Creating “buzz” about a business poses a challenge owners can’t escape. Rarely does such word-of-mouth promotion just happen. But when it does, it’s amazingly effective. Most businesses must create their own buzz and word-of-mouth excitement. It takes strategy, quite a bit of creativity and usually involves giving something away.
This is where pseudo events come into play. In public relations, pseudo events are created every day to generate excitement around businesses and client companies. A pseudo event is any event that doesn’t occur naturally, but rather is created by the promoter.
Pseudo events include customer appreciation events and various types of promotions. In Fruita, businesses joined together to create a treasure hunt game. Whoever finds the cash prize gets to keep the money. This type of event creates buzz and draws new customers to participating businesses. Another pseudo event I recently attended was created by a real estate agent who hosted a barbeque in the city park with free hamburgers and inflatable play areas for the kids. The agent invited her clients, but the event created such attention that people from all over town showed up to participate.
Pseudo events offer fantastic promotions that can cost less that many advertising packages. But when you pair a pseudo event with an advertising campaign, the results can exceed expectations.
Once your team has created an idea for a pseudo event, talk about it with members of your target audience. Determine if the event is something they’d like to attend. Another great way to attract media attention to an event is to pair it with a fund-raiser for a non-profit group. Pairing the event with the right non-profit legitimizes the event and gives people a reason to care. Of course, if an idea is unique enough, it attracts attention on it’s own.
To publicize your event and ensure attendance and promotion — that’s really what this is all about — it’s possible to follow a very specific formula.
Send out a news release that details the event, including the who, what, when, where and why. Remember to include your contact information and note it as the media contact. You can e-mail, mail or hand deliver your release. Mark it clearly as a news release and include the date of release.
In drafting the release, write from an unbiased angle. Don’t write: “Come down to the fund-raiser at XYZ Corp., where we make the best ice cream cones in town.” Instead, write: “At XYZ Corp., we believe in giving back to our community. In this spirit, we’re donating a portion of our ice cream cone profits to ABC charity.”
To create a media contact list — the news reporters to whom you’ll send your news release — go to the Web sites of the media entities and find reporters who specialize in your industry or who would be interested in your event.
Sending invitations directly to your clients offers a great way to make sure your most important customers attend. Send invitations by e-mail, text messaging or traditional mail. If you operate a service agency, you probably already have this information. If you operate a product-based business, there are ways to gather this information. Most customers will sign up for a mailing list if there’s something in it for them.
Be sure to announce the big event on your social media outlets and encourage your friends and followers to continue the promotion. When executed correctly, this promotional method can be the most effective. To execute it correctly, though, you’ll need to have a strong social media presence and following.
Finally, promoting the event on all of your pre-made media channels is imperative. Put an update on your Web site, place a poster on your front door, hang a banner outside your building. Don’t discount these methods, because they’re complementary to the event promotion.