Event Marketing

The marketing of your event needs to be considered in the context of the marketing of your organisation in general. This event in itself is a marketing or promotional tool for your organisation.  Successful marketing of the event will take into account your event objectives and your target audience (their habits and the media they watch or listen to).

If your objectives are to thank members of your organisation then your marketing may not be as public and complex, though if part of your objective is to raise awareness of a cause then your marketing may include media releases, radio interviews and advertisements.

The timing of your marketing is also crucial; it’s no use getting a story done after an event if you are trying to attract people to attend.  Drawing up a timeline that outlines what sort of marketing / publicity you will conduct and the timing of it will be useful to ensure everything is done at the appropriate time.

Consider ‘branding’ your event.  Do you want a consistent look and feel to the publicity / promotion / marketing?  Consider this early on in your planning and try to incorporate it in all your marketing such as brochures, invitations and  website development.

Your marketing plan should take into account:                

Publicity – (also know as uncontrolled media) is the coverage given to the event by the media and there is usually no guarantee that it will be taken up.  It’s free and you usually target the editor or a local journalist to do a story for you.  It’s objective and is usually seen as providing third party endorsement of your event.  Types of publicity to consider include:

Preparing a Media Release

(more information on Media Releases later in these notes)

  • Feature stories
  • Provide photographs with captions
  • Radio/TV public service
  • Media kit
  • Interviews
  • Community notices – print and radio
  • Tips to columnists


Promotion and advertising – (also known as controlled media) publicity that is paid for in order to have control of the communication message.  Promotion and advertising should inform audiences about key details of the event (where it is, when, how much, why is it being held, contact information).  Paid promotion is often expensive, so it is worthwhile being creative with options.  Options include:

  • Brochures
  • Flyers / posters
  • Annual reports
  • Exhibits and displays
  • Paid advertisements
  • Direct mail
  • Websites and Internet


Sponsorship – an excellent way of obtaining resources or help for an event.  Not only are in-kind arrangements possible (prizes for a raffle), sponsors can also offer cash or discounted leasing of premises (room hire discount).  Some options include:

  • Having a radio station or a relevant magazine as a sponsor
  • Involving a school or institute which may design advertising material for the event as a course assignment
  • Sponsorship from a printing company who would then be featured on the promotional material (it is important to remember all sponsors should be featured on promotional material).


Media Types

Take into account your target audience when you are writing your story or deciding on your media campaign and target your story to the appropriate media.  Where do you want your story to appear, for example print media, local papers only, daily papers, specialist journals and magazines?  Council publications, radio?


  • Does your target audience listen to the radio, if so which station?
  • Contact the program producer and pitch your story
  • News bulletins run every hour
  • If they’re interested, find out how they want their information, fax, email or hard copy
  • Tailor your information to the particular radio station, different targets, and different spin on the information
  • Send your information and follow up
  • Speak directly with the producer about the interview / story opportunity



  • For a news story, speak to the Chief of Staff or Producer.
  • Fax through story opportunity
  • For a programme speak to the producer or researcher and pitch your story
  • If they are interested follow up with a written proposal in the format they request


Press – Dailies

  • Ideally, when do you want your story to appear, pre-publicity, on the event, post events – or all?
  • Speak to Chief of staff / Editor for news story
  • Speak to individual journalists or section editors
  • Fax your media release through, ring to see they’ve received it and to see if they’re interested in doing a story and / or photo shoot


Press – Locals

  • Ideally, when do you want your story to appear, pre-publicity, on the event, post event – or all?
  • Pitch your story no less than 2 weeks before
  • Organise a photo opportunity for 2 weeks before
  • Fax your media release through, ring to see they’ve received it and to see if they’re interested in doing a story and / or photo shoot
  • If yes, be reliable.  Relationships with local media are invaluable


Writing a Media Release

The idea of writing a Media Release can be scary but the ‘release’ is simply an information tool.  A media release is the best way to notify the media of an upcoming event or an important issue.  News outlets receive lots of releases each day so it is important that yours is topical and catches the editor and audience’s interests.

To be effective, your media release should be:

Concise           get to the point without rambling,  use short sentences and paragraphs

Clear               use plain English and avoid jargon, clichés and acronyms.  Don’t use technical terms without explaining what they mean.  Write the copy in the third person and use quotes whenever possible.

Accurate         check your facts and details.  Date the release clearly

Easy                make it easy to read and interesting.  Use positive words and phrases

Complete        do not leave out vital information.  List all contact information, including after hours numbers

Other tips include:

  • The heading should summarise the story in no more than half a dozen words
  • Your first paragraph should tell WHAT will happen:  WHERE it will take place:  WHY is Its occurring:  HOW, WHEN and for WHOM
  • Lead with your most interesting point – other points you wish to make should be placed in order of importance
  • Expect that only the first two or three paragraphs will be read
  • Ideally there should be one sentence per paragraph
  • Use humour if possible and quote someone important
  • Keep the media release short – best to keep it to one A4 page only
  • It is a good idea to attach a ‘fact sheet’ containing further information
  • To ensure your release goes directly to the right people, write the names of the relevant editors, Chiefs of staff or journalists at the top of the release before you fax it through
  • If there is an accompanying photo opportunity, let them know, make it interesting and creative, use celebrities if possible
  • Use the correct punctuation, grammar and spelling
  • Use 1.5 line spacing
  • Double check dates, times, venues, spelling of names, phone numbers
  • Once you’ve done all this, proofread, proofread, proofread.


Local Papers

For Advertisements

South Waikato News (07) 886 9159

  • Publication day is –  each Wednesday
  • Copy deadline is – each Friday before midday for Public Notices and Classifieds
  • Advertisements, book and provide copy the days prior
  • Specify you want a good page – ask where it is (odd numbered pages are always best)


For Editorial

  • Check recent editions of the papers for the name of the journalist likely to cover your type of story
  • Approach them no less than 2 weeks before the day you want your story to appear
  • Fax them a media release, follow up to ensure they got it then follow up again to see if they are going to do the story or take you up on your photo opportunity


Other Marketing Options

Community Services Announcements

Local newspapers and radio stations are often happy to promote your cause if you provide them with a community service announcement.  This should be about 60 words in length, containing details of the event you are planning.  A contact phone number should be given for any enquiries.

Photo Opportunities

Local newspapers are often on the lookout for a good photo opportunity.  If you’re planning an event think of how you can set up an interesting photo.  Let the media know by giving them details of the photo opportunity at the end of your media releases.

South  Waikato Community – Calendar of Events

You can add your event to Council’s Calendar of Events that is available on this website.  It’s FREE – you just need to fill in the online form available under the “Event’s calendar section