Planning an event can be stressful. Many times finding a place to start is the hardest part. First you need a goal. What do you want your event to accomplish? Do you want to showcase something, reach a new audience, reward someone, fundraise or something else?

With this in mind, you will need to make a list of all the things you will need for your event. I recommend using an excel spread sheet to make an easy to follow chart. The first column should consist of the items and/or tasks that you need to execute your event. Next, add how many of each item or task need to be completed. One column should have a deadline, one that gives you a cushion of time, for you to have an item collected or a task completed. Then you should make a note of how much each of these items or tasks will cost. Finally, add the point of contact (POC) for each item or task. Don’t forget to leave a few extra columns for notes and to track your progress.

Your first step is to either decide a date, venue or speaker. Choose whichever is the most important to your purpose and begin there.

The date and time should correspond with your audience. If most of your audience works during the week 9-5, then you might want to host your event after six or seven o’clock on a Saturday. The time may also conflict with the venue, so give yourself a few options when booking a time and place.

The venue needs to be able to hold the guests you want to invite; however, you should be cautious of rooms too large. Rooms that are too large can be hard to fill and might make your event look unsuccessful.

Budget is an important step that should be addressed at the beginning of your planning, at least briefly before making any big decisions. Before finalizing the budget, be realistic about what things will cost and how professional you want your event to be.

If you don’t have the money or budget to host the kind of even you’d like, then look to sponsors for help. Sponsors can relate to your theme, business or can be unrelated. Be sure to reach out to sponsors after you have a budget in mind and be reasonable about the amount you ask for.

After the venue and speaker are all set and any sponsors are confirmed, you can determine how many people you can invite. Look at how many your venue can hold and how much money you have allocated for food to help you decide on who to invite. You can invite people through Facebook, email, phone call or the mail. If you choose to call or mail your invites then make sure you have enough time to reach each person and get a response.

In the weeks leading up to your event, check your chart and make sure everything has been completed. Call your sponsors, guests and speakers to confirm the participation. With the guest list finalized, create name tags and check-in lists for the final event.

Your second to last step is to execute the event. The final step includes thanking your participants and following up. Send thank you notes to everyone who participated or helped you, and ask them for feedback.

Planning events is not easy and the time leading up to them flies. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Grab your friends and colleagues and delegate tasks for them to help you out.

Most of all, try to have fun and make it fun for others.


   



If a picture speaks a thousand words, how about a TV appearance? Appearing on screen will boost a company’s image tenfold. Being seen on television creates a sense of credibility and power that cannot be established on any other platform. But, how do you land a spot on televised?

As a beginner, you have to start out small. It is almost impossible to secure a televised interview without connections and previous experience. First, you need to attract the attention of reporters. The best way to grab the attention of journalists is to connect your topic to a current trend. Finding some way to attach yourself to a popular current topic automatically increases a company’s credibility. Topics that never go out of style are fast services, affordable services, online technology, and personalized experiences.

Journalists receive hundreds of submissions each day. If a company wants its story to stand out, it must be unique. Every company claims their product is the best that was ever made and that it is going to shut down the market. These shallow claims are not credible. There needs to be proof. A company’s pitch should be flooded with examples and testimonials backing up it’s claims. Journalists are intrigued by stories of new businesses, product launches, partnerships, and recently announced corporate goals.

Another trick to elevating the chances of scoring an interview is having an interesting story. Second to the product, an alluring background story is most important for catching the eye of a reporter. The story of how a company began with a man sailing 10,000 miles around the globe to find the perfect tomato to make his pizza sauce will peak the interest of a lot of people. Once you have their interest, you are in.

Finally, to catch an interviewer’s attention companies may extend to them a special offer. A company may provide a journalist an exclusive interview or insider details. However, it is extremely important not to give a lot of reporters these opportunities. If a group of journalists find out they all have been given the same opportunity for exclusionary details, a company will gain a negative reputation.

Once a company has established itself with journalists, it is time to branch out into local television and begin your adventure to the top. Attempting to appear on local news channels is an excellent way to begin a television appearance career. Local news stations often prefer to use companies from the surrounding area, where there is less struggle over airtime. Even better, local station viewership is on the rise while national news viewership is tumbling down.

Advertising yourself as an expert in a specific field or topic will make you more marketable for televised interviews. If you are the owner of a grocery store, you could label yourself an expert on health issues and produce production. Then, if a giant rainstorm comes and damages hundreds of acres of crops, journalists will look to you for insight on the situation.

Developing preexisting relationships with the media before attempting to make a television debut is beneficial. A helpful way to establish these unions is research. Investigate certain reporters, get an understanding of what they typically cover, and how they cover their stories. Keep what you have learned in mind when pitching your own story to the media. Your pitch should include how your story relates to their interest, why it is important, and should include lots of substance – no filler or fluff.

After you confirm a spot, it is necessary to consider who will be your company spokesperson. It does not have to be the CEO or marketing specialist. The best way to decide who will deliver your message is to simply observe. Who talks the most at roundtables, who is popular on social media, who knows a lot of trivia facts, who thoroughly enjoys their job. These are all exceptional aspects to examine when searching for a spokesperson.

