This Is How You Get Press to Show Up at Your Event

This is a guest post by Ben Hindman CEO and co-founder, Splash.

Build a beautiful event, and they will come. / Photo credit: Splash

This is a guest post by Ben Hindman CEO and co-founder, Splash.

Getting press to your events impresses your clients, builds brand visibility, and (in an ideal world) results in some media coverage. But when journalists are getting 10 to 20 press invites a week (we know—we asked them), how do ensure your event gets on their to-do list?

In order to get insights on what really convinces the media to attend press events, we asked 16 journalists from outlets like Men’s Health, Refinery29, Entrepreneur and International Business Times. Besides general uniqueness, proximity to the venue and not scheduling things during their work day, the invitation itself was the biggest selling point.

Here are 11 things you can do to get their attention in your next event invitation:

1. Don’t bury the lead (or the punchline).

Reporters learn this day one in journalism school, so it’s imperative you spell out the exclusivity and cool factor right away. Conversely, don’t hide the pitch. If you’re trying to sell a cookbook by throwing a skateboarding competition, fess up. If there’s going to be puppies involved anywhere, make sure to say that, too (we’ve found that one to be especially successful).

“I say get to the point. I’ll be the one to decide whether there might be a story there.”– Lifestyle reporter

2. Be as concise as humanly possible.

The five-Ws-approach is a winner for people who are being bombarded with logistics. The goal is to design an invitation that can easily be scanned, doesn’t feel generic, and relays an overall tone for the event. If your brand is not well known, sharing a bit of background on what they do can help inspire coverage opportunities. Just be terse. If they have questions, they’ll ask. (It’s part of their job.)

“I’m looking for a clear, concise subject line with full details at the top of the email, followed by a brief but descriptive explanation of what it’s for, why it’s relevant to me, and what to expect if I attend.”– Lifestyle editor

3. Know your audience (and theirs).

The biggest factor that secures an RSVP? Relevancy. Unless you’re giving out front row Kanye tickets, most journalists won’t (and can’t) attend your event or product demo because it doesn’t have any use to their reader. Pitch with empathy. And, for goodness sake, spell their name right. (That one really ticks them off.)

“I’m looking for something that’s relevant to my audience and seems like a unique addition to the industry. Good food, casual atmosphere, and an interesting venue help.”– Web editor, fashion

4. Balance visuals with text.

If anyone can appreciate visual storytelling, it’s your media rolodex. Our surveyed journalists agreed: A well-designed invitation speaks to the quality of the event. Use images in the body of the email, never as an attachment, and make sure your invite has text that can easily be copy-and-pasted. No one wants to re-type product or event information they can’t highlight from a text-heavy jpeg.

“It should be clean, well-designed, and tightly-written so it gets to the point. Not overly PR-ish, not junky jpegs with crappy headshots or crappy product shots.”– Blog editor, luxury lifestyle brand

5. Burn the PDFs.

Lose the attachments altogether. Thousand-word press releases are hardly ever read. Even just the words “see attached” is an automatic point against you.

“I can’t stand when people attach an invite and are, like, see attached! It’s 2016, paste your image into the email or give me a super simple link to click.”– Pop culture editor

6. Include a calendar prompt.

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