11 Nov Is that Anderson Cooper in our Parking Lot? Our Top Event PR Tips
Twenty-five press interviews later and the weekend is here. That’s right, we did 25 press interviews with clients this week. We thought we would share a few of our tips on how to plan your media strategy surrounding a high-impact event (before we sleep through the weekend).
No, Anderson Cooper is not going to just show up in your parking lot to interview you.
We have known the election would be on November 8, 2016. We have known this for months, years. Determine your subject matter experts (SMEs) and all the possible scenarios for your SMEs to speak on surrounding any sort of event. For example, one of our clients is in real estate. We knew he would offer such a unique perspective on how a real estate developer operates, plans and executes. His bio and thoughts on our real estate developer in chief was on the desk of several business reporters three weeks ago. We sent a reminder on November 1st and then called the day after the election. And guess what, he had interviews and press mentions. Better, my client did not even vote for the guy.
(Here is a fun fact—we have a producer who we work with and he has a binder (a binder!!) of contacts for a variety of situations—if the stock market drops; if the Pope should die; an asteroid should hit earth; if the Cubs win the World Series, etc. Producers and reporters need resources and experts. They need YOU!)
Another one of our clients knew they had a strong story to tell post-election. And when we sent out messaging to reporters, our client gave specific times for availability, access to cell phones, direct dial in his office. Our client was so available that he did an interview at 10 PM the night of the election! By being just available (so simple!) to the press, our client had his voice heard the loudest and was quoted the most within his industry. Who knew event PR could be so easy?!
Be prepared for follow-up.
We like to sit in on all press interviews with our clients. Somewhere during the call, the reporter will ask for something to be sent (policy statements, specific data, market reports). That is not my client’s responsibility to send that follow up email, it is our responsibility. One, because it is another way to ‘touch’ the reporter, another is it gives us a reason to follow up with the reporters, and finally, every reporter likes their requests to be met. Data and information backs up quotes and opinions. What we learned this week, data is king and opinions mean nothing.
Finally, we like to believe that the best answer you can give to the press is the truth. Our one client this week was asked what he thought of the President-Elect, and his response was it does not matter what I think, I am concerned about the policies. That is some truth. Another client of ours actually wrote a blog about his thoughts on the election—and every reporter picked up on it. And let me tell you, that was some truth there—check it out. But we have had clients tell reporters, that is not my expertise, my answer would not be important to the discussion, or you need to go ask so- and so-that question, they are better suited. Truth is the Queen to good data.
But you know the best lesson we learned this week? Have a media strategy for your event PR. When you have a plan, have built relationships with reporters in advance, you can surely be a part of key discussions and create an opportunity to showcase your expertise and your organization’s abilities. Some call it free advertising, we call it validation.
Don’t have a media strategy? Contact us – we can craft one for you.