A Publicist’s Guide to Event Planning

A great event take planning. Double Forte's Guide to Creating Events That Matter  Credit: iStock

There comes a time in every publicist’s life when you will need to plan an event. Whether it be a happy hour, a rooftop yoga class or a product launch party, events are an inevitable part of the job. Events can be tons of fun, but if you’re not the planning type the situation may have you stressed. Not to worry! Here are Double Forte’s tips & tricks for throwing a successful event. 

Address the Event 5 Ws

  • Who is the target audience? Influencers? Media? Potential customers? Boomers? Millennials? Narrow this down and the next steps will start to fall into place.
  • What is the event? A cocktail reception? A sit-down dinner? Foraging in the woods? (no, really – are you foraging in the woods?) Get specific on what will be taking place and how you want the event to flow.
  • When will the event take place? You want to choose an optimal time based on your audience. Weekends are tough because people have plans or don’t feel obligated to attend a business event. Thursday’s are always a solid choice – people are getting into the weekend mindset and are more likely to accept your invitation. Gauge your audience to make sure you don’t start too early or too late, keeping in mind work hours and travel time.
  • Where is the event taking place? Does your client have a good space, or do you need to book a venue? If it’s the latter, choose a venue that your target audience won’t want to miss, and remember to reserve your space ASAP.
  • Why are you throwing this event? Usually, the reason is to bring awareness to your client/brand, and the next tip is crucial to hooking your audience.

Choose Your Event Talk Trigger

A talk trigger is an experience that will create conversations.

How are you going to get your guests talking? What will make them share your brand with others? We would all love it if this was as easy as pouring impeccable wine or serving delicious canapés, but in a saturated market, a gimmick is often needed. Think of how you can directly involve your audience with your brand – a social media giveaway, a personalized gift bag, an icebreaker that gets them interacting with each other. Bottom line your job is to create an experience that sticks with them after the event in a positive way.

Be Prepared

Remember anything that can go wrong at an event, will. So have your checklist at the ready! Make sure you know who’s providing what, and if there’s any uncertainty, make sure you bring it. Think of all the details: ice, glassware, flowers & candles, Lyft credits for guests – leave no stone unturned and you’ll set yourself up for success.

Know the Run-of-Show

When you’re getting down to the wire, make sure your team and your client’s team knows the run-of-show. Know what time people are arriving, when you want drinks to be passed, when the talk trigger will take place, and when you need your guests to hit the bricks. After all, a meeting without an agenda is a bad party, and this is no different.  


Last But Not Least…

HAVE FUN! Yes, you’re working, but it’s important to have fun and socialize, plus it will make the event more fun for your guests they see you enjoying yourself. Rule of thumb: hold off on the drinks until your boss has one. 

Need more? Read more about event planning, here and here.

-Clare Redlick

Recommended reading: We read Jay Baer’s Talk Triggers last year in the  Double Forte Book Club. Read and Apply!