How to plan a successful PR event

Organising and executing a PR event that gets people talking for all the right reasons is no mean feat. It requires careful planning and detailed management of a diverse range of aspects from venue selection through to budget management. The devil really is in the detail…

Below are our top tips to help you pull off a media event par excellence:

  1. Set clear objectives

Ask yourself why you are organising this event: consider KPI’s that may have been set and think about what is it that you want to achieve. Are you launching a new product or service? Promoting a brand? Building awareness of an existing one? Are you trying to build on existing relationships or develop new ones?

  1. Develop a budget

This will provide you with a financial plan for the event. The budget should be specific and broken down into sections such as venue hire, food/drink, entertainment, staffing, and miscellaneous costs, such as invitations. As well as these costs, include details of anything that may be provided complimentary from sponsors or clients e.g. collateral. When developing a budget, expect the unexpected; extra expenses will come up – so plan for these.

  1. Get down to details

It’s helpful to break everything down into segments:

Overall event… Is the intention to create an intimate event or a party on a larger scale? Think about what you want the look and feel of the event to be –  will there be a theme? How many people are you expecting to attend? Consider the format of the event: will you begin with welcome drinks and move through to another room for a sit-down dinner, or will it be a standing networking event? Will the event be indoor or outdoor?

Venue… Are you looking for a purpose-built venue or perhaps a space, such as a warehouse or marquee, which could be used as a blank canvass and dressed to fit your theme? If so, have you considered the hidden costs for this in your budget, such as additional furniture hire, electrical supply and catering; not just the food but chefs, waiting staff and equipment hire?

Food and Drink… What food and drinks will be served (e.g. canapés, buffet style, a sit-down dinner)? What kind of drinks will be available? Think about how will they be served. Do you intend to serve alcohol?

Entertainment…Are you planning a speaker or entertainment? If so, do they have special technical requirements or need help with other arrangements such as transport or accommodation?

  1. Write a checklist

Once you have thought about the details, write a checklist of things that you consider vital to organising and executing your event. This will help eliminate sites that do not meet your top-line requirements when researching potential venues and help you create a shortlist.

  1. Visit the venues

The location and site of your event is critical for success and there are many factors to consider with each venue. The creation of your basic checklist enabled you to come up with a shortlist. Ahead of visiting each of these, it is helpful to write a list of questions you wish to ask to see if it meets more specific requirement you may have.

These could include:

  • Cost – what exactly does the hire fee include (e.g. furniture, catering, staffing, food and drinks?)
  • What is the capacity or the room or venue?
  • Entertainment – if you need a stage or special equipment, will this be included in the venue hire? Do they have this equipment available or will this need to be sourced elsewhere?
  • What is your food and drink budget per head? Will it cost more for guests with special dietary requirements?
  • What time can you access the space to set up and is there a set time they require the event to have finished?

Meticulously thinking about your objectives and requirements in the initial planning stages should help minimise unexpected difficulties you may face along the way – and ensure a hugely successful PR event.


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