How a person is in the office and online are great indicators of how they will perform in front of the camera. Monitoring what they say and how they say it will give you excellent insight into how they will perform. If they are good storytellers during lunch and grab everyone’s attention, on air should be no different.

Once you have chosen your spokesperson, it is time to practice. It is useful to know that on air, responses should not last any longer than 12 seconds. Leading up to your appearance your social media team should be on top of their game. Your entire fan base and clients should be aware that you are going to be on TV. But, do not release any details of what will be discussed. One, it will make people curious. Two, your goal is not to attract the most viewers, but to build credibility with your clients.

Before your segment is filmed, request a copy. News stations hate when asked for footage during or after a taping. The footage requested should be posted everywhere. Not every news station posts their interviews online, and even if they do, it will be gone into the internet abyss within a couple of days. All segments collected should be compiled in one folder on a company computer for later use.

Since the goal of your interview is to build the reliability of your brand, an employee should do a screenshot of the interview. A flattering and professional picture should be taken while the speaker is in speaking in front of the new station logo. Later, this picture should be applied to all social media accounts as the profile picture.

After the first interview, a company will have gained notoriety and established a relationship with journalists and news stations, hopefully beginning a long lasting connection.

   



The marketing departments of several big universities were recently asked what the goals were in recently launched social media campaigns. The three most common answers were to raise awareness, attract more students, and to strengthen the school’s reputation. How each university launches its message varies greatly. Some have embraced technology more than others. Being well versed in technology aids in relating to the 18-24 year old demographic most colleges are hoping to reach.

100% of all colleges in the United States are on at least one social media platform. Social media is the best way to organically bring together community, administration, and  students. There are some universities that have multiple accounts on one forum. An example would be Columbia University. Columbia has its main Columbia University Twitter page where general information is posted, then there are individual Twitter accounts for each department: business, science, admissions, etc.

When a university has multiple accounts under its name, it is important to implement university wide guidelines. It is worthwhile for each account to be unique and creative, but there are lines that cannot be crossed in order to maintain a sense of professionalism and uniformity. It is wise to hold university wide social media conferences.

These meetings allow account administrators to coordinate and construct posts in-sync. It is smart for universities to have a constant theme. A good idea is to always keep the university's mission statement in mind when posting. Picking three words from the mission statement to incorporate in every message help create a sense of unity.

The key to each department gaining the most followers is to be distinctive. There has to be a reason to follow that account aside from membership. A university cannot post the same press release on every account and hope for popularity. If every account does post about the same topic, each should put its own spin on the story.

Having its own account allows a department to showcase its capabilities, achievements, and expertise. Online is the perfect place to display awards, recognitions, events, and projects. Posting online allows users to promote before, during, and after an event. These individual accounts can be great resources for journalists.

When a school joins social media, it is important for posters to ask themselves: one, what do we want to achieve?; two, who are we targeting?; three, how should we measure our campaign’s progress and success?; and, fpur, how will be encourage interaction? A majority of students do not receive their news from the press, they discover announcements through social media. Since students rely heavily on social media, it is important that universities are proficient in utilizing them.

Having well formatted social media accounts can do a lot for a school. It can create interest, promote events, and make life easier for students and staff. Stanford University recently released iStanford. iStanford is an app for Stanford students that allows them to register for classes, read campus news, and access campus maps, plus more. Through iStanford, administrators can also post messages, notices, and warnings in seconds for the entire Stanford family to see.

In case of a disaster, having a well functioning social media system can save lives. In the event of a terror threat, a warning could be sent momentarily, alerting all students about what to do and where to go to stay safe. The internet is an excellent form of emergency contact.

After a public relations disaster such as a teacher-student sex scandal or a corruption sting, there are several procedures a school should put in place. First, encourage students not to leak any information. Second, advise staff where to redirect journalists and how to spot a journalist. Sometimes writers will pose as someone else to extract information from unsuspecting staff members. Also, if anyone would like to give a quote, it should be anonymous. “Individuals are considered innocent until proved guilty under our justice system; the media is not.”

Just like any other situation, it is critical how a school responds through social media. Schools need to project an image of caring. Students need to see that their administrators care about students beyond their wallets. Posts should extend farther than registration reminders. Stories about good things happening on campus are always quality material. When posting, quality should always win over quantity.

A school’s best public relations tool is the students and faculty themselves. Word of mouth is the best and most trusted form of marketing. A positive review from someone who attends the school is worth more than any press release. Students and staff are “an extension of a school’s brand.” Incoming students would trust a student-run blog documenting life at University of Delaware way more than a blog produced by a hired University of Delaware marketer.

How the school responds to students is also important. Three main actions a social media correspondent should take are to engage, listen, and respond. If a lot of time passes between posts, or response times are longer than being put on hold by Comcast, students will forget you. It is okay to not have an answer. However, it is important to still post a message announcing that an update will be released once more information has been gathered.

