We recently had the pleasure of attending a media event at the Meredith headquarters in New York City on behalf of the brands we represent. From individuals at Health and Parents Magazine to Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple, we met with a number of media contacts to showcase our client’s products in order to garner editorial interest and work to build relationships with top publications.
While the event itself lasted only two hours, we spent more than a month on preparations to ensure a successful experience. Whether you’re planning your next desk-sides or preparing for an upcoming media event, these tips will help you make the most of your efforts.
Want to Attract Attention? Be Sure You Have a “Hook”
Whether you’re attending an event as an exhibitor or even planning to stand alone at a desk-side, you’ll want to leave editors with something to remember you by. This can be as simple as a recipe card or as extravagant as a branded cooler full of product samples. The key here is to make sure that whatever you leave with editors helps keep your brand and product top of mind. Be sure not to give away useless items—this only causes frustration, given that media members are constantly gifted with items for consideration. It’s best to leave something that sparks ideas and new ways for the product to be used, which can be highlighted within editorial opportunities.
Understand Your Audience
Do your research ahead of time to really understand who you’ll be talking to. Every outlet has a different focus, and every editor writes for a different beat. The beauty of PR is that you can position your brand to fit almost any theme! By preparing a few talking points ahead of time, you can easily communicate relevant information that pertains to each editor’s area of expertise. This not only allows you to pitch effectively, but also helps generate genuine conversations that the editor will be more likely to remember.
Be ready to pitch your brand clearly and concisely
Media interactions from desk-sides and in-office showcases often happen within a very small window of time, and with an editor or contributor who typically has a limited amount of time to spare. You can ensure your time with these professionals is used efficiently by preparing your most compelling point in advance. Come prepared by ensuring you know how to position what is most unique about your product or service, and when or where it is available. Editors will appreciate your knowledge and will feel confident in your ability to answer their questions should they want to feature you in their future stories (especially when they’re working with a short deadline).
Come prepared to follow up
When preparing for consumer media events, think of the event itself as a precursor to your real goal. The event, while obviously important, will have less of an impact on your ROI as the steps you take to follow up with editors after the event. During a media event, know that you will have several quick conversations with editors, one after another and another. Often, you’ll receive business cards from those in attendance, and sometimes you will receive contact information from the event planner afterwards. Know in advance how you plan to contact the media representatives, and be sure to take quick, detailed notes to set yourself up for success when following up.
If you have a conversation with a specific editor about a specific product, jot it down. If another editor asks a question about something you know you can follow up on, write that down, too. This way, when it comes time to follow up, you can be prepared to personalize the communication you send—a good strategy for forming a relationship with media. And be sure to follow up quickly—within a week’s time when at all possible. Your follow-up will make more of an impact when the meeting or event is fresh on the mind.
Whether you are just about to embark on your first round of desk-sides or you’re a seasoned media event expert, remember to provide a hook, understand your audience, come prepared, and follow up, follow up, follow up! While there is no “guaranteed” equation for success at a given event, following the above procedure certainly is a step in the right direction.
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