It is commonly known in the world of public relations that press and analyst meetings at industry events are valuable. Booking face to face time with the industry’s most relevant pundits is undoubtedly considered a PR win. But we need to understand why. Why are events important? Why are in-person briefings valuable? What does it take as a PR pro to book meetings, and how can you really garner results for your client?
With the start of the RSA Conference 2013 yesterday in San Francisco, it’s a great time to reveal what makes an event worthwhile to attend and what the “secret sauce” is for booking meetings and making sure clients can deliver positive results. Here are five best practices for clients to harvest real results from in person media briefings:
- Quality versus quantity. At InkHouse, we’re big believers in quality over quantity and when it comes to conferences, quality always reigns supreme. The most important thing is to build relationships, not the sheer volume of meetings you have scheduled.
- Be courteous of what the reporter wants, and needs, to get out of this meeting. Reporters aren’t at conferences for free coffee, meals and cocktails. Sure, it’s a great perk, but they need to achieve certain things from attending these events just like you do. They’re likely on assignment to write recap articles and will need fodder for relevant, newsworthy and timely stories.
- What’s new with you? Clearly state what your company has been up to since the last time you connected. Give a brief overview of what’s to come in the near future, and explain exactly what you are doing at the event – i.e. will the company make a news announcement during the show? Will you be giving product demos? These are things reporters want to know right off the bat.
- Act naturally. Reporters are people, too. Skip the marketing bot act and just be natural. Chances are, you’ll hit it off with anyone covering your industry because you are interesting, relevant and live and breathe the same stuff.
- Do your homework. Don’t waste anyone’s time. Chances are that if a reporter is on the press list for an event, they are going to be inundated with hundreds of meeting invites but they have decided to sit down with you. Be prepared to deliver insider knowledge on the space you’ve met to discuss. Stay abreast on what this person has been writing about, understand what they want to talk about before you even show up – your PR team can help with that. Lastly, ask them what they are working on so you can contribute your most valuable resource – expert insight.
There you have it – a quick and easy guide for hitting it off with any reporter at industry events. Good luck and have fun.