International events can be a key part of a PR and marketing campaign for brands and organisations. The signal is – you are big, global and successful. Whether you’re launching a new product, making a major announcement or kicking off a new initiative, nothing will get you top quality coverage as much as a strategically positioned event. Here, I give five tips for B2B PR pros looking to create a successful international event for their client.
1. The X Factor
Journalist inboxes are inundated with event invitations. When writing your journalist invite, whet their appetite. Use words like ‘the first’, ‘the fastest’, or ‘the only’. Journalists are interested in news – the important thing being that it’s new – so don’t forget this. Also, offer them information they won’t find out anywhere else unless they turn up. After all, there has to be a compelling reason for them to come from half a world away. Journalists won’t want to write about something that’s old hat, so be certain what you’re promoting is unique or at the very least different from the rest of the competition. Remember, it’s the story they’re after, so don’t think too outside the box – you don’t want people to turn up with knives to your event.
2. Location, location, location
I’ve never been good with geography, but I can tell you hosting an event in London will probably get you more journalists than if it was in Timbuktu. If you’re planning on inviting press from all over the world, make sure wherever you host your event has an international airport. Journalists won’t want to travel for 48 hours on 5 different planes to hear about how your company is building tangible business outcomes!
3. Don’t be scared to invite new targets
So now you have the perfect invitation ready to entice a host of journalists from all over the world. But it’s not just about quantity. Target your outreach to journalists from relevant industry publications who have covered topics related to your announcement. If it’s a new solution in the IT industry, who are the most influential journalists in that market? Who have you had a relationship with before? Don’t forget, events are a great way to build new media relationships, so don’t be scared to also invite new targets.
4. Do the prep work
Does the journalist need a visa? What time is the connecting flight? How far away is the airport from the hotel? All very important details that need to be addressed well in advance in order to avoid any slip ups closer to the day. With events, expect the unexpected, because chances are something will crop up out of the blue which will need your immediate attention. As one kind journalist put it to me, “Sorry about the late change in flights, it must be like herding sheep for you at the moment.” Do the hard work early to reap the rewards later on.
5. Follow up – it’s good to talk
Journalist hasn’t replied to your email invitation? You’ll be amazed at the amount of extra hits picking up the phone can get you. And when the event has finished, don’t let those journalists forget they turned up. The end result of any event is to see your brand lit up on lights in a top-tier publication, so don’t forget to follow up and see if the journalists need any more information to make that happen.
Putting your company centre stage
IBA has been working closely with its Aerospace & Defence client to launch its brand new solution in the APAC region. The Far East is witnessing a boom in air passenger demand and we all agreed that we should use this region as the launchpad for our client’s global solution for the civil aviation market.
Working from a single hub in the UK, we managed to tie down a tonne of top-tier journalists from leading A&D publications all over the region – from Australia and India, to Thailand and South Korea. And it didn’t cost a fortune either.
Unlike the A&D industry, building PR buzz for your event isn’t rocket science. Set out a plan and follow the steps above and you should be well on your way.
Simon Woolley is engagement specialist at IBA International