Breaking News Without Breaking You: Climbing the mountain of industry event content to come out on top
30 April 2018
Withpr Content Team
Let’s put a press release out during *insert major event name* says the CEO. Despite the marketing and comms team’s best advice, this is now non-negotiable. You might be tempted to spray and pray, whacking it out on a wire and hoping the WSJ will pick it up (but secretly happy if even a petite publication repurposes it). No more, say we! There ARE things you can do to get your news noticed at big events. And there are ways of making it work hard through other marketing channels. Withpr has run the press office for major conferences from the Festival of Marketing to LendIt Europe and these are some of our top tips:
1). Timing – Do you need to send it out on day one of the event? Just think: if you do, you’ll be competing with the big-name key note speakers, along with everyone else who’s had this bright idea! And gone are the days when journalists expect – or want – hard copy press packs with releases from all and sundry. But what if you ARE a big-name speaker? Holding a press conference or Hollywood-style junket the day before an event (even sometimes on a Sunday) can make sure you get the maximum exposure and value out of media. Speaker status apart, you can still reach an event’s audience editorially: create targeted news pitches to publications on the event’s media attendee list a week or two before. This has to be genuine news however, that avoids being too product focused or salesy. Usual rules appy!
2). Target – While occasionally the brief is an enthusiastic “let’s just get this out there”, the true starting point is who you need to see the news. Is it investors, major corporations, tech partners or a potential customer sector? Focusing in on this will help focus your media and influencer strategy. We recently helped a client secure a major piece of coverage in an industry–leading publication a week before Mobile World Congress. By working with the journalist on an exclusive basis, we secured face-to-face briefings with key company spokespeople ahead of the event and a hugely in-depth article as a result. The C-suite was delighted and the stand was inundated. Value, on this occasion, proved far more influential than volume.
3). Traction – Sensible metrics around the editorial campaign should not only measure the exposure of the news itself but – ideally – help drive the ROI of costly investment in ever-more-expensive events. Allocating a small paid media budget to your earned media results can ensure that editorial-style content appears in the LinkedIn or Twitter feed of valuable targets. Hyper targeting based on geographic locations, company sector and even job title can see a significant uplift in engagement and start commercial conversations ahead of time. Your news can in fact work as a mini content series, delivered in graphics, clever images, brief videos or even cartoons. Carrying a direct call to action related to your event and translating your news – or the key message it carries – into an on-stand experience will help attract targets at a far greater rate than a press release.
The starting point is always clear messaging, a news story that puts purpose over product and a relevant and topical pitch. If in doubt, pick up the phone. Whether it is Money 20/20, Infosecurity Europe or Media 360, we are happy to help.