Holding a successful media event is harder than ever as public relations professionals are competing with an unparalleled number of events and brand activations, and the media are working harder than ever doing the jobs of two and three people. The challenging atmosphere makes it even more important to ensure your media event will stand out, interest the media and ultimately drive them to take action.
Moore Communications Group (MCG) recently held a media event in Miami on behalf Lincoln Motor Company called Lincoln Black Label @ Home. After each event I lead, I like to hold a most mortem with the team to determine if the event was a success. I’m proud to say, our team exceeded all five criteria I use to evaluate media events. So, I’ll let you in on a little secret, here are four signs that confirm whether your organization’s media event was a success:
1. The Media Accepted Your Invitation & Showed Up
As basic as that sounds, breaking through the hundreds of emails and phone calls that media receive each day is a success in itself. Securing media to attend your event is a sign that your messaging resonated with them and was intriguing enough for them to break away from their desk or turn down an invitation to another event (or more likely, both).
For the Lincoln Black Label @ Home invitation we crafted the messaging with care using cues like “exclusive press preview,” and “personal tour,” and “one-on-one access” to let the media know this event would be worth their valuable time. We also used a highly visual invitation so they could get a sense for the evening’s theme and ambiance allowing them to know this would truly be a luxury event on the level of their readership.
More than 40 members of the media accepted our invitation and attended the event on the same night as the opening of the Miami International Boat Show.
2. The Media Were Engaged During the Event
I’m not talking about simply enjoying a cocktail and having a pleasant conversation. Having the media ask questions, conduct 1 on 1 interviews, and actually ask you for additional information and images is a sign that your event was a success.
Beyond building relationships, media attending the Black Label @ Home event asked for interviews with the product specialists and subject matter experts on hand. They took their own photographs, requested supplemental photography, and asked how they could access fact sheets and news releases on each of the vehicles. Lucky for us (and them), we had specially prepared press kits with USB drives loaded with everything they could need.
3. The Media Couldn’t Wait To Tell Their Followers About Your Event
You can tell when the media break out their phones and start tapping. When your event is interesting, your media want their loyal fan base to be the first to hear about it and to know they were there. Live tweeting, and Instagram engagement is telling that your event was a success.
We supplied the hashtag #Lincoln Black Label to media and encouraged them to use it throughout the evening. During the event many members of the media were active on social media with 23 active “social” guests at the event. The media produced 100 pieces of content throughout the evening reaching a potential collective network on Twitter and Instagram of 216,542 followers.
4. The Media Produced Stories
Show me the money. Well, at least show me the media coverage. Media events are ultimately about earning media coverage so that your story can reach your intended audiences. Tracking media coverage for number of placements, quality of placements, key message inclusion and tonality is an important metric when considering the success of an event. Timing for media coverage can range depending on short lead and long-lead publications, but a successful event should result in quick, quality placements.
While the event only took place on February 12, we are already earning media on digital outlets with slated dates for print stories.