   



“America loves a comeback, it’s our favorite addiction.” Companies, countries, and celebrities all need strong public relations. All three make a living from their interactions with the public. When their relations are better, their bank accounts are fuller. Indeed, the biggest bank account is always an end goal. When their public image has been tainted, it is paramount that a celebrity fix the problem promptly and fully. One bad news story can completely ruin a career.

A perfect example is Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was a golf prodigy, and was described as one, if not the most successful golfer of all time. Tiger went pro at 20 years old. Tiger broke several records when he won the 1997 Masters tournament. Tiger was the number one golfer from 1999 to October of 2010. However, beginning in late 2009, his kingdom began to crumble.

Upwards of 120 women admitted to having sexual relations with the famed golfer. Following the media explosion following these revelations and his marital conflict, Tiger lost millions of dollars in endorsements. Some companies that severed their partnerships with Tiger include Gillette, AT&T, Gatorade, and General Motors. As a consequence of all the company retractions, shareholders were estimated to have lost roughly $10 billion.

Tiger has never recovered from these events. The bad press continued to pile up and his star has dimmed. His performance has slumped and he has never regained the millions of dollars in endorsements that he once enjoyed.  Other celebrities have rebounded from bad public relations and have returned to have extremely prosperous careers. Here are some examples:

  • Former United States President Bill Clinton: Bill Clinton won his first election as president in 1992 with 43% of the national vote. His lowest approval rating occurred in June of 1993, when he was only favored by 37% of the population. His highest approval rating was toward the end of his presidency in 1998, when his approval rating was over 70%. When Clinton left the oval office, he had a 68% approval rating, matching that of Ronald Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt.

Sixty-eight percent is an astonishing exit rating for someone who was facing impeachment and suffered a widespread cheating scandal during his presidency. So how did Bill come back from such a blow to his public image?  By stepping up his political game and manufacturing helpful results, he managed to win over the American public.

Bill Clinton’s presidency enjoyed the longest period of fiscal growth and created over 22 million jobs. It was under his presidency that the U.S. saw the highest percentage of home ownership, lowest unemployment rate since the 30 years leading up to his presidency, and had the lowest crime rate in almost 30 years.

Those are only a few of his remarkable accomplishments following the Lewinsky scandal. Results were what gave former President Clinton the ability to recover his public image. Today, he is well liked by the American people. Hillary Clinton considers him her secret weapon on the campaign trail. For his part, he is paid millions of dollars each year to attend speaking engagements.

  • Alex Rodriguez: Alex Rodriguez is a 14 time all star baseball player, who has earned three most valuable player titles, and one time world series champion, among countless other accomplishments. A-Rod has been classified as one of the best baseball players in MLB history. Until, it came into question how A Rod accomplished all of those amazing milestones.

In 2009, it was revealed that Alex Rodriguez had been taking illegal performance-enhancing substances. People began to question if those previously earned achievements would have been possible without drugs. Rodriguez admitted to dabbling in illegal substances for two years during his career, succumbing to the pressure to perform.

In the season following the steroids scandal, Alex Rodriguez led his team, the New York Yankees, to a world series win. After that, all was forgiven. As long as a celebrity can have a bigger and more positive media story, no one will remember the bad. Especially when it comes to sports, everyone wants to win.

Today, Alex Rodriguez is still one of the Yankees’ valued player, and a fan favorite. He was able to restore his public image by doing what he is good at, swinging the bat. He announced earlier this year that he will be retiring after the 2017 baseball season. He is expected to break several more records naturally before ending his professional sports career, naturally.


  • Eliot Spitzer: 54th Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer found himself in a public scandal in 2008. Spitzer graduated from Princeton University with a degree in international affairs before earning his law degree from Harvard. He eventually worked his way to the position of New York attorney general. Eight years later becoming governor of New York.

In 2008, the New York Times released a story documenting an extramarital affair that Eliot Spitzer had with a prostitute. The New York Times disclosed records of Spitzer interacting with the Emperor's Club, a high-end escort service. It is believed that over several years of service, Spitzer spent more than $80,000 on escorts through the Emperor's Club.

Former Governor Spitzer announced two days after the story’s release that he would be stepping down as Governor of New York. After his resignation, Spitzer removed himself from the spotlight. Eliot Spitzer re-emerged into the public eye in 2010 as a CNN analyst. Later, he began his role as a reporter for Slate magazine.

Spitzer was able to successfully reinvent himself. He was able to do this by quickly admitting his wrong, apologizing, stepping away, and starting new. Although he will most likely never hold a government position again, he does have a successful career now. His opinion is still respected and people are willing to forgive him.

Technology can help or hinder a celebrity’s public image. One slip up and it is plastered all over every news outlet the next morning. But, it can also be a great recovery tool. Social media allows celebrities to attach positive media to their name after a public relations mishap. Social media can also be used to calm the public. Following a public relations blunder, a celebrity can broadcast their apology directly on several different platforms, or their side of a story. If a celebrity is in trouble, he or she may hire a public relations team to work as internet fixers. The team would filter google, stop bad stories from being published, and assure that only positive stories regarding their client will be seen.

   

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