Working as a public relations professional, it is always a struggle explaining what I do. I get everything from a manager to an agent and most often I get an event planner. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve been asked, “ Can you plan my party for me?” While being a publicist has several similarities with event planners, we are NOT event planners. Here are FOUR ways we differ.
As an event planner, their job is to plan and execute all aspects of an event. Their duties include coordinating and confirming venues, on-site logistics, putting together program schedules, working with guest speakers and finalizing red carpet arrival times.
As a publicist, we often work with event planners on the overall concept of the event and strategize on who needs to be there and why. (Media & influencers) We are also there to facilitate media interviews.
1. PR Professionals Work The Front Of The House. Event Planners Work Behind The Scenes.
Publicists are more concerned with how the event supports the overall PR campaign. We work with the media to secure interviews with our clients and make sure they are photographed with influencers, guest speakers and other VIPs at the event. We connect with the event photographers to be sure to receive the photos right after the event in order to prepare the post event release the next day. Event planners are focused on event logistics and making sure the event flows properly. We are usually the most visible while the event planners are floating through the room checking to make sure the event is flowing smoothly.
2. We Prepare Clients For Media Interviews, Event Planners Prepare For The Worst.
PR professionals are there to prep their clients for media interviews and make sure they stay on message. We make sure their clients speak in sound bites to ensure quality press coverage. Event planners are there to be ready for when something goes wrong (and it always does). A broken heel, a popped zipper, the caterer running late, weather disasters, the event planner is there to save the day.
3. PR Professionals Are Up Before The Sun Comes Up. Event Planners Go To Bed When The Sun Comes Up
Publicists are up 3:00am prepping to get on set with their clients at the TV/radio station. We are working on media training our clients so they are on brand during the interview. In contrast, event planners stay past the end of the event to wrap up the event and make sure all of the vendors break down their stations. They are usually the last ones to leave.
4. Publicists’ Have Deadlines Daily, Event Planners Face One Huge Deadline
In the months and weeks leading up to an event, publicists are dealing with daily, weekly deadlines that include pitching the press to cover the event and their client, drafting press materials like press releases, media advisories and post event releases, defining communications strategies, managing any crisis that comes up and meeting with clients to provide them with updates. For event planners, they are working for weeks or months for just a few hours. Planning and attention to detail is key in both professions.
Publicists often work with event planners to make their clients’ events successful, but it is our job to ensure we have the strategy created to support the brand and get bigger reach from the events. Long story short, we are not event planners.