Last week, in my fundamentals of public relations class, we discussed event planning. I was really excited to talk about it in class and was even more excited when we got to do a small assignment where we came up with a theme, timeline, venue, budget allocations, etc. for an event that happens on GVSU’s campus called the Superior Awards. When I was in high school I had big dreams of strictly being a wedding planner, but after finding out exactly what that job was all about and learning more about what PR is, I started to become more interested in working for a PR firm in event planning & management.
Something I first asked myself when I started to become interested in a mix of event planning and public relations, was how do the two interchange or work together? In a blog post written by Michele Spiewak, account director at Rhino Public Relations, she says, “Public relations – through traditional and new channels – can effectively generate ticker sales and attendance, secure sponsors and advertisers, create a buzz of excitement and public awareness, and encourage media to attend and/or cover the event” (2012). Public Relations is such a broad career and there are so many different parts to it, but one thing PR does is communicate. Event planners can use PR to communicate their messages for the event through a number of channels including, “media outreach, social media, e-mail marketing, and web site updates” (Spiewak, 2012). And by starting this communication early, an event planner can secure publicity. Spiewak says, The writers and photographers who attend local galas and charity events have packed schedules that fill up well in advance. Get on their radar early to secure their interest and attendance” (2012). Being an organized event planner with some PR tricks in your toolbox can make all the difference in the success of an event.
Even though it seems as if having a strong PR background would make event planning easier, I have heard from a lot of people and professors that work in the field, that event planning is VERY stressful. And who wants to be stressed out, because stress causes pimples, and who wants pimples? Not me. BUT, after reading a blog titled Ten Reasons why I love working in events by Michael Heipel Concept & Consulting, I found some reassurance in pursuing a job in event planning. Heipel makes the point that, “Nothing ever stays the same, Every event is different, and reinventing the wheel is part of our fantastic journey as event organizers” (2014). I could see this being one of the reasons the career is so stressful, but also why people like it because it becomes a challenge to stay up to date and to be creative in more than one way. Heipel says the the type of creative you use in event planning isn’t necessarily the same creative you would use in an advertising agency, and that in event planning, creative work is on “…multiple levels: meeting design, interaction design, web advertising, email marketing, social media, print advertising, sponsorship campaigns…There is not end for creative ideas!” (2014). And the last point that gives me hope in enjoying a career in event planning is the point Heipel makes about bringing people together. He says that, “those are the kind of events are success when people meet, learn together, get inspired and leave the event doing things differently than before. Hopefully better than before” (2014). I think this would be the most rewarding part of working in event planning; seeing that an event you worked on was successful.
Another possible stress of event planning can be how to start planning. In Louise Freeman’s Alaska Business Monthly article, she explains to “Start with the big picture” (2011). Instead of jumping right to the specifics like dates, catering, and location, planners need to understand the event overall and what they are trying to accomplish by holding the event. Michele Speiwak also backs this idea of having a big idea or what she calls a “hook” to “give people (including the media) a reason to attend” (2012).
Although event planning seems like a stressful job, it seems as if that is what makes it fun for those who have careers in it and enjoy it. The fast pace and ever changing atmosphere of PR makes event planners be creative and think on their feet. Call me crazy, but working for a PR firm in event planning & management is still my dream job until someone gives me a REALLY good reason (fingers crossed nobody does) to change my mind.
Freeman, L. (2011). Event planning tips: ensuring attendees return next year. Alaska Business Monthly, 27(7). Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/ps/i.do? p=AONE&u=lom_gvalleysu&id=GALE%7CA261386387&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon& userGroup=lom_gvalleysu&authCount=1#