Landing the perfect speaking opportunity for a client is every PR practitioner’s dream – it’s the fruition of quite a bit of work. The team spent hours vetting a plethora of events for media worthiness, networking potential, expected audience, and alignment with key messaging and themes. Comms teams must also align event outreach with other business units to streamline efforts and cut down on duplicative efforts. And all of this happens before the submission abstract, speech content and social content is developed. Then run-of-show fun begins: logistical and operational considerations, confidence monitors, floor plan, presentation specs, A/V criteria and rehearsal times – all finally neatly planned and packaged.
So now that prime speaking opportunity is secured…how to best maximize the event, so it’s not just one-and-done? How do agencies take a singular high-impact moment and recalibrate it for multi-purpose longevity?
Extending the impact as long as possible is a matter of combining three very important elements:
- Careful planning
- Strategic timing
- Topnotch content
And, lest we forget, in any campaign, it is crucial that success parameters are defined early on. As a general benchmark, most executives at the podium are seeking to promote their corporate or organizational reputation, demonstrate leadership credentials, and ultimately, influence stakeholders’ behavior to achieve certain outcomes. Happily, there are a variety of ways – before, during and after – to ensure that actually happens. Let’s take a look at how agencies can execute on a multi-channel strategy to extend the life of that event!
What should the pre-event checklist look like?
Networking: Setting up a sponsored breakfast, reception or other event bolsters visibility and provides a nice touch point with client prospects, customers, partners and other key audiences. Promote it everywhere – website, email signature, social channels
Media blitz: At least six weeks prior, proactive outreach to attending media for 1:1’s is crucial. Great time to pre-pitch long lead outlets and the event show daily to seed day-of-event coverage.
Get social: A robust presence on social channels prior to the speaking event is key, and a consistent content calendar should be initiated at least four weeks ahead of time. Your client should tap into Twitter to connect with attending media, and LinkedIn for colleague connections. Use the event hashtag and promote it weekly.
How about during the Event?
Capture that red-carpet moment: Livestream is the best, but at the very least, the executive’s speech or panel should be recorded. Curated content from the event can be used for media activations, upcoming trade shows or seasonal moments, contributed bylines, and ongoing feature pitching.
Get digital: Video interviews with partners, media or customers can serve as digital content for website use, as well as B-roll for broadcast pitching and even marketing collateral.
Get even more social! Real-time posting of photos, videos and content across social channels, using conference hashtags and trending key words, drives engagement and sparks conversations. On-site Reddit AMA, Facebook Live or other real-time social channel creates more opportunities for engagement, plus it creates assets for future use on LinkedIn, YouTube and the Web.
And after, what then?
Put that owned content to work! Yes, content is still king and nowhere is this more evident than in a public speaking forum; the development of evocative, compelling content with consistency of messaging and a unified (and interesting) POV is crucial. Speech or panel content can be used for bylined articles, post-show email marketing, partner communications, and customer or prospect e-blasts.
Blogging/vlogging: Distill video and imagery for post-show visual conversation. Craft a “best of” or “top ten” list from on-sight video and get your YouTube game on. Capture media interviews and develop an industry insights blog. Post it on LinkedIn and Medium with some paid behind it to make sure your C-level is reaching his or her A-game.
Expand the influencer network: Build a database of influencers culled from event attendance to further build your client’s network of supporters. Don’t forget your journalist friends! Clients and agency staff alike should follow journo’s on Twitter and be sure to re-tweet relevant articles.