Large-scale events, be they a Wampanoag ball, Rappaport Roundtable or City Council meeting, tend to involve a lot of attendees, and if you’re lucky, a lot of media who have ultimately come to plaster the event on their respective news pages or websites.
Yet PR practitioners must take into account the rodeo-esque atmosphere that surrounds them at any given time during these events, as multiple reporters and photographers are prone to suddenly disperse to chase after their desired source or shot. That’s when the metaphorical public relations wrangle ropes come into play and you’re suddenly in lasso mode.
The trick here is to be alert at all times and monitor all situations with a 360 degree mindset to ensure your client isn’t caught in a compromising or uncomfortable position. Therefore, you need to be constantly on the lookout. At larger events, clients and event organizers already have a keen sense that the media wants to have access to them, but the last thing they want is to be caught off-guard. You’re the go-between and ultimately it’s your presence and quick action that can contribute to an event’s flawlessness.
Thus, when you’re present at an event, it’s best to have a course of action at the ready to ward off straying media. Approach photographers and reporters casually; identify yourself; learn more about who it is they are hoping to interview or photograph; and then lead the way as the point person between them and the client. Most importantly, smile and offer your assistance however you can. This goes a long way toward building professional relationships and putting out backfires before they even begin.
Sometimes, certain elements of an event are off limits to media – it’s your job to ensure media follows and respects these rules. It will save an ongoing struggle in the future if an unpublishable item just happens to gets printed. Staying on your toes and keeping media contained ensures a good professional time will be had by all, including yourself as the public relations mastermind behind and in the scenes.
– Team Paula