As soon as possible
Identify your goals, target audiences, and key messages.
Develop an agenda for the event, identify potential speakers, and prepare a budget and timeline, including promotion of the event and logistics (rented space or equipment).
Identify and contact potential partners and cosponsors.
Assemble a committee for building your event.
6–8 weeks prior to the event
Reserve space, including quiet space, for individual interviews.
Request a proclamation from local government officials, as appropriate.
Order materials, such as signs or banners, awards, and promotional take-home items such as lanyards, bookmarks, pens, and notepads.
4–6 weeks prior to the event
Identify community calendar contacts and their deadlines, and distribute your calendar announcement.
Recruit event volunteers, staff, and contractors (such as audiovisual technicians and photographers, as needed).
Arrange for equipment (if not provided by the venue). Equipment might include draped tables for exhibits, easels for signs, a podium, a stage or riser, microphones and a sound system, and a mult box or press bridge (a device that allows broadcast media to record directly from the sound system).
Create a guest list and invite the guests.
2–4 weeks prior to the event
Identify and prepare the media tools, which might include a media advisory, news release, backgrounder, fact sheet, and agenda.
Review your media list to ensure that it’s up to date.
1–2 weeks prior to the event
Send a media advisory.
Add information about the event to your Web site.
Send an event schedule, list of responsibilities, and site directions to staff and volunteers. Provide copies of all of the materials to anyone who will be responding to inquiries before, during, or after the event.
Assist speakers with developing their remarks, as needed.
Gather brief biographic information from each speaker for the moderator to use during introductions.
Check the status of the materials you’ve ordered, and make a checklist of supplies you’ll need onsite, such as pens, sign-in sheets, business cards, brochures, or other information about your program.
1 week prior to the event
Confirm space, volunteers, and equipment.
Distribute consent forms if you are videotaping, photographing, or otherwise recording the event. If children will be in attendance, signatures will be needed from their parents or guardians. Note: Consent forms are not required for news coverage.
Follow up with the media to confirm their receipt of the media advisory and to encourage them to attend the event.
Develop media kits, using the media tools created earlier.
1–2 days prior to the event
Resend the advisory to your media list.
Call your media targets.
Gather and pack supplies.
Make any necessary arrangements for responding to calls while you are at the event. Brief office staff, update your outgoing voicemail message, distribute your cell phone number, and inform staff about whether you will be calling in to check messages on the day of the event.
At the event
Greet media representatives when they arrive and ask them to sign in so you can track attendance.
Give every media person a media kit to take back to his or her office.
Introduce media representatives to your spokespersons for interviews.
After the event
Follow up on any special requests made during the event by the media and speakers. To expedite your response, call someone at the office and have them process the request while the event is still happening.
Send media kits to reporters who expressed interest but were unable to attend the event; this may result in coverage and could encourage them to attend the next event.
Check for coverage in newspapers, on the radio and television, and on the Internet.
Obtain contact sheets or prints from the photographer and order photos for your internal publications and to send to sponsors, partners, speakers, or special guests.
Write an article about the event for your organization’s newsletter or Web site and encourage partners and sponsors to do the same.
Send thank-you notes to reporters who attend. Tell them that you enjoyed working with them and hope to continue to serve as a resource for their reporting.
Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to publicly thank your volunteers for making the event a success, and ask the editor to consider the letter for publication.
Thank your sponsors, partners, and volunteers directly.