Event planning, networking, and more

Determining the best date to hold your event, new avenues for PR pros to network, and more

Determining the best date to hold your event, new avenues for PR pros to network, and more

Event planning

What should I consider when setting a date for an event?

There often isn't much flexibility for setting a date, but when there is, there are a few rules, says Jodi Wolf of Paulette Wolf Events & Entertainment. "The only no-no dates for conferences or meetings are the big holidays, including Christmas, New Year's, and Easter, as well as Super Bowl weekend," she notes.

Other factors to consider are weather, especially if the event is outdoors. "If you have flexibility on location, Florida and California are favorite destinations, but you'll probably want to avoid the summer months and hurricane season in Florida," Wolf says.

Compare your preferred day with your town's calendar to avoid dates when there's a major convention in town. If you want the event to be held at a certain venue, its availability will obviously be a factor.

If budget is a concern, Wolf says to avoid Saturday nights when prices are at a premium. Consider holding an event off-season rather than high season, she adds.

For a large event or one during December, try to schedule the date as far in advance as possible.

"Other considerations may be something as simple as a client's favorite flower," Wolf says. "Find out when it's in season, and pick a time when it is readily available."

Networking

What are some different ways for PR pros to network?

Specialized networking (SN) and internet networking (IN) are two of the hottest trends to get and stay connected with potential friends, clients, customers, colleagues, even employers, says Karen Berg of CommCore Strategies.

"Today's new SN meet-ups often bring together large groups of people with similar interests," she says. "Other SNs include themed parties around wine tasting, cooking, real estate, music, and singing." IN options range from e-mails to viral marketing.

Berg suggests looking at online networking services, such as those sponsored by online job sites, to expand your network.

She stresses, however, that one-on-one contact is critical to solidify any relationship.

"This means that the tried-and-true ways to meet people - conferences, professional meetings, strategic partnering, and collaborations - haven't gone out of style," Berg says. "Most important, target the people with whom you want to network, find a common ground, and create an opportunity to meet."

Photography

Where can I find a source of images for my travel project that is not supplied by a travel bureau, chamber of commerce, or bureau of economic development?

To find photos that ring true, researchers are using the power of the web these days, especially Google, to locate on-target pictures, says Rohn Engh of PhotoSource.

"If the travel article highlights a specific restaurant in Casablanca, or a particular museum in Ithaca, the article will ring true if it's accompanied by the exact building," he says. "A recent image is even more impressive."

If you don't want to do a text search and would rather do an old-fashioned image search, there are a couple extensive sites for actual travel images, such as www.painetworks.com and ir.yahoo.com/Travel/Photos.

"However, this invites laborious hand-searching, spending endless hours, wearing out eyesight, looking at generic images that might do for government work, but won't satisfy discerning readers," he says. "In most cases, these websites won't come close to supplying the exact picture you are looking for. A text search saves you time."

College media

With colleges almost back in session, how long should I wait before contacting college journalists? Is there typically a lag time between the beginning of the semester and publication schedule?

Go right ahead and start pitching them, says Lisa Bannerot of Collegiate Presswire.

"College journalists are back at their offices earlier than most students in order to research and write their back-to-school issues," she adds.

This year, most schools are welcoming their students back to campus during the last week in August or the first week in September.

"In preparation for the students' return, members of the newspaper staff arrive on campus roughly seven to 10 days beforehand to start writing and assembling the newspaper," Bannerot says. "The back-to-school issues will be on newsstands the day the students arrive."

PR Toolbox is edited by Erica Iacono, New York-based reporter for PRWeek. Submit questions to her at toolbox@prweek.com. Also, please contact her if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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