How to get media attention for your meeting

The media can play an important role in spinning positive publicity for your event.
The media can play an important role in spinning positive publicity for your event.

Obviously, the most important audience at every meeting and event is the attendee. Because of the positive impact that publicity can have on a business or industry, however, a close second might be the media.

"Media, often called the fourth estate, can be responsible for tens of thousands of people talking about your business," says Nikolay Novoselov, an author at Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International.

According to Novoselov, the best way to attract a journalist's or editor's attention is with a personal email message.

"Learn to write personalised messages to reach journalists and editors, otherwise your messages may be blocked by mail spam filters," he says. "Don't be lazy: Send press releases in separate messages rather than mass mailing 10 addresses. Ideally, it is worth writing personally to leading journalists or editors, addressing them by name in the greeting. If there are no such contacts, it is appropriate to send it to a general editorial email address."

What makes a message "personal", exactly? "Begin with a personal greeting or a simple explanation as to who you are and why you are reaching out to the publication," Novoselov says. "It is important that your letter stands out from the general stream and that editorial staff immediately understand that it is an interesting subject worth working on."

To go the extra mile, appeal to their personal interests. "If you need to get close to or make friends with a certain [journalist or editor] … find [their] social media profile," Novoselov advises. "Explore their pages: What do they like or repost? Who are their friends? Where have they been? Make a virtual 'portrait' of the person and write to them."

Of course, you must have a newsworthy event that the media will want to cover in the first place. By trading mass-marketed press releases for personal connections, however, you can increase your odds of PR success.

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