A lot is written about how to generate buzz when you are attending or exhibiting at an industry trade show or medical meeting, but what if the event is your own?
Whether you’re planning a small, local event for the first time or organizing a large, well-established, annual conference, there’s a common denominator: it’s up to you to come up with fresh ways to pique the interest of attendees and journalists, and ultimately secure exposure for your company, product or campaign.
Here are some tips to help differentiate your event and maximize exposure for your company and key stakeholders. Check out our video for more details.
- Hit Media Up Early and Often—Put together your “wish list” of media attendees and start outreach early—at least six weeks in advance. Conduct personalized outreach, highlighting ways the journalists can connect one-on-one with exhibitors, speakers, etc. for pre-show stories. Because of journalists’ busy schedules and reduced budgets, it may be difficult to secure on-site media attendance unless your event is located in their backyard. We recommend targeting the local media (including wire service and freelancer writers) in the city where your event is being held. This is often your best bet for on-site media attendance.
Stay in front of journalists to keep your company and key issues top-of-mind. Every interview is an opportunity to say, “this topic is one we are covering in-depth at the upcoming conference.”
If you can’t get any media to attend in person, don’t worry. If you’re announcing important news, one option is to conduct a virtual press conference with company, customer and analyst participation.
- Pre-packaged Content—If your event covers a variety of tracks or industries, develop pre-packaged, detailed content for specific audiences. You can provide general event highlights (floor events, feature presenters, etc.), exhibitor information and conference sessions tailored to each vertical as well as pre-packaged content written by topic-area experts. This is important: you should develop a personalized pitch (not a generic form letter) that offers journalists the opportunity to connect with speakers and exhibitors relevant to their focus area.
- Engage Your Speakers—In addition to touting your clients as thought leaders, take advantage of one of your biggest assets: your speakers. Secure their presentations in advance and arrange interviews between them and targeted journalists.
In addition, leverage your speakers’ social media channels. For instance, if the company has a blog, Facebook page or Twitter handle, request that they promote their participation at the event and reference the conference hashtag.
- Think Multi-Media—In advance of the event, select the tier-one companies you’ll target for video interviews.. Conference attendees may need to secure approval from their PR departments, so by working through the appropriate channels in advance, you won’t need to worry that people will turn you down at the show because they’re unsure of company policies.
These interviews can be used as fodder for journalists to accompany online pieces, as content on your own website and as sales collateral.
Once you’re at the conference, networking sessions and breaks are great times to encourage more companies to participate. Don’t forget company executives either—this is perfect time to get them on camera.
- Surveys and Polls—These are great fodder for journalists and gives them a timely reason for writing about your event. Think of a few survey questions that you can quickly ask during the registration process as well as during sessions. You can package the results and issue a release the following day, securing a steady stream of content that can be pushed out to traditional and social media channels.
- Social Media Matters—Set up an event hashtag and promote it aggressively throughout your event. Another option: set up a Google+ event and video hangout that is broadcast on YouTube.
While generating buzz and attracting both media and attendee audiences for your event can seem like daunting tasks, it can be done, and done successfully. We are happy to chat with you about these and other ideas to help ensure you have a fantastic and media-filled event!
Posted by Lauren Arnold on October 3, 2012 at 3:33 PM