You work hard on maintaining relationships with your attendees and sponsors. But what about the press?

The better your relationship with the press, the more media coverage your event will get. And the more press you get, the more people will discover your event and decide to attend. So how do you build key relationships with journalists?

Here are five steps to forge a positive relationship with the press.

1. Repurpose your press release

You probably put effort and maybe even some money into creating and sending a great press release. Cash in further on those efforts. After you’ve sent your press release to the media contacts on your wish list, there are several ways to repurpose it:

  1. Submit it to a free or inexpensive press-release distribution service. In addition to helping spread the word online, this can have a positive effect on your press release’s search-engine ranking.
  2. Post it on your own website under a “news” section to make it easy to find and to enhance your site’s SEO (search engine optimisation).
  3. Attach it to your next email newsletter.

You never know when and for whom your press release will pique interest. Get it out there, and it may take on a life of its own.

2. Extend a warm welcome

Getting press attention for your event is really a two-pronged effort:

  1. Letting people know about your event in advance so that you sell more tickets
  2. Getting journalists to show up at your event and cover it

Getting journalists to show up at your event takes more than a formal press release. Instead, consider sending a personalised and very warm welcome to those on your wish list. They often get hundreds of invites a week, so you’ll need to make yours stand out.

If it’s practical, consider delivering a press pass or even a VIP pass straight to their desk. At the very least, take the time to compose a thoughtful, well-written email expressing exactly why this individual should attend:

I’ve noticed you often tweet about your favourite band, NAME OF BAND. Well, you’re in luck. They’re headlining our show!

Get creative. A little research and creativity can go a long way toward grabbing someone’s attention.

3. Invent a giveaway

You’ve probably heard radio stations do giveaways of free tickets to upcoming events. They aren’t just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. Chances are, a promoter sent the station tickets and asked them to conduct the giveaway. And the station was happy to oblige because free stuff is a great way to get people to pay attention! This symbiotic relationship makes the radio station look generous and gives the event brand a great PR boost.

This tactic extends beyond radio. You can contact a popular website, TV station, or another type of publication and ask them to give listeners/readers/viewers tickets to your show. And social media giveaways are one of the most popular tactics for spreading awareness these days.

4. Wield your social media wisely

When it comes to PR, social media is a pivotal element. Ideally, you have someone on your team heading up a purposeful social strategy to promote your next event. Now circle the press into that strategy.

Nearly every journalist and certainly every publication has a Twitter account these days. Any time you get a press mention you should post, snap and tweet about it — and make sure to tag that person and publication. This doesn’t just amplify the reach of the press mention. It’s also a “thank you” to those who wrote about you.

5. Never give up

So your A-list of media contacts isn’t panning out so well? Don’t get discouraged! Smaller news outlets you may not have considered pitching to at first could actually be great sources of PR for your event.

Often, local publications and blogs offer event listings and calendars that you want to be listed on. Local media, and particularly bloggers, sometimes have an impressively large audience, too. And if you can land articles in smaller outlets — local news or modest blogs — there is potential for them to snowball into bigger press mentions.

Of course, even with all this preparation, the best-laid plans can go awry. Learn how to salvage your relationships in the case of a PR fiasco by reading How to Avoid Social Media Backlash.