Its officially November which means CES planning is in full swing. The event this year promises to be an interesting endeavor with activities happening over the weekend and brands showing up who haven’t had a chance to connect in-person in the last couple years. Getting in front of media will be a battle and only those brands that provide worthwhile interactions and content to reporters will see the fruits of their labor rewarded. If you are a global brand, producing a seamless global media strategy will be critical for success. With that in mind, we wanted to provide you with recommendations on the three keys to success of a global media effort:
The saying “the early bird gets the worm” is true. Reach out to your media targets well in advance of the show to have a solid sense of who will be attending in person vs. those planning to attend remotely. Have discussions with your clients to see if there’s any media ‘sponsorship’ opportunities available and, if this is an option, be selective and consider who to invite on a hosted basis. Ask yourself – what do you want to get out of it, and what will journalists get out of it? Establish a clear objective and create a planned schedule, incorporating free time for the media as well as designated slots for them to attend.
Media lists can soon become outdated. Prepare your target lists and keep them updated frequently as the show approaches. Spend time finding the appropriate media outlets and journalists rather than ‘assuming’ that specific contacts will be reporting the news, or worse— relying on mass media mailings. To minimize any duplication that could generate friction, be sure to cross-reference media lists across markets, especially with any Global/European publications. And don’t forget to make a point of double-checking those who have recently begun new positions, to make sure nobody is left off.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done but look to offer early previews where you can. The media landscape is only so big, and with so many brands and products vying for attention, if you’re in a position to give an early preview of products, this will put you in good stead. Share under embargo teasers and product info about what’s set to launch, or even better, arrange for some “hands-on” time with the products. This will position you for success and, ideally, result in coverage the moment the show doors open.
Keep your plans flexible. Of course, you should be looking to get as many meetings and briefings locked in as possible at the show itself but bear in mind that most journalists try to keep their schedules flexible and will be unlikely to commit to a specific slot before the show. Try to organise “drop-in sessions” that provide media with some level of flexibility but have some sort of time frame to keep in mind.
Last but not least, remember to include a hybrid strategy in your planning for your communications activities at the show. With the lingering pandemic and cost of living impacting some media’s ability to travel, you must make sure there’s a good balance of on-site and virtual activities for those attending in person and those dialling in virtually.
During the Event
In today’s active media landscape and volatile news cycle, it’s easy to get lost amongst the noise when it comes to gaining media attention and building relationships with key journalists. It’s even harder to get the media’s attention when you’re during large-scale conference events. The traditional way to grab media attention during an event is to pull together a media kit and pitch weeks prior in order to guarantee (as best as possible) time to connect and touch base. However, these days you have to be a bit scrappier and creative in your approach during conferences in order to beat out your competition for media’s time.
One way to do this is having something unique at your booth that will draw a large amount of attention. Since everyone either thinks they are showcasing the best and most innovative tech or that they have the best giveaway prize, look for ways to stand out with your branding or your booth display. Try thinking about designing your booth to resemble something popular in media. Media love to participate in “experiences.” Think of how popular activations such as The Stranger Things Experience or The Harry Potter Experience garner such notoriety. Try doing something similar (yet on a smaller scale) at your booth that will resonate with reporters on your radar that will be in attendance. Ensure you have an opportunity for media to take a fun photo or video from this so that they can share on their social channels and generate buzz with other media in attendance.
Another way is to make your booth a food or drink beverage pit-stop. Conferences can be long, stressful, and time consuming. Many attendees don’t always have time to grab a bite to eat. Bring in snacks, juice, even beer or wine and invite reporters to stop by any time. Check out your prospective media target’s updates and schedules via social media, and let them know you have treats at your booth and to stop by for some refreshments.
An obvious approach, yet often least leveraged, is inviting media to walk the exhibit floor with one of your key execs or spokespeople. This can be a very informative experience that will also still provide media the opportunity to experience the conference/event without having to limit their time to a focused briefing. In fact, being able to experience the conference with one another is an extremely effective way to set a good foundation to building a strong enough rapport for a solid relationship. This will likely lead to media wanting pick your execs brain a bit more from a professional standpoint and position them as a credible source for stories they may have come down the pipeline.
Ultimately it comes down to paying close attention to the type of media you’re looking to get in front of. If you have studied the media list fairly well and are familiarized with who will be in attendance, you can keep a close eye on their whereabouts via social media. From there you can find ways to get in front of media by going the extra mile leaning into popular trends or by simply being empathetic to the human experience.
Follow through post event
You are back home. You have had a chance to breathe and return to a seemingly normal schedule with CES starting to fade in your mental rearview mirror. I’m sorry to say, but you aren’t done yet! You worked hard to hustle and engage with press, and this is the time when you maintain that momentum by staying on journalist’s radars.
Be sure to send follow up emails with people you have met, but infuse more than just a “nice to meet you” note. Include a nod to news you have coming down the pipeline that the reporter might be interested in receiving. Give them more information about your company and interesting perspectives from your executives on news relevant to their beat.
Long story short, now is the time to continue the conversation and convert the relationship from a one-off event acquaintance to a long-term relationship.
Good luck to you this year! And if you’ve got any media pitching questions or concerns you’d like to discuss further, feel free to drop us a line.