Event Planning and Creating an Exhibit
Because the news conference or special media event has become so important for organizations in communicating with the public, it is often necessary to plan and execute promotional events effectively. Following are some suggestions that may help you run an effective newsworthy, news conference.
- Put everything in writing. Be thorough and constantly update revisions and plans so all involve in an event will be informed.
- Be creative. Your event should be new and different, colorful and exciting.
- Plan you work. Decide what you want to happen and in what order. Then put it down on paper.
- Make a guest list. Who do you want and how many? Avoid the wrath of someone scorned by oversight.
- Contact distinguished guests. Make a personal and written contact to those who will participate in the program. Advise them of time limitations for speeches and special provisions for parking and seating.
- Send invitations early. Put them in the mail four to two weeks in advance.
- Make a media list. Limit invitations to those members of the news media whose coverage will be meaningful to your program.
- Control advance publicity. Contact the news media and get an announcement of your event in the papers and on the radio.
- Prepare incidentals. Draw up name tags in advance from RSVP’s and alphabetize them for easy access.
- Request news coverage with a memorandum. A memo should be sent 48 hours in advance to key news media. Include the five W’s – who, what, where, when and why. Follow up with a phone call to each person.
- Take charge. Only one person should be in charge – you! Rely on no one. Double check all elements of the program yourself.
- Press the media. Distribute news kits to all media representatives in attendance. Hand-deliver or mail the kit to no-shows.
If you have done all these things, relax! With special promotional events, you get what you put in. If you have done a good job, you will get good results.
Creating an Exhibit
Show your pride with an exhibit. It informs the public and promotes ideas. Create exhibits at local fairs, industry conferences and meetings. The following are a few tips for constructing an exhibit that the public will remember:
- Appoint a committee. Gather enough people to develop the best idea.
- Gather at least five people.These people will adequately build the display. Appoint or elect a leader to take responsibility for organizing the project.
- Decide the function of the exhibit. Will the exhibit simply entertain a few visitors, or will it promote your county Farm Bureau to a wide audience?
- How will you reach the audience? Decide whether to use sight, sound, small, taste, touch, etc.
- Keep the subject of the display timely, personal and focused. This is so your audience quickly gets your message. Goals include attracting attention, holding attention, and inspiring action.
- Promote ideas that interest. For example, promote the fact that Farm Bureau speaks for agriculture.
- After you have chosen a topic consider the location. The location can limit the size and the amount of information you can present.
- Keep the message brief. Use the title and two or three blocks of information to tell the story.
- Legibility is the key for information that is displayed. Be sure your words are neat and clear. Photos are also attention-grabbers and should be large enough to see from a distance.
- Involve the audience in your exhibit to get them to stop and visit. Good ideas are usually giveaways where they must register or simply handing out items for them to keep.
Once you have discussed and completed the previous steps, be ready to have at least two people on hand at the exhibit once it is in place at the event. These people should be ready to answer questions and greet those passing by the exhibit. Be friendly, but not too pushy. Leave those who view your exhibit with a good impression of the Florida Farm Bureau!