In today’s landscape, in which anyone with a cell phone and social media handle can break news or dent an organization’s reputation, owning a cellphone and publicly voicing opinions often go hand in hand, event planning has taken a new turn.
While the power of online voices can be a tremendous asset for spreading the word about your event or press conference, it can quickly turn negative when things don’t go as planned, whether it’s a community-focused presentation losing audio or a music festival’s headliner canceling at the last second.
But fear not, event organizers can take control by mastering the basics of social media and enlisting the support of an experienced communications team.
Event organizers can confidently handle any crisis by establishing a robust online presence and effectively communicating with their audience. Below, we will explore the advantages of incorporating real-time PR and communication for event managers during their events.
Whether you’re running a small press conference or a massive music festival, there are basics that should be addressed upfront. Where will the media sit? Will there be a multi-box for journalists to plug their A/V equipment into? Will media members have access to any food, coffee or water? What about power outlets? Developing a comprehensive run-of-show and other documents such as contact sheets for everyone on the crew who will be on-site, roles and responsibilities, and more, will ensure that no questions are left lingering on the big day.
It obviously also helps to prepare any conceivable media touchpoint that might go out during or just after the event, such as press releases, blog posts, social posts, and even photo captions for social media. Because the last thing you and your team will feel like doing after an inevitably long day (or weekend) is draft and get approval for last-minute communications.
Planning For Every Scenario
You should prepare for all potential worst-case scenarios and have a plan in place. For example, if someone’s food is cold, be ready to address it. If the audio for your top entertainment doesn’t sound clear, have backup sound equipment ready and be prepared to handle a potentially disappointed crowd. If there are longer than expected lines, show empathy towards your guests. While some situations may be out of your control, such as bad weather or vendors not showing up, you can control your response and take steps to address any issues afterward. Having an advance conversation about each of these possibilities and anything else that may keep you up at night, and putting the proposed solutions to paper, is crucial
Rain or Shine – It is Seattle After All
Is your event outside? Is it ready for rain or shine? Having a backup plan that includes either coverage from the elements or noting that your event will occur rain or shine should be one of the first considerations. Additionally, consider how you will communicate this to your guests. If the event is canceled due to rain at the last minute, how will your event goers know? Your communications team can help you craft your message to post updates on social media or send emails or text blasts to event goers, so they are prepared.
Supplying Key Communication Materials
By having a seasoned team by your side, they can help prepare key materials for the event, including run-of-show, press releases for before, during and after the event, blog posts, photo captions and anything more that may be needed.
Keep a Close Eye on Social Media
Where do you go when you want to complain and have people agree? Social media. In the age of keyboard warriors, more are going online to complain than to sing praises. Keep an eye on every social platform leading up to your event, throughout your event and the days afterward. During the event, this is a great place to get real-time feedback on what is going well and where you can improve instantly. Is the sound not impressive near the stage? How can you pivot? Are eventgoers confused about how the system works or where to find the restaurant they came to see? Respond in real time.
If you’re experiencing a high volume of complaints, there may be better approaches than disabling comments, which could worsen the situation. Disgruntled guests will find other outlets to vent their frustrations, and the media could pick this up and further the negative coverage.
Bring the Experts
While organizing an event, having an experienced PR team on board is more than just a need – it’s a lifeline. A well-trained team is essential for effective promotion and handling any unexpected situations that may come your way. Communications teams can help you expertly and empathetically convey the message without sounding like an average lip service statement. For example, releasing a statement that does not address the exact issues or offer changes will not help those frustrated turn into fans. Additionally, should there be any crisis situations during the event, your team of communication professionals will be on hand to help mitigate the situation or counsel you on the next best steps to take.
Having a PR team on-site can also help alleviate stress so you can focus on what you do best – producing your event. The team onsite can manage media access and any media needs, including interview coordination, photo requests, or badge pick-ups.
Every event will go flawlessly in a dream world, but not even Taylor Swift can mastermind the perfect event. Be prepared with expert help before you need it.
At Fearey, our team has a wealth of experience providing PR and communications for everything from press conferences with the Mayor of Seattle to iconic weekend music festivals. With a seasoned team on hand, you’ll be ready to tackle any crisis.