PR events are excellent occasions for meeting potential clients and launching new products. But, as with all PR services, you have to prepare them very carefully if they should turn out to be anything other than a waste of time.
The People Meeting at Bornholm is an event in Denmark where politicians, market leaders, opinion formers, and anyone who is interested in debating and taking part in what goes on in the society meet once a year for a week of PR activities. It is the people’s celebration of democracy. It is also an excellent opportunity to present your company to clients and journalists. In order to prepare for such an event, you have to begin very early. You will want to book the best schedule and the best speakers for your PR program, and you will want to make sure the journalists will find your activities interesting enough to put in their papers.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
These are the words to remember. It goes without saying that all practical preparation must be done in time. But you should also ask yourself and your colleagues:
What is our strategic intention with this event? Why should we go? And why should others meet us there? What messages do we want to send, and how do we communicate them? What is the story that we want to sell to the journalists, and why should they write about us and not our competitors?
If your only intention is to be present and expand your network you miss out on an amazing opportunity to promote your company and you may as well stay behind your office desk.
So Much to Do, So Little Time
Over time, the number of journalists has decreased; meanwhile the number of stories to cover has increased. The days when journalists had the time to go on field trips for days are over. They need a very good reason why they should meet you at PR events.
At a PR event like the People Meeting at Bornholm, the journalists can pick and choose among an endless number of stories waiting to be told. But why should they pick your story? Put yourself in the journalists’ position and ask yourself: What’s in it for them? What’s in for their readers and followers?
The event is a great opportunity to launch a new product, but the journalists can smell a story of free advertising and product PR from miles away. You need to give them something else. Give a good brief and prepare the good story. Prepare something that is provocative like inventing your own keynote speaker instead of just booking one that you think is popular. Prepare something extraordinary, something new. Otherwise the journalists will look for the good story somewhere else.
Authors: Lars Jørgensen and Sara Stendevad, Jøp, Ove & Myrthu CPH, GlobalCom PR Network team in Denmark