About five years back, a fellow PR consultant was working with a Chicago-area company eager to construct a public relations-and-marketing campaign around one big event in the city. Make a major splash, get major results--or so went the general thinking.
I urged my colleague to steer against that course of action. Why? Because the only “major” scenario that had a great chance of happening was disappointment.
Without a high-profile celebrity or some other dominant news hook that would command slam-dunk attention, there were too many competing elements that threatened to sabotage their grand idea for attracting an audience (of prospective clients and media reps).
Among the leading potential pitfalls are:
Unanticipated news developments. Every hour, let alone each day, brings a new wave of news, and grandiose events as this company envisioned demand weeks, if not months, of advance planning. So media, especially television, will show up only if nothing else surfaces to topple your news.
Bad weather. Like funeral attendance, inclement weather can rain on your PR parade. You’ve got to respect the power of Mother Nature to hold significant sway on whether any given person shows up.
Beyond the risk of having an event that fizzles is the depletion of resources toward effectively operating your business and the day-to-day benefits that flow from connecting with prospective clients.
It takes real time and money to plan and then execute a public event, from the cost of renting hotel or conference space, advertising the affair and related fees like a catering bill (if you want to pull in people, feeding them can play a huge role).
One of the foremost rules of investing is diversification. Most multimillionaires would never entertain the idea of putting their entire fortune in one particular investment--if it were to go south, then they could lose it all. When it comes to investing time in income-earning pursuits, much the same approach is recommended by World Wide Group (WWDB), a training-and-development organization that helps people build their businesses with Amway.
And as Amway Diamond Dave Severn has frequently pointed out, time is an even more valuable treasure than money, so it makes even more sense to protect your time, and be more of a time investor than spender.
Translated to the public relations arena, expending so much of your time capital in a swing-for-the-fences event is brimming with peril. So, rather than put all your eggs in a time-and-place basket, strongly consider holding multiple smaller events throughout the region.
Each event would provide an opportunity for localized media coverage for pre-event and post-event publicity, as well as coverage of the event itself. In addition, having smaller events dispersed throughout the area would make it more convenient for a larger pool of prospects to attend.
Just as we don’t gorge on one meal a day, then starve ourselves for the rest of the time, when it comes to public relations that hinge on getting people to a given place at a pre-appointed time, think in terms of smaller, but more frequent occasions.