Content PR Secrets: Optimizing an Event to Attract Media
Lisa Buyer is the author of Social PR Secrets, and the following was saved from the cutting room floor of her book’s production and lives on in the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog. Here, Lisa instructs businesses on how to attain the most media coverage from live events, especially from those influencers watching online. Lisa contributed this piece to Bruce Clay and Murray Newlands’ upcoming Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals, a guide for using multi-channel content marketing to reach a targeted audience and meet defined goals, with contributions from the industry’s foremost specialists.
Social PR Secrets for Events
Optimizing, socializing, and publicizing an event is about enticing attendees, but it’s also about attracting and engaging the people who are not attending including the media, bloggers, and high-profile influencers.
That concept caught my Social PR eye when I shared a panel at SES London with Digital PR Expert Mel Carson, who at the time was the brand evangelist for the Microsoft Advertising Community. Mel shared a case study of Microsoft Advertising social media marketing strategy that included more than sponsoring and attending conferences, they brought them to life for the people outside the event by live tweeting, blogging, video interviews and capturing and sharing images of the conference, covering the event as on-the-spot journalists; more than just sponsors.
Using social media outlets to report on the company’s own branded events or from industry conferences can be an effective Social PR content strategy, helping position yourself as a thought leader for industry news sources.
It boils down to building an online social media news hub around your offline activities, ultimately creating a platform from which your online audience can enjoy and interact with the brand.
A Social PR Event Action Plan
The Microsoft Advertising Community team had been using social media as a vehicle to listen to, educate, support, and market to customers and potential customers since 2006.
In the case study that Carson shared, they created a robust “on-the-ground plan,” which outlined hour-by- hour which sessions they’d be blogging about or tweeting from and a detailed film schedule of interviews with conference delegates and speakers, as well as their own executives.
This all helped to bring the event to life in real-time for the thousands of interested media, bloggers, advertisers, marketers and creatives who could not make the trip.
What was the result? They chalked up more than 40,000 interactions or “brand engagements” with branded coverage. That equates to people reading blog posts, watching videos, browsing photos and engaging with them on Twitter.
Keeping the content relative, insightful and actionable proved a winning combination for Microsoft and can work for your brand as well! Think about it: news nuggets delivered in innovative ways stick in the mind and resonate with audiences on the social platforms and or mobile devices they feel most comfortable using and at a time most suitable for them. Here are some forms of live, from the action content that a business can utilize:
- Live tweeting
- Live blogging
- YouTube video interviews of speakers and industry experts at different events
- Instagram reports of speakers with key messages
- Pinterest – creating a board for the conference and pinning relevant coverage from industry sources
- Images shared on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr
In using the above content types to promote your event before, during, and after, keep these things in mind:
- Basically you are news jacking your event — whether it is a conference, grand opening event or product launch or start the process before, keep it going at the event and carry on after.
- Leverage your social media platforms on brand publications to showcase event/industry influencers as part of your event content strategy of your blog our brand newsroom.
- Create infographics with fun facts about your event/
- Post event create strong visuals using slideshows to tell the story of the event.
- Optimize all social content with appropriate hashtags, keywords and links to reap the full benefits.
In Microsoft’s case study, they didn’t just consider Facebook or Twitter when promoting one of Microsoft’s newest product, because they considered the entire Internet as part of the social and mobile media landscape.
“The way I see it, social media is the Internet,” Carson explains, “The Internet is inherently driven by social and now navigated by mobile.”
Using a “social veneer” across all platforms:
Carson suggests blogs and search, and pretty much anything you can find on the Internet that has a social component to it, are all valuable tools in your next Social PR campaign. Rather than considering different platforms as individual elements, apply a “social veneer” to your entire online public relations campaign, whether it be on mobile, television or the Internet. Instead of limiting your focus on how to use social media in your next PR campaign, think broader and use the entire Internet experience, incorporating multiple platforms, in order to really make your public relations campaign stand out.
Bringing the event to life / optimizing Social PR for the event:
“Your goal should be to bring the event alive for your global audience,” Carson states. You do that by creating excitement by posting content before the events even start. “Once there, make it your goal to connect to your Internet audience with lots of blogs, tweets, and photographs.” In Social PR, the ultimate goal is to get your audience to share your content with others, ultimately growing your own brand. It’s up to you how to make that happen, and to make sure you provide the mechanism for them to share your content.
Keying in on social interaction KPIs:
Brand interaction is a key metric Social PR pros can use to determine each campaign’s reach. Every tweet and every comment, like every video viewing related to a particular event campaign. can be added up as an early indicator of how many people have interacted with your brand. Furthermore, this gives you a target audience for your next campaign or product launch. In Carson’s experience, once you hook these people in, they’ll rarely unfollow you if you deliver a rich content experience to them.
Strategically curating images and videos to publicize events creates a Social PR library and historical timeline. Today there is no shortage of mobile cameras, but it makes sense to invest in professional photography and videography for every event.
The Social PR Secret:
When putting together a presentation or event, don’t just think of the people in the room. Rather, every tweet, blog, image, or video you post online is for the media, bloggers and people who couldn’t make it. Keep in mind this person that could not make it could be a top-tier columnist, influential blogger or industry reporter looking for expert sources, or a prospect who is looking to research. Either way you are starting to build relationships.