May 19, 2009

How to Throw a Party! (Not your usual keggar)

If I could only list three…

1. Venue
2. Audience
3. Take some shots

1. The venue is everything. Choose either the hottest spot that your audience will want to go out of their way to be at or go with their already favorite, close by, Friday night spot. Not only is location key but you also want the venue to reflect the type of party you’re looking for: small and intimate vs. open space and very social, sitting drink in hand or body on the dance floor? This may seem obvious but last year I reserved a space and a night that turned out to be a little too low key for our Spring Break Escape party. It’s easy to assume that the party will form itself.

2. Your audience demands a certain type of party. Ask them what they want. Then deliver.

3. This could also be seen as bad advice. BUT if you planned your event right, formed a committee, delegated responsibilities, and had a great turn out then why not party too? And hey, if your party sucks, throw one back and cheers to next years’ event…event planning wouldn’t be a profession if just anyone could throw a great party.

May 14, 2009

Condoms and Candy: College Media Throws the Ultimate Hot Summer Party

Events, events, events. That’s how College Media is going to build a relationship with its audience. And so we did! Last Thursday we threw a hot summer party at Santa Fe Café. And yes, it was hot.

About two months ago I knew we were ready for another party. There’s just this itch I get where I’m like “I need to make sure college students know who we are.” What was so cool was that now that we’re on our sixth issue, students did know us. 

So to get started on the party planning, we chose our location: College Park. It's where we have the largest, most concentrated audience, so it's the best place for us to set the standard for our event reputation.

Anna, our PR director, took the reins on running the show: recruiting a talented committee, brainstorming themes, meeting with our contacts at Santa Fe, organizing sponsors for our raffle giveaways (from Rita’s Italian Ice to Hanami sushi), shopping for decorations and setting the script for the night. Anna rocked. I’ve planned our events in the past and to pass the responsibility onto someone new on the team made me realize that we’ve grown. I felt confident that Anna could pull it off from her enthusiasm right from the beginning.

So how did the party turn out? We had awesome decorations, all fitting with the red hot theme—red lamps hanging above our table, red candies, red mardi gras beads, a sick looking red banner (props to Ruben for making that happen) and the red hot chili pepper piñata. Yes, I said it, piñata, filled with two very important resources for students: condoms and candy. The health center on campus even donated the condoms!

Students were wearing the beads, signing up for the raffle and getting to know College mag. There were probably over 500 students there. The best part—we had College mag photographers there as paparazzi for the night. This was key for tying in our website, so now the night’s evidence is online at collegemagazine.compretty sneaky eh?

As I’m taking a College magazine shooter with our editors, Brian, Ashley and Ian and then another College mag shooter with Anna, and then another with, wait, I can’t remember, I thought to myself, wow, I may be out of the college scene, but this is great party.

Stay tuned to my post on the key to event planning.

May 11, 2009

How to Maximize a Press Trip

If I could only list 3…

1. Take notes in unusual situations
2. Interview that cool surfer dude
3. Think like your reader

1. Sure you had your note pad ready to go at the Sydney Opera house, but so did the rest of the world. You’re goal is to capture the real action. Sometimes the best parts of a press trip are when you’re dared to eat kangaroo, the bus driver plays a trick on everyone and you teach a bunch of foreigners how to play Kings. You’re probably too in the moment to think about documenting. It’s hard to do, but if you’re laughing or enjoying an experience, it’s probably worth writing down.

2. Who doesn’t like a good character? My strongest interviews stemmed from talking to real people that I thought were cool. Before I even thought about interviewing a subject, I asked myself whom I was absolutely dying to hear a story from. In this case, was it the student who went surfing for the first time or the surfer dude who sees tourists all over the world fall off their boards every day?

3. I’m fortunate to have a pretty awesome reader: college students. It’s important to always remember your audience. What does the student want to know? The top beers in Australia? Has anyone ever fallen on the bridge climb? How to hook up in a hostel and leave without an STI? Or D, all of the above?