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PR and communications are important to help you raise awareness of your event and sell tickets. Developing a PR / communications plan will help you to:

  • manage your reputation
  • deliver key messages to new and existing customers
  • increase visibility of your event

Developing a plan involves the production, distribution, and measurement of strategically planned content. Usually, this content is designed to support your overall business goals.

Please note that this page can only offer you a broad overview of how to develop a PR / communications plan. This is because all events differ in terms of size, objectives, audiences, and budget.

1. How to structure your communications plan

When writing a PR / communications strategy and plan, we'd recommend you use the following OASIS model: 

  • Objectives

    Which goals are you trying to achieve? To set yourself up for success, make sure these goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-orientated.

    Your objectives should link into and help you achieve your organisation's overall objectives. 

    Examples are: 

    • achieve 10 pieces of coverage about the new performance stage for local artists in Scottish media titles within three months. This aligns with our objective to use the festival as platform for local artists. 

    • organise and manage a local media call for the programme launch, which results in coverage in at least two local titles, within a week of launch date 

    • maintain or increase size of following / reach / engagement on said social media channel by 10% over the course of the year

  • Audience insight

    When thinking about communications, your audience should be your main focus. This will help you determine which aspects of your event to highlight, what tone of voice to use, and which channels are most appropriate. Some to consider:

    • who is your potential audience?
    • how are you going to engage them?
    • what do you want them to know?
    • what action do you want them to take? 

    It's also good to identify stakeholders (funders, local authorities, volunteers), and media (print, radio, TV). Relationship building with all these groups is key. So is keeping a record of publication deadlines.

    Read more about how to identify your target audience.

  • Strategy

    This is how you will meet your objectives and leads into the tactics you will use to achieve them e.g. channels, audience, and key messages.

    Don't forget to outline your timeline, budget and resources available and tie them to specific tactics in your plan. Even if you are on a very limited budget, press releases, and social media can be very effective if they are targeted at your audience.

    Make sure to identify any roles and responsibilities for your communications plan.

  • Implementation

    What tactics (content creation, press releases, social media posts, etc.), actions, and channels do you need?

    It’s important to include your wider partner channels to help amplify your messaging and reach. Make sure to monitor performance across channels to understand which are most effective.

    Read more about how to use different channels.

  • Scoring

    How can you evaluate and measure success? Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your plan. This can include results on reach, engagement, media coverage, or sentiment analysis.

    Try and measure the success as you go along to make sure you are on track to achieving them. This way, you can adjust activity if something is not working well.

2. How to attract media interest

Your communications strategy should focus on best ways to attract media interest.

Promoting your event to the media

You want to promote your event to the correct audience. Involving the media can help achieve this. Here are some ideas:

  • invite a local journalist to attend your event, offering them free tickets or a sneak preview a day or two before
  • invite the local newspaper photographer along to capture the event
  • share a press release with your local news desk(s) encouraging them to promote the event and drive footfall
  • send an eye-catching picture with your story – if the publication doesn’t have room for a full release, they might publish a photo caption instead
  • offer an interview with someone who is knowledgeable about the subject of the event and confident in speaking to the press

Identifying media opportunities

Make sure you look for anything that's newsworthy and will help you create interest from the media. Consider the following:

  • strong spokespeople: do you have any industry experts who could chat in depth about the subject of your event? 
  • awards or milestones: has your organisation recently won an accolade or are you celebrating an anniversary?  
  • one-off events: is your event the first of its kind?
  • legacy after the event: for example, will there be new infrastructure that will benefit the community?

Remember that some opportunities may only be of interest at a local level while others will have national interest. Journalists receive a lot of press releases so be specific and try to only send them relevant and interesting information.

Developing your press release

There are many templates with examples online which may best fit your objectives. Key components of a press release are:

  • headline: a concise and attention-grabbing title that brings your news to life
  • date: the date of your press release, typically placed at the start. You can time the release to fit with your plans, such as launch event or a website publication. 
  • introduction: the lead paragraph provides the most important information upfront. It should grab the reader's interest with key points of your news.
  • body: this section will offer specific information and further detail. You can also include supporting quotes from your organisation or your partners.
  • call-to-action: this can be used if a specific action is needed, such as visiting a website, purchasing tickets, or registering for updates.
  • media contact information: this section should include the name, title, phone number, and email address of a contact who can respond to media enquiries

3. How to create a crisis plan

For any event, you also need a plan for what to do in case of a crisis. Think about certain scenarios that would negatively impact your event, for example: 

  • organisational 
  • financial 
  • extreme weather events 
  • medical emergencies 

Though a crisis always carries an element of uncertainty, you can already craft pre-approved responses to broad crisis categories. It’s also good to appoint a spokesperson beforehand who has experience addressing the media.

Should a crisis occur, it’s important to act quickly and have a clear consistent message across all your channels. Also, think about what messaging and tactics you need to deploy for internal and external audiences. You may also want to pause or cancel any campaign activity or planned social media posts when a crisis hits.

As the crisis unfolds, it’s good to monitor your social media to see how your audience is reacting and respond accordingly.


A crisis communications plan should include:

  • its purpose
  • an overview of your approach
  • your communication priorities
  • a clear structure with defined roles and responsibilities of each person involved, and the decision-making process
  • the channels you will use
  • stakeholder engagement
  • how the plan will be delivered (resourcing)
  • review and evaluation

4. Useful resources to promote your event

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