As I work with more diverse clients, from restaurants to dance schools, I find it interesting that the business owners generally have little to no experience with gaining news coverage for their events. I used to work as a journalist at CBS 3/The CW in Philadelphia, so I know a thing or two about how event news coverage works.

Here are some tips to get the press to show up at your next event: 

Don’t Burry the Lede & Be Realistic

When you put together the information/media alert/press release on your event, but the most pertinent information first. “Burying the lede” is essentially failing to emphasize the most important part of a story. Try to be unbiased about your event. Ask yourself: “will others in my community at large really care about/be generally interested in the event i’m having? No doubt a ton of time and planning went into assuring your event is a success, but depending on the type of function it is and the crowd you invited,  your event may not be appropriate or relevant for others outside of the people involved. You may be surprised also to know the media is interested in an event you thought was perhaps too small. There’s so much doom and gloom being reported, that producers like to mix it up by including everything from charitable initiatives to arts and culture happenings to local hero homecomings. A dance studio client of mine didn’t think their children’s tea party was newsworthy–check out the press that was garnered by following these pointers. 

Know their Hours & Remind them

While most newsrooms are staffed 24/7 on nights, weekends and holidays, keep in mind that the time of your event is important. Most broadcast or cable networks have news programming from 4 – 10am, 5-6:30pm and 10-11:30pm. If your event starts at 6pm, there is a slim chance your event will be covered live. Most events are covered during the course of the day, and are packaged non-live for a later broadcast. There are usually paid opportunities on morning or noon broadcasts. If your budget allows, try contacting your station’s sales team. If your event is newsworthy, make sure you’ve sent a press release or information at least two weeks prior to the event via email to the station’s news desk. Then, don’t be shy about calling them directly the day before and the day of the event to check that the info. you provided made their “queue.” 

Leave it to the Pros 

You can certainly get media attention on your own, but as you can probably tell, a lot of planning and strategy goes into the public relations process. While these steps could very well get the press to show up to your event, many medium to large organizations have success with gaining coverage due to the rapport they have built with the media outlets in the communities they serve. It may be behoove you to hire a PR or communications agency to help you with your events. Dedicated professionals in the PR industry get press for their clients for a living. Sometimes it’s best to leave the strategy to the pros if you lack the time or patience that goes into the strategic element of gaining press.