Issue Awareness and Media Strategy for Events
If you’re looking to get coverage for your event, or for an event you are participating in, you need to write a pitch explaining why a journalist’s audience will care.
Here’s the truth: A conference or an awareness day on its own is not news.
I recently asked a high-profile journalist how he handles “awareness day” pitches. He smiled and said, “I don’t do awareness days”.
Here’s another truth: Journalists want to write a story that is newsworthy or interesting to their audience.
So, if you’re looking to get coverage for your event, or for an event you are participating in, you need to write a pitch explaining why a journalist’s audience will care.
There are several ways to do that:
Localize the story
Include local statistics whenever you can. On National Men’s Health Day, our pitches to Nova Scotia media, for example, included statistics on how many overweight men are in Nova Scotia, and that the rate is 32% higher than the national average. Additionally, if you can find someone local to comment on your event – whether it’s a patient (for an “Awareness Day”), an attendee (for the event), etc., your chances of coverage increase significantly.
Humanize the story
A story about an “Awareness Day” can seem dull, but if you feature a person in your pitch – someone with a poignant story that will engage audiences – you increase your chances of coverage. As newsrooms shrink, journalists are looking for pitches that are complete with facts, a source they can interview, and a story that will evoke a reaction from their audience.
Go beyond the obvious media list
We recently worked with a business organization that had failed to garner any media coverage for their last few events. They contacted the same business journalists every year and had no responses. When we looked at their event, we saw missed opportunities. Their agenda included a variety of topics including technology, human resources, AI, education, and more. By developing unique pitches to journalists covering these topics, we went from 0 media interest to more than 300 pieces of coverage in just one year.
Don’t write a release about the event
This is especially important for brands hoping to garner coverage while attending large conferences. There are hundreds of other companies at the same event and many of them are also pitching to media. Journalists attending conferences are often busy covering major players and have little time for smaller brands. Instead of sending a release that you are attending an event, use the conference as an opportunity to engage the on-site media by announcing something interesting. Again, if you offer media a story that is newsworthy for their audience and easy to cover (since they’re already on site), you will have a better chance of catching a journalist’s attention.
Global Public Affairs works with a variety of clients who are looking to generate media coverage for events they are either hosting or attending. With several ex-journalists on our team, our plan always begins with asking “why will the audience care?” This has proven to be a successful strategy – we consistently see increased coverage for our clients and often help them exceed their communications goals.