For most PR pros, promoting events through the media is a core skill. Most of us, at one time or another, have had to pitch the media to “cover” our client’s events. And, that skill continues to be relevant today. But, with tools like blogs, smart phones and online video and photo-sharing tools, brands no longer need only the media to cover their events.
They can do it themselves.
I know I’m not exactly breaking big news here. The concept of brands covering themselves is hardly innovative (although the concept of “brand journalism” is still relatively new for most companies). But, what I wanted to discuss are some general observations of what I’ve seen brands doing the last couple years in terms of covering their own events–and what I think more brands *should* be doing in that realm.
Here’s four ways brands currently cover their own events–and four ways I think they could do it more effectively.
What most do: Write a blog recap of the event using 1-2 key photos.
What you should do: Write a blog recap of the event using virtually all photos (10-12)
Most event summaries I’ve seen are just that–text summaries. Which is fine. They usually include a photo or two. Great. But, a better solution may be to summarize the event through photos. Lots of them. Why? Because photos will tell your story better than words. Plain and simple. Start with 1-2 short paragraphs of intro, summarizing the event at a high level, then let the photos do the talking.
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 FlickR has become a dumping ground for photos just like this. How many times have I searched for a photo, only to come across REAMS of photos from a single event where it’s dignitary #1 with dignitary #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 pics in real-time using an app like Instagram? Granted, this requires some set up (and a customer base that’s techno-savvy iPhone users). You’d want to promote the fact that you’re going to share these pics via an app like Instagram for days/weeks in advance (maybe on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletters, etc.). But, the opportunity to share pics in real-time, as they happen, with captions is a bit more powerful. Brands like Burberry are already catching on to this trend, as they took things a step further and handed over their IG account to popular photog, Mike Kus, earlier 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 a bit 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 Web sites. Would they be open to sharing a link–or snippet (or all)–of your post in the days/weeks ahead? Look for other syndication opportunities for your event recap content, too. Think about industry e-newsletters and blogger e-newsletters as well.
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 it to their Web sites. 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. But you do. So, why not re-create your own interviews, post them on YouTube/Vimeo and make them more shareable (and ownable, by the way)? Employing this strategy will give you a video interview to embed in your blog post recap, instead of linking to the media site interview (read: easier for readers, and much more attractive, even it is a bit less credible). Just interview the spokesperson as the media would and voila!: Instant video interview content for your blog recap.
What about you? Any other tips for how to best cover your own events?
Note: Photo courtesy of smiling_da_vinci via FlickR Creative Commons.