4 Strategies for Media Relations Success at Events

Gone are the days when securing earned media coverage at industry events was a walk in the park. In today’s fast-paced world, standing out in a sea of competitors and capturing the attention of media members requires a strategic approach.

On the heels of the annual Q1 crush of industry events, the PR team at Curious Plot recently regrouped to discuss these trends and evaluate how we should manage media outreach moving forward. Some of the key takeaways are as follows.

1. Maintain Always-on Relationships

Media members schedules’ are incredibly stretched at shows. There are only so many hours in a day, and these professionals feel that reality more than anyone. Given the constant deadlines of a modern news organization, many are forced to balance gathering news with publishing content at events. Others without immediate publishing demands are challenged just getting from one event or booth to the next.

Media relations is a marathon, not a sprint. Building relationships with media outlets leading up to the event is essential to generate interest in your company. Attending other industry events throughout the year can also help establish your company as a thought leader and go-to source for information. One-off interactions with media at industry events are not as effective as ongoing communication and relationship building.

2. Timing is Everything

Many media outlets have made prioritizing paid partners their focus for industry events. This is a reality across our client base and something we’re keeping close tabs on moving forward to best recommend, execute and measure event success for clients.

To this end, being early is key for securing media interviews and coverage at events. With the media often bombarded with information and interview requests, getting ahead of the crowd by contacting media well in advance of the event can help secure coverage and make your company’s message stand out.

3. Deliver a Must-have Story

To attract media interest at industry events, it is critical to make your company’s presence newsworthy, something media can’t miss. Whether it is announcing a new product or service, sharing research findings, providing technical information, or having an executive spokesperson available for interviews, having a clear and compelling story to tell can help garner media attention. Just inviting media to your booth to check in or delivering the same message to media from previous outreach efforts will make you expendable and vulnerable to be deprioritized by media.

4. Be the Easy Button

To ensure the media can cover your company at industry events, make it as easy as possible for them. Packaging files and information in an easily accessible format, providing information beforehand, confirming details with media ahead of time and ensuring your company’s spokesperson is prepared and available for interviews are all critical success factors.

To keep interviews focused on our clients’ key messaging during interviews, we have found it to be especially useful to provide media with a list of questions they can use to guide the interviews.

To sum things up, establishing and maintaining relationships with the media is a crucial aspect of any successful industry event strategy. Equally as important is being able to put yourself in the well-worn shoes of a reporter, broadcaster or editor. By following these tips and planning well in advance of events, you will be able to put your best foot forward when it comes to media relations at industry events.

Bill Brozak is vice president of public relations and reputation management at Curious Plot, where he provides counsel and execution for a wide range of clients. He most certainly has lost count of how many events he has worked on with clients over the years.