Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Press Tour Tips

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a major in-person media tour with one of my clients. I learned a lot, and I was beyond stoked to see the super-modern New York offices of places like Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. Here are my tips, based on that two-day experience. So, obviously I’m the expert here…

Have the necessities, and then some:
Anything that can go wrong probably will, so be prepared. Here’s my recommended list:

Logistical PR Items
  • Copies of the press release and anything related (such as FAQs)
  • Business cards
  • Extra pens
  • Notebook
  • Smartphone to look up last-minute details
  • Back-up tablet or laptop for demos

“Life Happens” Items:
  • Mints/gum
  • Tide-To-Go
  • Hand/face wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ibuprofen
  • Tums
  • Hair/make-up accessories if your executive is female
  • Sewing kit
  • Phone charger
  • Cash
  • Band-aids

For the record, the only things I actually used off this “Life Happens” list were the mints and phone charger. But I guarantee that if I forgot one of them, I would’ve needed it. Murphy’s Law, right?

Call the Publication’s Offices Ahead of Time

The wise Lisa Astor reminded me to not only get the addresses, but call each place first and ask the receptionist about cross streets, parking, building security, etc. Your client is looking for you to lead the way – tell the cab driver where to go, and know the little nuances of various offices like you’ve been there a hundred times. Be the expert, not just in PR, but in travel time and locations. I guarantee I never would’ve found the IDG office that was above a spy store if I didn’t heed that advice from Lisa. Seriously, it was above a spy store. Yes, we checked out the spy store on our way, obviously.

Never Give Up On That Last Meeting

I really wanted to land a meeting with Bloomberg. I really, really did. We had great meetings booked in New York, including All Things D. But, I wanted Bloomberg, too. Call it a personal challenge. I called reporters, I followed-up, I talked to various editors. I boarded the train in Boston with an “I don’t have time,” from the reporter. A last-ditch phone call at Penn Station turned that into, “I can make time this afternoon.” Just because the briefing materials are printed and you’re already traveling doesn’t mean you’re out of time. 

Prep, Prep and don’t forget to prep.

So, you had a prep call and drafted briefing materials? Great, but that doesn’t mean that breakfast before your meeting with the Wall Street Journal should be spent chatting about the weather and Patriots. Okay, maybe a little about the Patriots. But take that extra time to go over the briefing materials, remind your client about the focus for each reporter and the best way to approach the demo. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll know that you did all you could to prepare them for the meeting. 

With enough preparation, press tours can lead to valuable introductions, long-lasting relationships with journalists and incredible coverage for product launches. 

Let me know in the comments what other tips you have for press tours.