When planning a media event, there are many things to keep in mind:
- Time management,
- Team support,
- Travel arrangements, and
- The end deliverables.
Throughout the development stages, it’s just as important to think about what could go wrong, and how to prevent it, as it is to think positively about the success of the event.
We recently developed and facilitated a media event for our client, West Central Distribution, for which we needed to think through many different considerations.
4 Things That Could Go Wrong With Your Media Event & How To Prevent Them
Below, you’ll find four things we noted as potential problems and the action we took to turn them into successes. Take these into consideration as you begin to develop your next event.
1) What Could Go Wrong: Unprepared Speakers
How We Prevented It: Conducted Media Training & Practiced Presentations
One thing that benefited our client at this event was participating in a media training session with us prior to the big day.
During the event, our client had four different presenters, and we wanted them to be as prepared as possible when speaking in front of and to the media. To help with this, we had each speaker go through a trial run of his presentation for us a few days before the event. Practice, as they say, makes perfect.
As agency representatives who are not as familiar with the subject matter as our clients are, we gave insights on what would resonate best with the media audience. Keeping your audience in mind needs to be at the top of your priority list.
Presenters can get easily caught up in legal jargon, scientific terms, or industry catchphrases and inadvertently alienate an audience very quickly. As a good partner, we make it our job to help bring the speakers to a more appropriate level given the audience for which the event is being planned.
During this media training, we also developed key talking points that the presenters could use throughout their presentations and the media could use in their stories after the event. While developing these phrases for your own event, consider a hashtag, as well. This will help with event branding when onsite and when interacting with the media.
2) What Could Go Wrong: An Event That Ends When The Day Ends
How We Prevented It: Created Client-Owned Content For Future Use
West Central Distribution publishes a twice-monthly Leaders of In-Furrow Technology eNewsletter, many agriculture blog posts and multiple Twitter posts per day, so it is necessary for them to have fresh content as often as possible. One of the ways we were able to extend the life this event and multiply its value was by capturing and developing a large amount of client-owned content for future proprietary use.
Thinking of the deliverables should be your next priority. For this event, we knew we needed client-owned content, so we planned to record video of the event, drafted a script of questions, and gathered footage that can be used over the course of the entire year to tell our client’s brand story.
It’s important to think of all of the different ways you can make the most of your day.
- Don’t just host an event – develop relationships with attending media by providing them with an event recap that they can use for their stories.
- Don’t just allow attendees to take pictures – set up an interesting backdrop and live-tweet the event throughout the day using an event-specific hashtag.
- Don’t just introduce your speakers – put together a package the media can take home, including company history, a media kit, speaker biographies and contact information.
3) What Could Go Wrong: Inexact Schedules
How We Prevented It: Created Many, Many Spreadsheets
During this event, we definitely put our time management skills to the test.
In a total of eight hours, our agency had interviews scheduled with each presenter to obtain client-owned content, plus a schedule for our 12 media guests to interview each of the nine speakers, and an event schedule listing when each speaker would give a 30 – 45 minute presentation.
What complicated the matter was that all media guests and all speakers wanted to watch each full-length presentation, so we could not conduct any one-on-one interviews during the presentations.
[Tweet “How To Plan For & Host A Successful Media Event #MediaRelations”]
In order to maximize our time and stay on task, we had many different spreadsheets that outlined all specific interview requirements:
- One spreadsheet for each media attendee, which listed the presenters they had requested interviews with.
- One spreadsheet for each presenter, which listed the media members and our agency contact that would be interviewing him at specific times throughout the day.
- One spreadsheet for the videographer team working with our agency contact, which outlined the order of the speakers that would be filmed.
- A master spreadsheet which contained all info so we could check in to ensure all different interviewing stations were running according to schedule.
Though, in total, we had many different schedules for different parts of the event, breaking them apart by groups helped us to stay organized and keep an eye on our various interviews. Organization is crucial as you are thinking through the logistics of your day.
4) What Could Go Wrong: Uninteresting & Uninspiring Event
How We Prevented It: Gathered Direct Feedback From Attendees
It’s essential that your event be seen as a success not only in your eyes, but also in the eyes of your boss, your coworkers, your company partners and, especially if you plan to host similar events in the future, the media.
In order to gauge this last aspect, we created surveys for each attendee to fill out at the completion of the event. The surveys asked what they thought of each presenter and of the event as a whole.
Our client presenters were ranked very favorably by media attendees (averaging an 8.6 out of 10), which showed us that the media training paid off, and each guest said they were interested in attending a future event held by our client, which is exactly what our client was hoping to hear.
Put your guests needs on par with your own. If they aren’t happy, you won’t have them in attendance in the future.
In the end, we earned a great deal of media coverage through Twitter, broadcast media, eNewsletters and online articles. And the event is the gift that keeps on giving, as coverage continues with print and a cover story in the works using information and interviews from the event.
All in all, we were thrilled with the outcome of this brand new event and the steps we took to make this a success. By thinking through these aspects like we did, you’ll be well on your way to hosting your own successful media event. And, of course, we’re always available should you need some help.
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