Hosting or participating at a conference? Then read on for tips for leveraging content, attracting media interest and generating buzz via social media at your next event!
Kylie Johnson of Johnson Media, an expert in digital content creation says there are simple yet effective ways to attract media interest when doing your own conference PR.
Talk to the media – provide them with information BEFORE the event
If you’re organizing a conference Johnson says that you need to incorporate some old-fashioned public relations techniques such as phoning journalists or having a coffee meeting to give them advance access to abstracts before the conference. Make sure you also invite them to the event – and that includes key bloggers.
Kylie suggests you email the media links to key content that has been filed on the conference website/blog and then ring them. For bloggers with an interest in your area, she says it’s important to offer them as much content, including video and photos, as possible leading up to and during the event – they can really help to spread the word and build interest.
If you’re trying to promote the whole conference, it is still important to sift through the conference program to find compelling content that individual journalists will be interested in. According to Kylie, people want to know about stories that will affect them or their family. Journalists like ‘different’ and ‘new’.
Use Twitter – dos and don’ts
If you’re hosting the event, or giving a paper it’s important to encourage the audience to tweet live so reiterating the hash tag at every opportunity helps.
You can also include links for people to watch live streams if you are filming the event and to promote upcoming conference segments and key speakers.
Kylie recommends that you warn your executives that some of the twitter comments will be negative. She says: ‘It’s vital that at least one representative of your organisation (or online conference team) is monitoring the twitter feed and has the permission to comment on the company’s behalf to correct information or provide new facts. It’s a great way of working out problems at the conference too. Delegates will complain about poor air conditioning or audio problems on Twitter long before they’ll complain in person.’
Some conferences have twitter streams on screens at the stage. Kylie is in two minds about this. She says ‘I find it distracting and can be a problem if you have a negative twitter stream going. The speaker doesn’t want to read that everyone hated their suit or thought their speech was boring’.
And if you don’t have live streaming/video editors, photographers or social media correspondents, Kylie says it is possible to cover a conference with an iPhone (for photos and audio interviews) and a MacBookPro….though its very hard work.
Make your conference blog interesting – content is king!
If you decide to have a conference blog in addition to a web page do your very best to write it as a journalist would. Keep the copy editorial not advertorial. And highlight the newsworthy and novel stories.
Kylie recommends you avoid filming a presentation and just putting that up online. “Long speeches can be very boring. Even the Academy Awards are boring, and they’re full of professional entertainers. You’re much better off doing quick video or audio interviews once the speaker has finished.”