My account team and I spent all term planning Chalk It Up for our client, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. This was the event’s fourth year and has repeatedly been a successful event, so we had big shoes to fill.
Chalk It Up takes place on the Memorial Quad in the center of campus and encourages students to sign up for museum membership and spend time creating original chalk drawings on the sidewalks of the quad.
Our event resulted in one article of media coverage (http://around.uoregon.edu/content/fourth-annual-chalk-it-event-will-color-campus-walkways), three local sponsors, 90 new student members and 120 participants in total.
But how did we tackle planning, organizing and promoting this event to ensure its success? Timelines and measureable goals; that’s how.
If you’re a PR person—student or professional—you’ve heard it before: timelines are the key to planning.
I started with a giant “to do” list at the beginning of the term with general deadlines, and broke those lists into smaller timelines as tasks were checked off and the date approached. Timelines allow us to ensure that we complete everything on time. They are the reason we weren’t racing to find an extension cord for the popcorn machine or cups to put the sidewalk chalk in.
Yes, our event generated 90 new student members and 120 participants, but what does that mean? Was it a success?
My account team knows Chalk It Up succeeded because we, in partnership with our client, set a goal of 100 student participants. In fact, it was a 20 percent increase.
It is important to set measurable goals for any PR campaign or event so that you can define what success means and gauge if you were successful or not.
Many aspects drive a successful event, but we found that creating timelines that are updated along the way and setting measurable goals are the two most crucial organizational techniques.
What tricks and tips do you have for planning successful events? I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences!
– Kelly Miller is a senior majoring in public relations at the University of Oregon. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in event planning or hospitality PR. Connect with her on Twitter.