Remember those two glorious weeks in July when it seemed that things were finally “getting back to normal”? COVID-19 numbers were down, companies were planning travel, and organizations planned for in-person events this fall and winter. Enter Delta. Many events, which were scheduled to be live, moved to virtual or hybrid. While a handful of tech trade events have safely taken place this fall, including Mobile World Congress LA, attendance was lower than passed shows, mostly US-based, and many companies, due to safety policies, could not make the trip.
While as an agency, we want to be optimistic that events will return to in-person, if another variant comes through, we need to be prepared to adapt. We will see both in-person, virtual and hybrid events next year, as CES 2022 will be both in-person and digital.
Obviously, the top priority is the health and safety of everyone involved, but it can be frustrating and disheartening to have an event canceled when you have in-person demos, press events and meetings scheduled with analysts or top decision-makers. So how can you make the best of it? Here are a few PR tips to make the best of another (possible) season of online or hybrid events:
Promoting and getting attendees to log on for online presentations and announcements is challenging, especially after a year and a half of webinar fatigue. Consider partnering with another organization, such as a larger brand partner or customer, to bring new life to your announcement and expand your reach to new customers and media contacts.
Block off the days you were meant to travel and be in person and fill them with one-on-one meetings with the media and analysts. Have an update prepared for the status of your organization, but also take the time to check in with them on what they are seeing for the future of the industry and the types of stories they are looking for. This is also a great opportunity to discuss upcoming contributed content for end-of-year wrap-ups and future predictions.
Have a product launch or breaking news? If you can hold the news until the event, schedule an interactive, livestream press conference to help garner attention and increase attendance with time for media questions and comments. Be sure to follow up with attendees with a copy of the press release and any additional multimedia materials they can download for their use.
Invest the money you are saving on travel and in-person expenses and send a gift in the mail to invitees to entice them to join your online meeting. Another idea is to have an online raffle for attendees or an interactive game show to keep things fresh and interactive.
When things shift, be sure to promote your event presence and big announcements through blogs, social media and email marketing. Use hashtags and tag event promoters to gain additional attention for your event and be sure company employees know and use hashtags when they are posting as well. Encourage visitors to your event and be sure to include your own brand’s Twitter handle. Record and post any online event to your company’s website so you can continue to link to it in the future.
As we continue to navigate the landscape of conferences and events in 2022 there are still many opportunities to capitalize on these events and get your organization’s message out. Taking advantage and amplifying your message using these PR tips and techniques can help drive awareness with the media, analysts and public.
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