When Lorraine and I first discussed going to Posidonia this year, we couldn’t quite believe that in the decade of working within the maritime sector, we were still ‘Posidonia virgins’. At last, the stars aligned (or should I say diaries) and 2018 was going to be the year we experience this legendary event.
Speaking to our customers and maritime journalists, we had heard a lot about this event. We were fired up, excited, but also somewhat apprehensive. The words ‘stamina’ and ‘party’ were mentioned a lot and true to form, the three days we were there did not disappoint.
What did we learn at Posidonia?
Preparation is king – our clients hear this a lot from us but it really does pay off. Not only for the clients that we support with media engagement, but also for EC-PR in helping to further raise the profile of our brand. After deciding to invest, we were determined to work this show hard – and that we did.
With 31 stand meetings over three days, it really was non-stop. Couple this with the British Embassy reception and copious other networking drinks/dinners, we were officially ‘pooped’ and ready to leave by the end of day three. And yet sad that, for us, the experience was all over!
Despite the extensive commercial, operational and regulatory challenges this industry continues to face, this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. With smiles on their faces despite the sweaty brow and sore feet, people were engaging, inspiring and the perfect hosts.
What will we do differently in 2020?
Our preparation was spot on. We had a focussed few days so, while initially we thought we would stay longer in 2020, I’m not sure this would be any more effective. We are great believers in process and trust our BD approach. Doing the leg work before the event meant we had a very productive few days and our follow up is methodical and imaginative. There have been a few bits of collateral which we would craft differently and follow-up information which has taken longer to develop than we expected. We will start the process on these materials earlier and the messaging within them will be more incisive.
Roll on 2020!
If you’d like to learn more about preparing publicity for a big event please read our Event Publicity blog series or request a copy of our Gold Standard guide email@example.com
The show is over folks… the attendees have left and the doors on your event are firmly closed. Now, it’s time to relax with a well-earned cuppa and some tasty biscuits.
Don’t get too comfortable though. Just because your event is over doesn’t mean you can simply walk away! There are still some key post-event activities you can be doing to keep the momentum going and continue to maximise your investment.
Make sure you….
Follow up with the journalists you and the team met and simply thank them for taking the time to meet with you and the team. If you promised them additional material, then make sure you send it through a few days after the show with suitable high res photography. Read our blog on how to write an impactful press release.
Think about providing your own brief account of the event – what surprised you, what was good, bad or indifferent. Send this to your key media contacts as they are likely to be putting together their own review of the show.
Ask your subject matter experts to write a short blog about their experiences of the event. Not only will this generate additional content that could attract visitors to the next event you attend, it will also be beneficial for your SEO and social media strategy. Read our blog on our time at Posidonia 2018 coming soon.
Most importantly, celebrate! Delivering an effective event publicity strategy can be a long and arduous journey so make sure you bring together the whole team to celebrate and appreciate all of the hard work that’s gone into it.
This blog is part of our series Event Publicity: The Gold Standard.
For a FREE COPY OF OUR EVENTS GUIDE: THE GOLD STANDARD, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ve prepped your ice-breakers, the Press Releases are printed out and you’ve got your contacts details all programmed in your phone. Now to prepare for the unexpected.
If a journalist happens to come by the stand unexpectedly or asks a question that is sensitive or ‘off message’, there’s no need to panic. Four key things to remember when handling the unexpected are:
Give yourself time to prepare
It’s ok to say to the journalist “now is not a good time and could you come back in 5/10 minutes or later in the day”. Ask the journalist what he/she is looking to discuss – that way you will have some time to think through what you or the subject matter expert need to say.
Have something worthwhile to say
If there are controversial or sensitive issues in your area of expertise, work out where you stand and don’t be afraid to air those views – but make sure you can back them up. Journalists are looking for experts who are prepared to give a strong opinion. If your company prefers not to comment on such issues that’s fine, but don’t be surprised if the reporters don’t bother to call you again.
Make it interesting and relevant
Avoid talking theoretically – use tangible examples to bring your points to reality. You will come across much more authoritative. And, don’t get obsessed with your own internal messages – by all means weave them in to the conversation, but be selective and thoughtful to keep them
Be Effective & Follow up
Follow up with the journalists you met and determine if they need anything further – if you promised to send them material, then do so. Don’t forget those images. If you have any new story ideas or feature abstracts, now is the time to send them to the Editors.
Trade shows and exhibitions are all about making connections – networking. Whether that is meeting new people or strengthening existing relationships, your role is to engage with your industry’s media and deliver a story. Be confident with your messaging and prepared to tackle those off the cuff or sensitive questions. This takes practice and experience, but go prepped and you can make the right impression to get your business noticed by the media organisations who matter.
Here are our tips to help you optimise your media networking at that all-important event:
1. Spend time thinking about your introduction/icebreaker
This can be as simple as your name and what you do followed up by simple open questions – don’t forget to smile!
2. Make your time memorable
Consider describing what you do in a more interesting or memorable way, for example, if you specialise in marine environmental protection, you could say that you are “the guardians of the deep”.
3. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them
Think about how you can put them at ease (quickly find a common ground, i.e, Is this your first time at this event? Who in the industry do you both know?) and make them feel more comfortable about asking questions – this will help you to manage your nerves too.
4. Every connection is potentially valuable
Whether it’s school children you could inspire, a politician you could influence, or a journalist you could educate, every interaction should be treated as an opportunity to practice being interesting and engaging.
5. Prepare three open questions
Encourage engagement by preparing three open-ended questions which cover safe territory.
What happens when you get thrown a curve ball? Keep following for next blog on How to tackle those unwanted/unexpected questions.
Missed our blog on How to write an impactful Press Release – read it here.
This blog is part of our series Event Publicity: The Gold Standard.
