to help attendees rapidly evaluate, implement and maximize virtual programs within their organizations. Speakers include representatives from Cisco, IBM, Intuit, Hilton Hotels, National Association of Broadcasters, and more.
I’d like to offer you a press pass (either in person or virtually) and a discount coupon for the in-person event to share with your audience. Otherwise, it’s free to attend virtually. Please find all of the info including banners, logos, industry stats, and video at [LINK TO INFORMATION PAGE].
If you need more information, would like to interview the show organizer, or any of our speakers, please let me know. I will do my best to make it happen. If you are able to post or tweet, please send me the link so we can post it on our website.