How to PR a client event & make it press-worthy
Running events is a great way to generate a buzz around your brand amongst the press and prospective customers. A successful event can result in media coverage and attention as well as help to cement relationships with journalists and influencers which will help your PR strategy going forward.
At Neo PR, we come across many different kinds of events, from trade shows where clients exhibit their latest product or solution, to full-blown events put on by our clients for their customers and prospects. For the sake of this blog post, we are going to talk you through our top tips for leveraging a client event for a PR strategy and making it press worthy.
Ask yourself: Can it be press-worthy?
“So we’re hosting an event next month…”
Great! We love events! But what’s the purpose of the event? Is it to launch research? Is it to launch a product? Is it just an annual conference? Will there be exclusive industry takeaways and high profile speakers? Before you even think about sending a save the date email to your favourite journalist, it’s really important to consider whether the event can be press worthy. Journalists are busy people so everything has to be worth their time, particularly if they are going to go out of their way to attend it.
Your event needs a tempting hook such as research or a big announcement. It needs to offer something in return, other than a nice day out and a free lunch.
Read more: The Five P’s of Event Success
Choose your targets
So you’ve got yourself a shiny customer conference with industry-leading speakers and a very exciting product announcement. Sounds tempting! Now it’s time to choose your press targets and think about who you would like to invite. Think about the reasons why journalists might like to attend your event and what they will learn. This will help guide your choices.
We like to create an ‘ultimate’ press list – i.e the press we’d love to attend in an ideal world! We then work our way down the media list if people can’t attend or don’t respond. If your event covers a few different verticals, it’s totally fine to invite a few journalists from each sector as long as they can all get something out of it. You might be a retail technology vendor but your customer conference might appeal to supply chain, logistics and wholesale press, as well and marketing and national publications. If you need some more press list pointers, check out this blog on creating a great media list.
Start outreach (But not too early!)
Once you have created your media list, send out a save the date when the details are confirmed. If your event involved travelling abroad, we would recommend letting journalists know about your event as soon as possible so they can arrange travel. For UK based events, give plenty of notice but not too much notice so that it just disappears into the depths of the diary.
If you send out an initial save the date and don’t hear a response, make sure you follow up with more details of the event once they are confirmed. A high profile speaker and interview opportunity can be very tempting!
Schedule some face time
So you’ve got your press list and confirmed a few journalists to attend the event – go you! Events are a brilliant opportunity to show off how great your company is and to treat journalists to some exclusive content, so make sure you harness this opportunity and schedule in some face time, either with spokespeople or customers who are willing to share all the good stuff. If there is more than one spokesperson available, make sure you highlight what each person can offer so the journalist can make an informed choice as to who they’d like to speak to. And if you can’t organise a face to face meeting, organise a post-event interview instead.
Communication is everything
Throughout the entire process, communication is key. From the moment you start inviting journalists to the post-event follow up, ensuring that you keep the press abreast of any changes, updates or future event opportunities is so important. We like to send through an email with everything they need and then follow up post-event to see if there is anything additional they would like to organise.
So there we have it – some top tips for getting press to your client event. If you’re running an event this year and want to maximise opportunities, get in touch!
We recently organised for seven UK journalists to attend our client Manhattan Associates’ event in Barcelona. It was a jam-packed few days with a great speaker line up and endless tech demos! We worked closely with Manhattan Associates to compile the press list and then took care of the rest; inviting the journalists, coordinating interviews and making sure the journalists had everything they needed. We do this every year for Manhattan Associates – check out our case study.