Many cities, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and chambers of commerce have a public relations (PR) or communications department or outsource their PR efforts to a firm specializing in this service. These agencies are obligated to those paying them and their objectives are those set by their bosses and contracts. Your event’s publicity needs may be secondary or supplemental to what they are assigned or required to do.
Make the time to get to know these people and find out what you can do to make their lives easier. Then funnel information to them with just the right amount of details needed, and do so in a timely manner. Throwing reams of information, copies of past news coverage and materials in a disorganized manner is not helpful to anyone. If you don’t take the time to get to condense the details into a workable format, why should they?
The most important thing to remember is that publicity is free. Do not demand anyone promote your event, unless you want to assure your event of no publicity. Ask plenty of questions of PR folks and be open and receptive to what they ask of you.
Free publicity is given to those who say thank you and do not treat it as an entitlement. If you feel you are owed a mention in the newspaper or on a website, buy an ad. That is the only guaranteed way you will receive placement.
Public relations firms will typically have contacts with the media – print, web, blogs, radio and TV and freelancers. Do not ask them to provide you their database. Their contacts are privileged information and a tool of their trade. You wouldn’t expect a carpenter to give you his hammer and drill, would you?
To learn more about event and festival management, check out “Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals.” For those with event planning experience, consider, “Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Tools and Resources.” Both are written by internationally known author and speaker Lynn Fuhler and are available on Amazon and at major booksellers.