Publicity Tip #17--Offer parking passes, bottled water and press kits to the media at special events.

This is the 17th of 50 Tips for Free Publicity which I’ve pinned on Pinterest. You can follow me there, and repin this by clicking on the red “Pin It” button above.

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Regardless of how hard you’ve worked on publicity for your special event, don’t even THINK about breathing a sigh of relief when you see a gaggle of reporters, TV camera people and bloggers at your event.

The care and feeding of the media that day can determine, to a large extent, what kind of publicity you receive.

Sure, you can shoot your own video and upload it to YouTube. You can pin photos from the event on Pinterest. You can tweet live from the event and you can update all your fans who can’t attend on Facebook.

But don’t be so busy doing this that you forget about your media guests.

Here are seven things to do to bypass potential problems on the big day:

1. Provide adequate parking for the media.

At big events, offer parking as close as possible to the event. They’ll be hauling camera equipment and other tools of the trade. If necessary, post signs at your driveway entrance leading them to the special parking area.

2. Offer snacks, coffee and bottled water.

Even if you aren’t selling or serving food at your event, remember that some media might be traveling long distances to cover you. Make sure enough bottled water is available, especially during the summer. They always appreciate snacks and coffee. Show them where the restrooms are located.

3. Provide a quiet location where they can write and speak with editors back at the office.

Make sure it has enough electrical outlets.

4. Get their cell phone numbers.

Ask permission to check in with them periodically if you learn of breaking news at the event that they might want to cover.

5. Provide a link to your online press kit.

Your press kit should have been sent to them long before the event, but it never hurts to remind them that day that there are materials that they might want to use when creating their story. Give them the link, and provide any hard copies if they request them.

6. While they’re covering the event, ask, “Do you need anything? I’ll be glad to help.”

You might be very surprised by what you hear: “I have a splitting headache and I need an aspirin” or “The battery in my phone died. Do you have an extra phone I can use?” or “I really need a family with young kids to interview and I got here late and need to leave soon for the next assignment. Can you help me find a family?”

7. Give all media the name, phone numbers and email address of their key contact.

A reporter might want to double-check information on deadline. Yes, give them your mobile number.

This list can go on forever, but I’ve hit the high points. What have I missed?

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Look far beyond just newspapers and magazines when publicizing your event. You can get people involved long before the event and actually encourage them to promote your event for you! That’s just one of several dozen tips I shared during the webinar “60+ Places Offline to Promote Your Product, Service, Cause, Issue or Event to Build the Buzz & Encourage Others to Promote for You.” It comes with a handy cheat sheet that lists all 60+ ideas.