Monday, September 21, 2015

Check Your Calendar, Please...

It may seem logical to think it important to really, really, REALLY check your dates when planning an event or activity that requires publicity and coordination, right?

But life happens. As a result, busy people can - and often do - double book.

When working to get the various pieces in place to make sure the event goes smoothly, your public relations team usually plans from the scheduled event date backwards. In other words, targets for media release "send by" dates and the amount of notice needed for booking a facility or caterer are picked based on when your shindig is happening. Moving the date in either direction can cause a domino effect of chaos for your event planner and major difficulties for guests, viewers and anyone else who also has a schedule to keep.

Publicity requires a lot of ball juggling and includes anything and everything from sending guest invites to coordinating a social media campaign. If you didn't notice that your niece's bat mitzvah is on the same day as the launch for your new product because you forgot to check your calendar, changing the date could mean that guest speakers won't make it or the hall you wanted is unavailable - tantamount to an absolute disaster. If your PR specialist has even one other client (and most do), you've just wasted a great deal of his/her time by making him or her have to go back and re-do much of the tasks already checked off of the "to-do" list.

Time is such a precious commodity. Assuming your PR specialist has more of it to burn than you do is not good. Thinking that way will lead to frustration and is a definite way to make him or her vow never to work with you again.

When you and your PR specialist sit down for your initial planing meeting, the first thing s/he will probably discuss with you is the date you had in mind. Be as specific as you can - then come up with a few tentative dates to work with. Pencil them ALL in, then check with everyone you need to (co-workers, spouses, bandmates, babysitters, et. al) to make sure those dates are actually free before you decide definitively on the event specifics. And if you sign off on a date and find out later that it absolutely will not work, let your PR team know as soon as humanly possible. Be sure to add lots and lots of apologies as well. There still may be quite a bit of freaking out, but a total salvage is much, much easier when more time to make adjustments is given.

But the best way to avoid the panic and scramble is to plan accordingly and check your calendar. An ounce of prevention most definitely beats a pound of cure in PR land.

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