Industry conferences and trade shows are back in full swing after a pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations are just starting to send team members back to events this fall as the heavy event season kicks off.
Conferences are educational and a great networking opportunity for your organization, as well as a source of leads. Industry events also are an excellent opportunity to set up meetings with media in attendance to highlight your organization’s expertise in your field.
Media meet and greets at industry events are informal conversations with representatives from local, regional, national, or industry trade media that attend the event. The purpose of a meet and greet is to showcase your areas of expertise, comment on any industry buzz happening at the conference and learn more about what topics the publication or outlet will be covering in the coming year. The goal isn’t to necessarily have an article or story published from the conversation, but rather to begin (or enhance) a relationship with the reporter(s) you are meeting with to become recognized as a credible source should that writer need you for future stories.
Meet and greets have been on hold for a few years due to canceled or virtual conferences, but they should be added back into your public relations plan if you attend events.
Here are some things to consider:
- Event exhibitors usually have access to the media list, so you can reach out to those that will be at the show. If you are not exhibiting, you can still reach out to your key media contacts and simply ask if they are attending.
- Meeting schedules fill up fast for anyone attending industry conferences and the media is no exception. Set up your meetings at least a month in advance.
- Like any other meeting, be sure to send a calendar notice to the reporter/writer with the date, time, and location of the meeting. You may have to contact the event planners to see if there are reserved meetings spaces. Otherwise, you can research the location to identify restaurants, coffee shops, lounges, etc.
- Provide details about your organization to the reporter/writer you are meeting with beforehand. Share links to any stories you have already been featured in from that outlet as well as any other relevant content such as blogs.
- Develop a briefing document for any team members that will be attending the meet and greet and include:
- Details about the outlet/publication including audience.
- Details about the writer including their beat and a sampling of recent articles or stories.
- Upcoming editorial topics of interest (for print publications).
- Ask thought leaders to keep the meeting short, concise, and on time. A half an hour is usually enough time.
- Ensure your PR team follows up after the conference with a thank you email and begin pitching stories to the writer when appropriate and relevant.
- Add the publication to your media tracking. Event though, not expected, sometimes articles are published based on conversations at conferences.
Media meet and greets are a great way to expose your organization’s thought leaders to journalists and make new connections to the media. If your company needs help with its PR strategy including how to maximize outreach through events, give Chartwell Agency a call.