As a publicist, I work hard to get clients into noteworthy and press-heavy events. I have clients at varying levels of their careers, and I’ve been able to speak to them about the importance of attending events.
Some of my clients aren’t known publically yet and are in the process of building their brands. If you’re familiar with the scene in L.A. or New York, you’ll quickly realize that event coordinators are quick to deny you if you haven’t made a huge mark in the industry yet.
The reason I emphasize events is because it gets you out and meeting people you wouldn’t necessarily meet just anywhere. If you’re at a great event, the attendees are going to have their guard down and are more willing to hear about your project or give you advice. They’ll recognize the exclusivity of being there, and if you’re in, there must be a reason why. Though it isn’t easy to get in, I have some tips that may help your chances.
1. Mingle with event coordinators. When you hear about an event, find out who’s producing it or who the event coordinator is. Even if you aren’t attending it, at least you’ll familiarize yourself with the company that is putting the event together. If they handle great events, see if you can volunteer for a few hours or help. Usually, they’ll need people to oversee and take care of the red carpet and teardown, and you’ll be able to enter the event and mingle to promote your current projects. There are also websites like Press Harvest, which can help you reach out, but you’ll still want to meet these event coordinators face-to-face.
2. Emphasize your future project. If you decide to send an invite request, focus on your future project. You can embellish a little and promote your work. It’s similar to submitting headshots to casting directors; you want the headshot to look as close to your real self as possible, but you are also trying to leave a good impression so you want it to be subtly "touched up." Same goes for speaking to event coordinators. You’re not going to lie about your work, but they’re going to want someone noteworthy for their event. So you’re going to need to describe your work in a way that makes it sound noteworthy.
3. Submit a headshot. Sometimes event coordinators need to fill up a party, and they’d rather do so with people who match the look of the event. Also, a good headshot automatically makes you look more professional, which betters your chance of a coordinator putting you on the list.
4. Be respectful. There are many ways to get into an event. However, saying things like, “Do you know who I am?” or “You’ll be sorry when I tell your boss that you denied me,” won’t work. Being in public relations, I’ve experienced this attitude way too much, and it doesn’t help. If you end up taking a chance and seeing if you can get in without a formal invite, dress nice and speak politely. Explain that there may have been a mistake or that your contact may have miscommunicated the details with the coordinator. There’s still a slight chance that you’ll get approved.
5. Spread the love. If you happen to get in, regardless of the number of followers you have on Twitter or Facebook, talk about the event on social networks and tag the event coordinator in it. They want as much press on their event, and regardless of how small the event is, sharing on social media will definitely place you on an event coordinator’s good side, which will secure a contact for future events.
6. Mingle with the "normal" people. You don’t want to find a celebrity and verbally vomit your life story on them. It’s their publicists, stylists, assistants, managers, etc. who are going to be more important for you to meet. They’re exposed to so many people and better understand the way the industry works, which will help you learn more about it. They are also used to people who have ulterior motives, so stay humble and be genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Garrett O. Thomas has been working in public relations for several years. He lived in Tucson, Arizona where he focused on restaurant publicity, combating restaurant foreclosures during the economic recession in 2008.
Eventually, he moved to Houston where he began working in technology publicity. Promoting software and online publicity integration for Fortune 500 companies. After handling more than 12 contracts and overseeing hundreds of thousands in contractual agreements, he decided that he wanted to progress his career into the entertainment industry.
He got a job as a celebrity publicist for Def Jam artist, Jeremih in New York. While Garrett collaborated with Def Jam and CAA, Jeremih received a Billboard Awards 2012 nomination for Top R&B song. From that point on, Garrett has worked with musicians, actors, and producers, promoting brands and educating them on his publicity knowledge and increasing his reach into a variety of areas in the entertainment industry.