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For some reason weddings come in bunches for me (and, since I have been happily unmarried to one person for years, never include my own).

We went to one last weekend and are going to another in a few weeks.

Before a wedding you get an invitation, which gives you details, asks you what you want to eat, and often requires RSVP’ing. These days loads of folks have websites made for the big day.

Then there’s all kinds of interactions between the people going to the wedding. They chat on Facebook, the phone, Twitter, via email – often with the bride and groom playing a key role in the dialogue.

If you work in PR, you have likely seen the following scenario: An organization has an event. They want press, so they send a save the date a few weeks to a month before, then fire off 1-2 advisories the week of. They then have a bunch of juniors pound telephones in a panic the morning of the event. Most of this contact is done via unpersonalized blasts. The entire process is in SHARP contrast to the invite and leadup process around a wedding.

Weddings are clearly much more special than your next PR opp. However, you do not need to treat them that way, dear Flakian – in fact the dialogue and process leading up to a wedding is a good model for the process leading up to a PR event.

How can you make your next press event more like a wedding so that you can win the day and build good relations with media?

  1. Personalize the invite (a.k.a. the media advisory). Blasts to no one are as done as George W Bush’s approach to foreign policy. Modern PR means using people’s names.
  2. Before and after you send the invite engage via social in an unobtrusive manner. You should be following all target media on places like Twitter. Why wouldn’t you want to converse with them there.
  3. Be the hub of dialogue around the event. Brides, grooms, families and people in the wedding parties  play this role before a marriage, PR people need to do it before a media event. If you send a blast release and then go radio silent you aren’t a hub – you’re a button pusher.
  4. Make sure you provide info and contacts that drive pre event interactions. Those RSVP cards, picking food, setting up a website address are all vehicles that drive buzz and interaction around a wedding before it happens. You can use adapt these sorts of things to your PR event. Indeed you should.

People give a shit about their weddings. They claim to do the same about their press events. Somehow though, the evidence indicates that they don’t care about the latter. Surely behaviours around the former can inform actions around the latter.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Lori Wildman says:

    Really? George Bush’s approach to foreign policy? I thought I was going to read tips about how to promote my event better; not someone’s personal political opinion. There’s no place for that here.

  • Good job taking things RIGHT outta context.

    As to you’re ‘ no place for that here’ comment, do I need to remind you that this is MY blog? This means that there is actually ‘place’ ‘here’ for whatever the hell I – and the intelligent, valued members of this blog’s community – feel like.

  • Krista says:

    Hey Jaxx- how serendipitous your post this week builds on our discussion last week on promoting events! (and my upcoming nuptials this weekend 🙂 It illustrates how on a personal level, people often take the time to pay attention to their audiences (such as wedding guests) but are impersonal in professional settings (i.e. toward the media). There’s no need to lose out on the niceties in media relations, as it will help develop better relationships for future events and pitches.

  • Happy nuptials Krista. I am sure it will be a GREAT day 🙂

    As to the event-centric posts, there will be a few more over the coming week. I am to speak on event PR at an Association of Fundraising Professionals conference in Toronto and so am using this blog to kinda hash out some of the stuff I wanna touch on.

    As always, I appreciate your comment!

  • Hey everyone, I have experience in corporate PR and also owned my own bridal consulting business so I have learned alot from doing weddings. Thought it would be so simple after planning hundreds of customer forums, and incentive programs nationwide but no! The wedding event has blossomed into a $175 billion industry and why? Because it’s important to the consumer (bride and groom), is very emotional and tugs at our heart strings easily (why there are so many crazy tv related wedding shows) and ppl will pay a pretty penny to make their special day extra special. Definitely 2 different animals that can learn from one another..the social event vs. the corporate and I learned the hard way…could digress more on this if you’d like…thanks for the interesting topic, all the best, Elaine

  • Elaine,

    Thanks for stopping by. It is great to have insight from someone with your background. Appreciate the comment!

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