How to Generate Coverage From Conferences

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All brands want mentions in trusted third-party media outlets. But are you even investing in long-term strategies that will help you get them?

While media is fast-paced and social has sped up the way we consume news, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and look at the larger picture. What are you already doing to establish thought leadership and build brand awareness?

Brands put a lot of time, money and coordination behind hosting events, but not all think about how to target attendees beyond the traditional customer or prospect. Conferences provide journalists a prime learning experience and often lead to media coverage.

Want to make the most of hosting industry events? Here are four steps to pitching reporters and getting coverage from your upcoming conference.

1. Brainstorm and Plan

When planning your brand’s conference, think about what interests your target audience, including any emerging best practices or trending topics.

You could also use your conference to introduce new products or offerings. Apple always has a large number of attendees from the media at its Worldwide Developers Conference due in part to its keynote product unveilings.

Journalists want to break stories and stay on the cutting edge. Leverage your thought leadership and proprietary data to guide panel topics and attract attendees who will spread the word about what your brand is doing differently within your industry.

Want to earn more media mentions? Get 70 more ideas from our tip sheet!

2. Send Personalized Invitations

Use your media database to ensure the contacts on your influencer list still cover the topics your conference will explore. Then, segment your list further by determining who you have a loyal relationship with and who you are targeting for potential coverage.

Cision’s 2016 State of the Media Report, to be released Tuesday, found that the majority of journalists (93 percent) prefer to be contacted via email. Keep this in mind when sending an invitation and remember to include all the event details within your email, not as an attachment.

A week before your conference, send a media advisory that provides journalists an idea of what they could report on if they attend.

3. Announce and promote conference panelists

Build interest leading up to your event by focusing on the individual thought leaders presenting at your conference. 

If your speakers have a large following on social, leverage them to generate more noise around the event. For example, you could hold a Twitter Q&A session prior to the event or post short video introductions on Facebook and Instagram.

Make it easy for your speakers to contribute to the conversation by providing them with social media templates including your event hashtag. Doing so will expand your reach and increase your chances of getting media coverage.

4. Send a press release

Don’t forget to use this traditional PR tactic to your advantage. But before you start writing, think about what you want to convey in your news announcement.

Are you looking for more national outlets to cover the event? Do you want your news release to serve as an event reminder to local newspapers or TV stations?

Whatever angle you decide to take, make the most of your announcement by following these headline writing tips. Want to take it one step further? Include multimedia, like videos or infographics, that reporters can reference in their stories, before or after your conference takes place.


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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2

About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.

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