Media Magic on a Shoestring

Media Magic on a Shoestring: Craving media attention to elevate your event but lacking the financial wiggle room for a PR agency? It’s the age-old chicken-and-egg dilemma for freelance event organizers.

The remedy, however, isn’t elusive—it merely requires you to, well, hatch a plan.

Embracing a do-it-yourself (DIY) strategy for PR demands meticulous planning, unwavering determination, and resilience.

Nevertheless, it’s entirely feasible to garner substantial coverage without breaking the bank.

Seeking insights from seasoned event organizers and PR maestros, we’ve gathered a treasure trove of tips and advice for cost-effective event promotion.

Create an event people want to talk about

Sebastian Boppert, Director of International Communications emphasizes the importance of crafting a sentence that intrigues, something that could captivate someone at a party.

Take the case of Big Fish, Little Fish, the mastermind behind family-friendly raves that evolved into a global phenomenon since its UK launch in 2013, subsequently expanding to Australia and the US.

Founder Hannah Saunders attributes their success to international press coverage, without ever enlisting the services of a professional PR company.

She affirms, “Our best promotion is the events themselves.”

For Big Fish, Little Fish, perfectly curated DJs resonate with their audience—former ravers now navigating parenthood.

Swiftly adapting to virtual parties during the pandemic served as a welcomed diversion for families confined at home.

Their exponential press coverage owes its origins to word of mouth, customer loyalty, and viral social media posts.

In parallel strategies, some organizers seamlessly integrate PR hooks into their programming.

This may involve theming events around upcoming anniversaries, incorporating trending elements, or featuring noteworthy speakers and performers.

Seed Talks, a UK-based organization, orchestrates engaging discussions with academics spanning diverse subjects, from quantum physics to psychopaths.

Founder William McLean underscores the pivotal role of timing and topic selection in standing out amidst a saturated market.

“We’re currently striving to generate 300 ideas by year-end,” William shares. “Achieving five successful, recurring events from this pool would be a significant success.

The optimal moment for us is when a topic begins surfacing in the public sphere and garnering press attention. That’s the opportune time to integrate it into our program.”

Ensure you are PR-ready

Recognizing the time constraints of journalists and influencers is paramount. Ensuring easy access to pertinent information and conveying the worthiness of your event for coverage is crucial.

In the realm of publications and influencers, the significance of high-quality imagery and video cannot be overstated.

Therefore, meticulous preparation of shareable assets is imperative.

William from Seed Talks emphasizes their efficiency in this aspect, stating, “We maintain a meticulously organized file of our top event images and artwork on Google Drive.

Instead of crafting a customized folder for each request, I simply send journalists a link—it takes fifteen seconds.”

Demonstrate your value authentically. For event organizers, this might involve amplifying positive reviews on social platforms, spotlighting sponsors on your website, or sharing snippets of media coverage.

Big Fish Little Fish, for instance, dedicates a ‘Rave Reviews’ section on its website to showcase press clippings.

Additionally, journalists are drawn to compelling origin stories. If you have one, prominently feature it on your website’s About Us page or, even more engagingly, create a reel and archive it as a ‘highlight’ on Instagram.

Compile a bespoke media roster

If journalists and influencers aren’t gravitating toward your event, it’s time to take the initiative. Crafting an effective strategy demands precision.

Kitty Boyle, Account Director at the PR agency The Romans, suggests honing in on publications directly resonating with your target audience.

“For instance, if you’re organizing a workshop tailored for mothers, align your outreach efforts with targets that cater to that demographic.

This information is readily accessible, as publications frequently furnish online media packs that delineate their audience profile for prospective advertisers.”

Tailor your target list based on the theme of your event. For a music-centric occasion, actively seek out music journalists on public platforms.

If your event delves into financial matters or pensions, focus on those covering consumer affairs.

The ideal publications are those resonating with both your target audience and event theme, making them your primary point of contact.

BFLF ensures its outreach to the press and influencers are finely tuned to the local context.

Regional managers adeptly approach local media outlets armed with a profound understanding of their audience’s interests.

Sebastian recommends a hyperlocal approach when engaging influencers: “Compile a list of micro-influencers in your area who align with your audience and may be interested in spotlighting your event.” It’s noteworthy that micro-influencers, with fewer than 100K followers, often boast higher engagement rates compared to their higher-follower counterparts.

Additionally, nano-influencers, with fewer than 10K followers, could also be an excellent fit for your event.

Make it personal

Personalizing your approach is pivotal. It signals to the recipient that you’ve conducted thorough research and value their time.

When reaching out to editors, emphasize why your event aligns with their audience’s interests and pinpoint specific editorial sections or series where your event could feature.

Kitty advises, “Editors prefer editorial content over advertorial. Highlight how your event taps into cultural touchpoints and boasts any newsworthy or exclusive elements.”

An alternative strategy involves leveraging connections associated with your event who have established press contacts.

William from Seed Talks attests, “One of our most effective approaches is partnering with a venue deeply connected to the local community with robust PR contacts.

We provide the venue with event artwork and details for them to share with their contacts.”

Think long-term

While it’s tempting to focus on immediate PR needs, adopting a more strategic perspective can yield enduring results.

Nurture your connections; it could be as straightforward as a coffee meeting or as elaborate as hosting a media mixer quarterly.

Sustaining PR momentum during event lulls poses a challenge for organizers. To counter this, position yourself as an expert on topics related to your event by engaging with journalists on Twitter or notifying journalists of your availability for commentary.

Throughout these approaches, the personal touch remains paramount. As Kitty emphasizes, “Strive to be the easiest and friendliest person they’ve ever worked with. That’s what journalists remember and what will keep them returning.”


In the realm of event promotion, “Media Magic on a Shoestring” illuminates resourceful pathways for budget-friendly coverage.

By adopting a strategic, long-term outlook and cultivating meaningful connections, organizers can amplify their impact.

The emphasis on personal engagement, evident in coffee meetings, media mixers, and sustained interactions, underscores the enduring power of the personal touch.

Overcoming lulls between events requires positioning oneself as an expert and actively participating in relevant conversations.

The unique insights from industry experts, including Kitty’s reminder to be the most approachable collaborator, showcase the potency of friendliness in leaving an indelible mark on journalists.

As the curtain falls on the narrative, the essence resonates: with creativity, strategy, and genuine connections, event organizers can wield media magic without breaking the bank, ensuring their stories echo beyond the confines of budget constraints.

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