The success of any UAE event rests to a large extent on the UAE media coverage it can get. Just like you are competing for clients, you will also be competing for the attention of the media. Here are some tips to help you get UAE media coverage for your event:
Determine what makes your event worthy of UAE media coverage. Imagine you were in the media and you got an invitation to attend the event. Would you want to go? If you wouldn’t, then the real media probably wouldn’t want to, either. Here are some specific questions to help you determine whether your event can realistically get media attention: Is my event new and original?
- Is your event taking place in the UAE?
- Has there been any UAE media coverage for similar events recently?
- Have my competitors organized similar events recently? Are they planning to?
- How is my event different from similar events that have taken place recently?
- Is my event location within reach of the media I’m targeting?
- Is my event scheduled at a time that is convenient for the media?
- Will there be any famous guests?
Compile a media contact list. To get UAE media coverage, you will need to contact the right people. Research traditional and online media outlets in the UAE that may be relevant to you using any source of information you generally find useful, including search engines. Your list should include UAE newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, news outlets, magazines, and blogs. Apart from the actual media outlets, you should include key people and their contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses. It is worth spending some extra time finding out who exactly covers topics about your industry. The higher the compatibility between the interests of the targeted journalists, the higher the probability that your event will get media attention. In case you are not able to find a journalist who is specifically interested in your industry, you should use general contact information. If you are pressed for time or if you find that your search results are not very useful, you can hire an agency that specializes in media relations. Even if you are organizing the event on your own, you can still outsource media outreach activities. Publiseek is a resource you can use to find a provider who can help you with this task.
Create a media advisory. A media advisory is essentially a document that lets the UAE media know the most important facts about your event. This document should contain a brief introduction, as well as the basic event information. Here are the things that the UAE media will want to know:
- Who are you?
- What is the event?
- Where is the event taking place?
- When is the event scheduled?
Other things to include in the media advisory:
- Key attendees/speakers
- Information contact
It is also very useful to mention what the extra value of your event is. Is your event the only of its kind? Is it the largest event in the industry? Carefully considering the questions outlined at point 1 should make it easy for you to highlight the uniqueness of your event.
Create two press releases. The first press release (pre-event press release) should announce the event. Its basic purpose is to let the readers know what they can expect to find at your event. The second press release (post-event press release) is similar in content, but it is written in the past tense and is meant to be published after the event. It can also contain opinions from attendees. This is an opportunity to convey what you would want any journalist to share about your event. However, the tone must be objective and any opinions should only be included as quotes from attendees.
Contact the UAE media ahead of time. Knowing that journalists are very busy people, securing a spot on their agenda should not be left for the last minute. Here is a useful media outreach timeline:
- 1-2 months before the event: Create an online event page, as well as an event page on Facebook. Start posting relevant material in connection to your event on social media. Remember to create a unique event hashtag that will be included in everything you post about the event.
- 1 week before the event: Send the media advisory and call to confirm that the document has been received. This is an opportunity to pitch the event but make sure you call instead of emailing your pitch. Otherwise, your message might end up stuck with the other hundred messages a journalist may receive that same day. If you are unable to reach them by phone, avoid leaving a message unless you have already made contact with them. Try calling again and, if you are still unable to reach them, you can leave them a short message to mention the purpose of your call. Be concise and make sure to let them know when you will be calling again.
- 3 days before the event: Send reminder emails and re-attach the media advisory to refresh the journalists’ memory. Call those contacts who haven’t confirmed their attendance to know whether they plan on attending.
- 1 day before the event: Give a reminder call to anyone who has expressed interest in attending.
- D Day: Hand out press kits including a post-event press release, along with any relevant material (such as brochures) and samples, if applicable. If you have partnered up with other companies willing to offer samples, hand out goody bags. For convenience purposes, add the press release and the other relevant documents to the goody bag. Make sure someone will be available to respond to questions from the media at all times, as well as to give interviews.
- After the event: Share post-event impressions and pictures on your social media channels. Give follow-up calls to thank each journalist who attended the event. You can also send emails, but calling helps you establish a more personal connection which you might be able to use for future events. This is the time to collect feedback, as well as to answer any questions and to find out when the story will be published. You should contact journalists who did not attend to offer them the post-event press release, as well as pictures from the event. As the stories about your event start getting published, make sure to forward them to your stakeholders and partners. Also share them on social media.
Make it easy for the UAE media to attend. When you give proper attention to the issue of getting UAE media coverage, you must keep in mind that timing and location should be set depending on the specifics of the media. In general, events held between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. get more media coverage. Also, locations which are easily accessible via public transportation are preferable. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid holding your event on the same day as other similar events. If that is not possible, at least make sure your event is not scheduled for the same time as those other events.
Find a spokesperson. Identify the people who are in the best position to convey a message about your event. Prepare talking points without making use of jargon. If your event features keynote speakers, make sure you provide them with the key information that you would like them to share with the media, especially if interviewed. The designated spokesperson should be available for interviews before, during and after the event.
Be your own media. Your event can get the best coverage from you. Here are some tips for documenting your event like a pro:
- Hire professional photography and videography providers. If your budget does not include such expenses, you can rent quality equipment and pay someone to help you get quality photos and footage. Use the photos and the footage on all communication channels (websites, blogs, social media, etc.).
- Get quotes and testimonials from key attendees and other participants. Share quotes and testimonials on social media.
- Write blog articles and create Youtube videos that you can share on social media.