You are already an expert in your field but becoming a thought leader is considered the holy grail of PR and marketing. It’s when you’re called by the BBC News to be an expert on a breaking story, when the most respected industry trade magazine calls you for your opinion and when you’re asked to speak at those all-important industry events.
But in this noisy world where everyone has an opinion, how do you become a thought leader? How do you elevate yourself and the brand you represent, with your own clear, well thought out viewpoint?
The initial stages to becoming and staying a thought leader is taking the time to thoroughly Research & Formulate your thoughts before Communicating them with the media. Follow our tried and tested steps to get you started:
STAGE 1: RESEARCH THE 5 BE’s
Focus on something you are passionate about. You must genuinely love your subject. If you care, you will come across as authentic and credible. To remain current, you will need to keep abreast of the latest thinking relating to your area of expertise – reading widely is an essential practice for a thought leader as is talking to other experts to fine tune your opinions.
Research your area properly so that you are informed on different possible perspectives.Consider topical issues, those in the news – for example; climate change, autonomous ships and piracy, and develop your opinion on them. Writing and news reporting is rarely impartial, so think about what the motivation might be behind the various documented opinions you read.
BE EVIDENCE DRIVEN
Evaluate which angles have the most merit, and document these. Having looked at the main options, consider the evidence that the opinions are based on. Draw up a list of evidence the writers refer to and evaluate which you think is the most robust and persuasive. Which do you find the most compelling?
Develop your opinion with appropriate proof points.As you develop your opinions, remember to keep detailed notes and annotate your text so that you can keep track of where your influences have come from. Depending on the material format you produce, you may need to quote sources.
Create visual representations of your idea.Wherever possible, create models, illustrations, infographics or even cartoons to bring your ideas to life. If you struggle with this, find someone who can help you. Remember, different people engage with, and absorb, information in different ways; by using graphics you can simplify complex concepts, increasing your chances of engaging with more people.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
It’s critical to be clear about who you want to engage withbecause this will inform the tone and intellectual level you need to adopt in your language, content and presentation style. For example, the BBC News traditionally broadcasts news stories in a way that an average 14-year old can understand – this means researchers and interviewers drill down to the essence of a story, sometimes appearing to oversimplify it in order to make it accessible to its broad audience. Other media organisations will have a different approach or style.
STAGE 2: FORMULATE
PULL TOGETHER YOUR THOUGHTS IN A ‘THINK PIECE’
With the information you have researched, draft a minimum of 100 words on each of the points below… alternatively, you can record your thoughts into a voice recorder. Ask yourself the following questions:
Why do you care about this?
Why should your audience care about?
What facts/developments do they need to be aware of?
What common assumptions/mistakes are made when trying to deal with this and why are they wrong?
Can you provide some examples of good and bad practices… – names, case studies, more names!
How do you propose this issue could be approached? Identify your evidence for suggesting this could work.
Map out the resistance you anticipate to your proposal, quote naysayers. Explain why you believe these naysayers to be wrong.
Summarise what you expect to achieve if your approach is followed.
Draft your introduction… and your conclusion.
Once you have your 1000+ words, take your draft to a colleague or your PR company, to review and provide constructive comment. For your key ‘Think Piece’, do not aim for a word count. You are aiming to produce a thoroughly researched, well argued, interestingly composed opinion that will provoke responses in thought, word or deed. And when you have done that – stop.
With your Think Piece done, your next challenge is to get your opinions out there!
For help on how to reach the right media outlets and audiences, don’t miss our Stage 3 article on Communication coming soon or request our full FREE guide on How to become a Thought Leader at email@example.com
If you have reached the end of the blog and you’re not sure you have the time to action this, contact us to do the heavy lifting for you firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trade shows are meccas of newsworthy announcements because they provide the perfect launch pad to reveal new products, offer thought leadership from industry experts, and discuss industry trends. Media and consumers alike pay close attention to event news. If your company has a presence planned at an upcoming trade show or exhibition, you need to be prepared with the story you are there to tell. You need to create a press release that will get you noticed.
Identifying the Story
Before you put pen to paper, ensure you ALWAYS ask yourself the following questions:
Is my story ‘news’?Is it something that hasn’t been released to the press before and is it relevant or useful to your target audiences?
Have you secured third party permission to release the information? You don’t want to upset existing or potential clients or leak news too soon… take particular care to check facts and quotes.
What is the hook that will engage the journalist? You need to know what the USP of your story is and communicate it clearly.
What are the key messages you want to convey? Stick to having no more than three, otherwise your key message will get lost.
How to Write an Effective Press Release
Answered the above? You are now ready to write the Press Release.
Beat writers block by using our 5 W’s to help you write a stand out piece that will grab the media attention you are after.
WHOyou are working with:
WHATdifference have you made:
WHEN did this take place:
WHEREdid it happen:
WHYshould anyone take notice of this:
Your Final Check List
You’ve broken the back of it. Now it’s time to top and tail your story and tick off to ensure everything is covered.
You have the angle right. Make sure your story has the following attributes: it’s timely and unique, newsworthy or contrary to industry norms and trends.
You have a concise headline. Keep it punchy. Use less than ten words. The title should clearly signpost the key point presented in the opening paragraph.
It is written in the third-person. A press release must be presented objectively. Refrain from expressing personal opinions unless in quotes. Remember, you are the voice of your business or organisation, not an individual.
You have included relevant quotes. Journalists will use these to add an authoritative voice to their reports. Don’t waste quotes with ‘bland’ statements – say something intelligent and analytical and make sure the person who is saying it carries credibility or industry weight.
And don’t forget your ‘Notes to Editors’ section. Editors may want to follow up – make it easy for them, including all relevant contact details if they want more info, relevant social media hashtags, and any short facts (like recent awards or accolades) about your company that may be useful.