February 28, 2014, by offcampus
PR Project Management: Learning the Ropes of Event Planning
Today we’re delighted to welcome Talia Samuelson to the blog. Talia is one of our latest group of Advantage Award students, and they’ll be keeping us up to date with their project over the coming weeks.
When browsing for my next Advantage Award module the ‘PR Project Management’ option held a particular appeal. Not only would it equip me with some transferable skills for the workplace – managing a project, gaining experience in public relations and using social media channels as promotional platforms – but it also presented the opportunity to leave the classroom and engage with a project that’ll benefit the local community.
I’m one of five students participating in a project run jointly by the Nottingham Advantage Award and Nottingham City Homes. Last year NCH began providing courses through their ‘Tenant Academy’ in order to provide residents with the confidence and knowledge needed to improve their homes, neighbourhoods and services. The lunch that we’ll be hosting, along with young NCH residents, has an educational element, as it is designed to exemplify and encourage healthy eating on a budget. It goes beyond the average skills session however, given that it will aim to promote the good work of the Tenant Academy as a whole.
Public relations being crucial to the success of our project, we received a short tutorial from the Nottingham University Media and Campaigns Manager – Charlotte Anscombe – at our second meeting. Her emphasis was on the importance of visual coverage, both that intended for university social media channels and for the press, as this is an effective way of engaging public interest. She explained the etiquette of a photocall – how the media must be contacted approximately a week prior to the event with details of when and what they should photograph. She also suggested having the official university photographer on hand.
Following this we discussed our guestlist. We wanted it to comprise representatives of both the university and NCH, given the collaborative nature of this venture, but also wanted to ensure that the event received media coverage and achieved a certain profile. We therefore decided on a mixture of NCH residents and officials, Advantage Award employees, press and local VIPs. Within our timeline for the event we’ve designated the first half-hour to canapés and mingling so that these different parties can exchange opinions and ideas about the Tenant Academy and indeed the event itself.
We concluded the meeting by allotting tasks to each member of the group. These included drafting covering emails for our proposed electronic invites, designing said invites, researching trinkets that could serve as mementos of the event and investigating healthy recipes. The meeting was highly productive, but really it’s just the beginning. I’m really looking forward to meeting the local people we’ll be working with to hear their ideas.