4 DIY Ways to Score More Media Coverage
For most people who work in public relations, promoting events through the media is a core skill. Most PR professionals, at one time or another, have pitched the media to “cover” a client’s events.
That skill is still relevant, but with tools like blogs, smartphones, online video, and photo-sharing tools, brands no longer need only the media to cover their events.
They can do it themselves.
Here are four ways brands cover their own events—and four ways they could do it more effectively:
What most do: Write a blog recap of the event using one or two key photos.
What they should should do: Write a blog recap of the event using almost every photo possible.
Most event summaries I’ve seen involve text only—which works fine. They usually include a photo or two. Great. But a better solution might be to summarize the event through photos. Lots of them.
Photos will tell your story better than words. Start with one or two short paragraphs summarizing the event, and then let the photos do the talking after that.
What most do: Take photos at the event and share on the organization’s Flickr page.
What you should do: Take photos at the event and share them live via Instagram.
There’s nothing wrong with taking photos at your event and sticking them on your Flickr page—except that Flickr has become a dumping ground for just such photos.
How many times have I searched for a photo, only to come across reams of pictures from a single event where it’s dignitary No. 1 with dignitary No. 2. Great—if you’re the dignitary. Not so great if you’re everyone else (read: the audience you’re trying to reach).
Why not share those pictures in real time using an app like Instagram? Granted, this requires some setup (and a customer base of tech-savvy iPhone users). You will want to promote that you’re going to share these pictures via an app like Instagram for days or weeks in advance, maybe on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, e-newsletters, and so on.
Sharing photos in real time, with captions, is more powerful. Brands like Burberry are already catching on to this trend, as they took things a step further and handed over their Instagram account to popular photographer Mike Kus this year.
What most do: Write event recaps and let them live on their blog.
What you should do: Write event recaps and pitch them to longer-lead-time publications and other industry “syndication” opportunities.
You’ve written the event recap. Posted it on your blog. Promoted it via Twitter and Facebook. All done, right? Not quite.
Think about additional media opportunities where you can “merchandise” this recap more. Daily newspapers and broadcast outlets won’t be interested because by the time you post the recap, the event will be old news. But what about longer-lead-time industry publications and websites. Would they be open to sharing a link to your post, a snippet of your post, or all of it?
Look for other syndication opportunities for your event recap content, too. Think about industry e-newsletters and blogger e-newsletters.
What most do: Link to video interviews with major media outlets in your summary blog post.
What you should do: Capture your own interviews with your spokespeople and use those videos embedded in your post.
One of the most overlooked opportunities with event recaps: the video interview. Remember, when media outlets capture interviews at events, they upload them to their websites, but it’s typically not in a shareable format. They want you to come to their site to see the video; they don’t want to share it across the Web.
You, on the other hand, do want to share it.
Re-create your own interviews, and post them on YouTube and/or Vimeo to make them more shareable. Employing this strategy will give you a video interview to embed in your blog post recap, instead of linking to the media interview. (Read: easier for readers, and much more attractive—even if it is a bit less credible.)
Simply interview the spokesperson as the media would and voilà—instant video interview content for your blog recap.
What about you? Any other tips for how best to cover your own events?
Arik C. Hanson is the principal of ACH Communications in Minnesota. He blogs at Communications Conversations, where a version of this story first appeared.