If you think promotion is vital for an in-person event, wait until you see all the possibilities available when it comes to virtual events.
Virtual events give companies and professionals the power to reach people worldwide. Reaching audiences, they’d never be able to touch a formal event – no matter how big or small.
These kinds of outreach opportunities can open doors that were once closed and expand your company’s reputation in ways that would typically take years of networking and hard work.
But there’s one downside: attention from media outlets doesn’t come automatically. People don’t follow virtual conferences as they do with physical ones and all your virtual event planning goes for nothing. These events have a lot less cultural significance than their physical counterparts do. To solve this dilemma, you need to know how to prepare your virtual event for coverage.
Here are some tips you can use to get media outlets interested in covering your virtual event:
Think of Your Virtual Event Like a Conference – not as an Online Seminar
Media outlets aren’t interested in what’s happening on your website or online platform. Many people live their lives solely offline and may never even log onto the Internet so that they won’t be checking out your virtual conference either way.
Don’t think of it as an “online” extravaganza. Instead, look at it like any other business conference – only held with web conferencing software rather than hotel ballrooms and convention centers. That’ll help you market your event to media outlets and get it in front of more people than you’d typically expect.
Showcase Your Event’s Identity – not your Company’s Brand
The virtual event itself should be the star, not your business’ brand. The public needs to know why they should be interested in attending your conference, and that can only come from focusing on what’s new and exciting about the event (rather than what makes your company look good).
When planning how you’re going to pitch yourself to journalists, don’t talk about how successful or well-known you are; focus on the topic of interest for this year’s show instead. You’ll make a lot more headlines if you do it right!
Get Creative with Press Release Formats
Most media outlets don’t cover virtual events very often, so they’re going to be more interested in your coverage if you give them a press release that’s different from the norm. You can do this by trying out new formats and styles; some of these ideas might include:
- Including multiple photos with every press release (you only need one for standard press releases).
- Emphasize the importance and relevance of your conference with short quotes and blurbs.
- Dedicating a large portion of the text to explaining how this event will benefit readers.
- Showcasing an infographic summarizing all the essential information for easy digestion.
Use Video as Part of Your Press Release Package
Many people don’t like reading long web pages or news articles – especially those who work in the media. Try including video clips of the speakers at your virtual conference as part of your press release package to solve this problem.
You can do this by doing an exclusive interview with one or several of the presenters involved with your virtual event and using that clip as a preview to sell journalists to attend your conference (or at least cover some of it).
Focus on Selling Journalists on How Virtual Events Benefit People, not on Your Company
Virtual conferences are a fantastic way to connect people worldwide. They help small businesses grow large audiences quickly and make strategic connections that generally take years to build up.
For these reasons, focus all of your pitches on why you’re getting media coverage towards how virtual events can benefit the people reading your press release. Business journalists are more interested in content that helps their readers improve their businesses, not ones that make them look good.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Event before the Press Does
Since virtual events are still relatively rare, there isn’t much news about them out there for media outlets to cover. It would be best if you got yourself some attention at least six months before your conference starts to solve this issue.
Start building momentum by publishing posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter about essential developments with your event (but don’t post so frequently that it bores readers).
Once enough time passes, create another buzz by sending an email to all of these same contacts asking for feedback on what your virtual event should be about. This is an easy way to get the public interested in your conference before it even starts!
Turn Virtual Attendees into Virtual Conference Reporters
Virtual conferences are amazing because of the global coverage they bring. But that can only be achieved if you have attendees from around the world participating online at the same time as well! To solve this problem, create tasks for your virtual attendees, so they don’t lose focus or interest while you wait for press attention to arrive.
Make these tasks social ones like tweeting about your upcoming conference on Twitter or creating a profile page with information about your virtual event. This will make it more likely that media outlets notice them and contact their local contacts for interviews.
Create a Virtual Conference PR Plan with Clear Goals for Media Coverage
If you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to get media coverage for your virtual conference, it’s unlikely that much of an audience will know about it until after it starts. Thankfully there are tons of ways to get in touch with the press.
But you need to sit down and come up with a clear idea of what type of coverage you want that matches your goals before contacting anyone. You should have at least three goals for each aspect of your conference/company when crafting this plan.
Use Your Previous Successes as Promotional Tools During Current Events
You might not think that any publicity is good publicity. However, journalists like at least one thing even better than bad news: more news! If you’ve done something cool (like winning an award) and then your virtual event starts. Take that previous success and turn it into a promotion to get media attention.
You could place ads about your current event on the same page, like the one with older coverage of your business, or commenting on past articles could spark enough conversation to reach journalists who are interested in following up on their old stories.
Provide Journalists with Exclusive Content to Get Media Coverage for Your Event
Finally, there’s no point in getting press if they only write about your business because it costs them money. So give them content they can’t find anywhere else online! This doesn’t have to be something complicated – just provide journalists with a specific article about your virtual conference that they can link to when writing about you.
This content could be an image gallery, a video interview, or even just the agenda for your event. Whatever you do, though, make sure that it matches the quality of work already out there and give reporters enough time to write their articles.