Top tips for how to PR a music festival

By Sophie Raine, Director at W Communications

With Glastonbury Festival kicking off this week, music lovers across the UK are preparing themselves for yet another season of muddy fields, loud music and sing-a-longs.

But ‘Festival PR’ isn’t about just showbiz and music coverage, far from it. The way we at W approach our festivals is via an inventive strategy that delivers coverage in all the places you’d expect – and particularly those you wouldn’t.

Here are four top tips to help PRs develop festival campaigns that deliver W’s “through-the paper” impact:

1. Treat festivals as brands
Festivals are more than just standalone events. It’s not just “all about the music” these days; they represent a lifestyle brand that consumers buy in to and want to be a part of. The PR strategy should not only tap into the media’s interest in the festival, but also help to elevate the brand’s social and cultural status via a series of creative and tactical partnership alongside stories that deliver against the “through-the-paper” mindset.

Wireless Festival

2. Be resourceful
PRs can rarely rely on headliner talent. Of course, the campaign will lean on their name, but PRs need to think about on-site offerings they can dial up or create, how to craft interesting heritage angles and what gossip / key information can be seeded out to achieve maximum impact. As festivals generally have limited activation budgets, it’s up to PRs to bring in creative partners that offer additional newsworthy initiatives, like W did with the Wireless X BOOM Cycle partnership last year, to take the festival to new parts of the media and talk to new audiences.

3. Insight
Festival organisers hold incredible insights into consumer buying patterns, behaviour and key touch points, so PRs should tap into this knowledge before commenting the campaign. This will help PRs execute big campaign moments in-line with spikes of consumer interest covering everything from when headliners are announced, to when people buy tickets, to deciding what to wear over the festival weekend. By aligning with these consumer touch-points and the media’s calendar, PRs can tell the story of what makes a festival fan tick – and make sure their festival is at the heart of the story.

4. In-house journalists
Thousands of media apply for accreditation, but we know that only around 50 media hold the power to move the dial for the brand. We created a bespoke role to deploy W’s own ‘in-house journalist’. Their job is to make sure they are liaising with these key media targets from three months before the festival until the week after. Their role is to collate and issue back key interviews, stories, gossip and photos in real-time to ensure there is a bespoke story for everyone who matters.

Follow Sophie on Twitter.

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