How To Be Your Own Event Publicist during COVID-19
You are officially your own spokesperson in the event industry, and this notion has never been truer than it is now, as we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.
So whether you want to pitch yourself as an industry expert, spread the word about a new pivot in your brand, or simply share the impact of the pandemic on your part of the industry, you are officially in a position your own event publicist through public relations.
Sound just a bit overwhelming? I imagine it can be, but the good news is there are just a few steps you need to take to be your own event publicist.
Research the Right Reporters
If there’s one thing that is a constant in the world of publicity, it’s this- reporters do not like to be pitched story ideas that are irrelevant to their coverage.
The majority of journalists have what’s called a beat, that is- an area of expertise that they regularly cover. Some, for example, often cover health and beauty-related topics while another writer is dedicated entirely to the tech space. During this time, members of the media are covering COVID in what I’d like to call a “temporary beat.” They didn’t necessarily start out with the intention of covering pandemics, but given the need for 24 hours coverage, it’s become their focus for now.
When looking to pitch yourself as an expert, it’s essential you take the time to seek out the correct journalist. In addition to simply being a professional courtesy, it increases your chances of a pick up considerably.
When you’ve narrowed down the outlets you’d like to pitch, your best bet is to run a search for the words “coronavirus” and “covid” on the site itself. Recent articles will pop up and it will become clear quickly as to who is covering the pandemic at any particular outlet. If you find that there are a number of options, more than likely, you’ll want to focus on those covering small businesses.
To be sure, run through the last 8-10 articles from the particular reporter you’d like to pitch. The goal ultimately is to pitch fresh angles that are complementary to their coverage.
Which brings us to-
Consider New Story Angles
We are nearly getting to the point where readers will have “COVID-19 news fatigue.” People globally are devouring any and all COVID-related coverage, including the significant amount of information being disseminated in the event and hospitality industry alone.
This is when it’s imperative to really give thought to how you can add to the conversation without saying what has already been said. Ask yourself-
- What have I experienced that may help others?
- What insight can I share that brings value to potential readers?
- Is there a particular group being impacted that I can help educate?
More recently, for example, I found a writer with Good Morning America on the family beat covering creative ways that kids were staying connected. In was in the early days of the crisis, and hadn’t written on classmates staying in touch so I pitched her our Mystery Reader program that I pulled together and was thrilled when it was featured.
While it was great, of course, to receive national recognition, it was more important to me that our little program could inspire other families to consider a similar route. If you go in with that attitude, it’s a win-win no matter what.
Seek out Industry Guest Article Opportunities
Between association-run blogs, B2B brand sites, and long-running, well-respected event industry media outlets, there is a significant amount of opportunity for you to be able to submit guest articles for consideration.
Right now, we crave insight from experts- from professionals who can look at this crisis and provide a guiding light to sustainability. And if you’re in a position to do so, now is the time to act.
First, look to the associations in which you are involved, and see if they have the option to submit articles. WIPA, for example, allows members the ability to send in their content with ease. As with your typical media research, read recent articles so you can avoid any redundancies, and better understand the preferred tone and formatting of the site.
You can also seek out well-respected industry media outlets- if you see a steady stream of guest articles, then there is a strong chance they include submission guidelines on their site. Commit them to memory, and make sure you do the same due diligence before creating a submission.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- no one is going to rescue you from these challenging times, except yourself. With that, it’s necessary to embrace the above event publicity strategies to ensure you, as well as the industry, continues to have a voice.
Meghan Ely is an award-winning wedding publicist, and owner of OFD Consulting, which represents event professionals globally. You can follow her ongoing COVID-19 client coverage here.
Of Possible Interest:
Meghan spoke on the topic of Event PR Strategies during the Coronavirus as part of our Allseated special guest webinar series. Be sure to check it out in case you missed it.