Gemma and I initially met with JR and Jocelyn to discuss the details of the event. I felt quite intimidated as this was my first professional experience being responsible for the communications of an event. There was so much information; it was hard for us to process at first. Once we had some time to digest all the material, we divided the responsibilities. Samantha and Erin are responsible for the social media, creating a media list and writing media releases; Gemma is responsible for organizing JR and setting up meetings with the musicians and media; and I am responsible for writing a sponsorship letter, contacting sponsors for decorations for the venue and presale inquiries. We have all partaken in these responsibilities to assist each other so we can produce the best material possible.
Initially, this whole situation seemed surreal – coordinate the communications for a personality well known in Hamilton. I took this as an opportunity to learn public relations in a real life situation. Over the last three weeks working with JR and his team, I have learned that communications in the real world is very time sensitive. I will probably be stating the obvious, but spelling and grammar are extremely important!!
Now JR taught us that for media releases – the best time to send them are around 9:30-10am. The rationale is that this is the time many people are checking their emails, after they have got into the office and got their coffee. This is the way to ensure that your email is the most recent on their list and doesn’t get buried in a long list in their inbox of other media releases.
Also, make journalists, editors and producers your best friends! If you have the opportunity to chat with any of these people for an initial meeting, do it! This is the beginning of a good relationship. You can continue to build your relationship with people involved in the media by sending out a friendly email, phone call or ask to grab a coffee quickly. This will instill that you have an interest in the individual and therefore, build a relationship. In the event that you need to send out a future media release or announcement you will now have a friend to send it to!
We have encountered a few obstacles, but are working our way through it. JR has been very pleased with the work we have done thus far. Currently, we are still working towards running a very successful event and are able to practice the work we have completed in our assignments and class. This is an incredible experience and I suggest if anyone has the opportunity for volunteer work that challenges you – take it and prove yourself!