There are many different ways we here at BLASTmedia get our clients in front of key media influencers, including events such as trade shows and press tours. We covered the importance of trade shows and press kits with Chantal’s recent post, but a press tour can be another great way to get clients and their products top-tier editorial coverage. As the weather heats up and our clients have new and exciting products to share, our press tour planning has picked up full steam!
A press tour, or media tour, is taking the client to meet face-to-face with editors to promote the product or service and to build relationships with their target media. Most of the heavy-hitters are located in New York City, but other media hubs such as Boston and San Francisco are also good destinations for a tour, depending on the type of media with which the client would like to meet. Press tours require a lot of time and organization, but can be extremely beneficial for the client when done right.
The most important first step is to decide when (or even if) to take a client on a press tour. Here are three questions to ask the client if they are interested in planning a press tour:
- Is there something NEW to show to the media? If editors are going to take a face-to-face meeting with your client, they’re going to want to see something brand new. If the product is old (yes, six months is “old” in a product life-cycle) or has already been covered extensively in the news, an editor is not as likely to meet with the client.
- Is the product or service something that can be demonstrated in a meeting? The most important part of the press tour meeting is the demonstration of the product because this is where you “sell” the product to the editor. We suggest press tours to our clients that have products that are easier understood in person, or that have a “wow” factor that you can’t get through an email or a phone call. If editors are going to take the time to meet with your client, they like to see something more than what they could read in a press release or product fact sheet.
- What is the goal of the press tour? While media coverage is probably the main goal, asking your client specifically what they are looking to gain from the press tour is key. A client may be interested in only meeting with editors from print publications or key bloggers, or they may want to establish relationships with editors for future products down the line. Whatever the client’s goals may be, it is necessary to determine these before deciding to plan a press tour.
There are, of course, many different reasons for a press tour, but these questions are a great first step to making sure that a press tour is worth the investment to the client.
After determining that a press tour is the way to go, now comes the hard work…the planning and scheduling! Organizing a press tour can be stressful, so here are some tips from our press tour experience to ensure that everything goes smoothly:
- Timing is everything. Make sure that you decide on dates that the media will be available. Obviously, everyone’s schedules won’t align perfectly, but try to avoid planning a tour for a holiday week , or if there is a major trade show that you know will already have editors’ attention. Mondays and Fridays aren’t great meeting days for editors, so mid-week appointments are generally the best option.
- Target Practice. After you and the client have determined the type of media with which you’re looking to meet, start making the outreach. Determine the press that are located in the chosen city, and make a master list of all of the media with which you would like to schedule meetings. If an editor from one publication isn’t interested or can’t meet with you, try someone else from the same publication to see if their schedule works better. Scheduling the meetings can be the toughest part, but if you have relationships with editors or the product is something really cool, editors will want to meet.
- Showtime. Once the planning and organization is all done, it’s your time to shine. When meeting with the editors, make sure that you have prepped the client on each meeting and who will be doing the talking. Editors don’t usually have a lot of time to meet, so it is important to have a plan of attack beforehand. At the end of the meeting, you want the editor to have an understanding of the product, and hopefully a plan for coverage.
- Bonding. A press tour is an opportunity to spend quality time with your client. While you are obviously on a business trip, getting to know your client while on a press tour can be beneficial to your professional relationship. Nowadays, our client communication is so often done over phone and email, and a press tour gives you the opportunity to spend a couple days with the client and strengthen that relationship.
- The Aftermath. Finally, the most important part of the press tour is, drumroll please….the follow-up! After the press tour is complete, it is up to the PR professional to continue the dialogue with the editors you met in order to secure coverage for the client’s product. While meeting with the editor will go a long way in establishing a relationship, it is still up to you to continue to follow up with the editor and secure the coverage.
These tips just scratch the surface of planning a successful press tour, but hopefully they give a sense of all that goes in to the organization of a press tour. As you can see, press tours can be a lot of work, but the outcome can be worth it!
As I mentioned earlier, we here at BLASTmedia are gearing up for a spring/summer full of press tours. Lindsey just took our client, Etón Corporation, on a very successful press tour to New York City last week. Lindsey scheduled fourteen meetings with editors from top consumer media, and met with editors from Popular Mechanics, Men’s Journal, TIME and Rolling Stone – just to name a few. We are also currently planning press tours for clients nobis and ZOMM in the coming weeks, and may add more for any other clients that can benefit from meeting with editors face-to-face.
Now you know our tips and tricks for planning a successful press tour for a client. Do you have any additional suggestions to share?
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