5 tips to turn industry events into a PR success

As 2023 comes to an end and with 2024 already on the horizon, many organisations are already well underway with event plans for the coming twelve months. From OMR in Germany, to VivaTech in Paris or Slush in Helsinki, industry events provide companies of all sizes the opportunity to get noticed. However, driving ROI from events is getting harder and harder. How can you ensure they are a success for not only your marketing team, but your PR team too?

Here a few tips from our team!

Involve your PR team from the beginning

“Clients should involve their PR team as early as possible in the process, to help shape the topics and themes they’ll discuss. This needs to be done with broader consideration given to what topics are currently of most interest and value to journalists, so that client messaging can be tied in with stories that impact the wider industry (rather than being too insular, self-serving or corporate). Making yourself relevant is key.” Zoë Clark, Senior Partner and Head of Media and Influence.

Be ready at short notice

“Tying an important and relevant news announcement with event participation is of course a helpful way of encouraging journalists to notice you. However, at a time when most interviews take place virtually and tend to be scheduled in advance, the spokespeople need to be prepped and ready to act on the spot and deliver a great interview at a moment’s notice. Having PR representation on the ground can help – not only in with face-to-face interview preparation, but also for unforeseen moments, such as a journalist turning up unplanned at your stand. With most interviews now being over Zoom / pre-planned, getting ready and prepared for event interviews is more important than ever. Reviewing potential talking points, being clear on key messages and on what can and can’t be discussed with media are some of the ways to ensure stress-free interviews.” Pauline Delorme, Associate Director.

A chance to brainstorm new ideas and network!

“Attending events can seem daunting on the surface but once you’re on the ground the atmosphere is undeniably contagious. The excitement largely comes from not knowing who you might meet. In fact, if you’re ever wondering what the chances are of being in a room with world renowned CEOs, government officials and literal royalty, they’re surprisingly high. Events are the perfect opportunity to network. Not only do you get to put names to faces but you get to connect with people you may not otherwise come across. For this reason, it’s very important, particularly at smaller events, to make conversation with anyone you find yourself sat next to or waiting in line with. Even if they aren’t a key journalist or a representative of a potential new client, this is a great way to learn about new organisations or projects that may offer insight into the topic of the event. At an event we attended recently we struck up a conversation with one of our clients and a researcher from BT and ended up brainstorming ideas together just because they were having lunch at the same table as us. They contributed a great deal from their own expertise and perspective!” Oscar Osborne and Marwa Houadef, Consultants.

Be creative and think beyond the event

“Being creative and finding ways to create engagement at your booth is a great way to catch people’s attention and start conversations. One of our clients had a fun fair claw machine at one of their booths recently, which was a total hit! Most importantly though, brands should consider how they can maximise their investment and reap the rewards after an event. Being on-site provides many opportunities to create content that can have a much longer life for marketing. For instance, organising quick-fire interviews with other key spokespeople or prospects visiting your booth that can be recorded and published as videos or shared as case studies, driving marketing and sales efforts.” Lucy Horsman, Associate Director.

And when it comes to companies’ own events…

“Trade journalists have a lot of pressure to consistently publish articles and keep up with the news stream. If they consider visiting an event organised by a client, they must ensure to get some great content or insights out of it, especially if this involves travelling. When we invite journalists to a client’s own event, we try to give them not just access to company spokespeople but also to customers. We aim to get creative: are there any exciting external keynote speakers or major partners at the event that we could connect them with? Since journalists have a busy schedule, it’s important to invite them at least a month before the event date. The same goes for industry events where we want to organise on-site interviews with our clients. Timing is key and for a chance of success; it is crucial to approach them weeks (maybe even months) in advance.” Bastian Meger, Associate Director.