How to achieve media coverage for your live stream event

Ticket Co TV

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic many organisers and venues are turning to the internet to hold pay-per-view live stream events. PR is a powerful way to generate awareness of events.

Live stream events are an effective way to continue to engage with audiences and to generate vital funds while venue use is restricted. Our client TicketCo, an events payment platform, innovated at the beginning of the COVID-19 and created a live streaming service that combines broadcasting and ticketing on one platform. Branded as TicketCo TV it has served to support the events industry during the lockdown and will continue to do so via hybrid events in the future. 

Fortitude Communications has supported TicketCo TV to launch its new service and provide on-going PR and communications services. This has included providing support to TicketCo TV’s clients to help generate awareness of their live stream events via PR

This week TicketCo TV invited Fortitude founder Greig Box Turnbull to join its latest webinar to provide advice on how to achieve media coverage for live stream events. Greig outlined the core principles of PR, processes that can be followed, tips to develop a compelling story, and how to engage with the media to secure relevant media coverage. 

Tom Rasmussen, Chief Communications Officer at TicketCo TV, said: After we launched TicketCo TV in the spring we have done several webinars on technical, legal, and marketing aspects of live streaming and video on demand for our clients and the general public. How to achieve media coverage to increase sales is a highly relevant topic for any organiser, and we were fortunate to have Greig Box Turnbull of Fortitude Communications to do a webinar on this subject for our audience. I am happy to say that this webinar was both thorough and most relevant. It contained lots of key takeaways for organisers on how to approach the media and what you need to consider before doing so.” 

You can listen to the 40-minute webinar in full here, or read the key pointers in our overview below. 

What is PR?

Before embarking on PR activity is it good to reflect on what it is. 

Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you,’ The Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

As you can see PR is incredibly broad and can effectively encompass all communications. This means before you embark on a piece of communications activity in order to support your live stream event you should first consider how you want your event, or venue, or organisation to be perceived and therefore how you should communicate. 

How PR can help your live stream event

Firstly, it can help with third party verification’, this is essentially achieved when a respected publication or website publishes an article about you. This provides reassurance to potential ticket buyers that your event is reputable. This in turn can help enhance the perceived value of your event and overtime could help on your ticket pricing. Crucially PR can help increase your brand awareness and reputation. On this basis it is important that when you conduct PR to promote your live stream event you already have a communications strategy in place that covers how you want to be positioned externally, so that your messaging around the event portrays your business correctly. 

Effective PR also supports sales and business development activity, increasing awareness and reputation will help your sales team. But additionally, digital PR and traditional PR can directly encourage people to purchase tickets. 

PR also helps improve your company’s Google ranking. By securing PR pieces on third party news websites that are of a high Google authority your website will in turn be ranked more strongly by Google. Overtime this help you climb the Google ranking and supports wider efforts to achieve and maintain a position on page one of the search engine. Lastly it also helps with social media activity, as you can share any coverage achieved directly with your engaged audience to help reinforce the strength of your reputation and awareness of your event. 

Key considerations before conducting PR 

Before embarking on PR activity for your event it is important you ask yourself some key questions. By doing this it will ensure your PR activity is as meaningful and beneficial to your business aims as possible.

The first key question is what business objectives can PR support? This should be the key aim of your PR programme. Your overall business objective might for example be to grow your business revenue by 25% across 12 months by hosting monthly pay per view live stream events. Then you should consider how PR can help enhance your event’s reputation and how you want your business to be perceived. By working this out early in the process you will be able to use all PR activity to communicate key messages that help enhance your reputation and build perception of your brand that befits the company. For example, you may wish to be positioned as a premium event, or a company that has strong sustainability values etc. By communicating this you will build that reputation and attract the right type of customers, suppliers, partners, and staff. Next you should consider who are your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? By defining this you will be able to ensure you get your messaging right and then identify the right publications to approach with your PR.

Lastly, make sure that any PR activity you undertake for your live stream event fits into your wider communications strategy. This will ensure messaging is consistent and there are no overlaps in planned output. If you do not have one, use this as an opportunity to create one. 

Plan for success 

Once you have worked through all the key considerations it is important to create your planning documents. It will be tempting to write a press release and get it out to the media as quickly as possible, especially when you have just booked your venue and artists and put tickets on sale. But remember PR is about your reputation, not just selling tickets and so it is important plan and get it right. 

Firstly, produce a short strategy. This will effectively be a positioning statement that defines how to position your company publicly in support of your overall business objectives. This is an important step as it really captures the essence of your business which can then be incorporated into your communications output. 

The next step is to produce a key messaging document, this help you focus on how to describe your business and event and which terms and phrases to use in communications. Then create a content plan. This is an effective a way to map out your communications activity. It helps you work out what your stories are and when you plan to tell them. If you are planning a series of events a plan is even more important, to help you schedule all the key moments in your campaign. 

By building a content plan it will help you think of different ways to tell your story and therefore maximise all opportunities. For example, you may start with an announcement, but then you could offer interview opportunities with artists and performers to feature or entertainment writers. Or you may wish to pitch a first person piece by the company CEO on how the business has turned to live streaming during COVID-19, as a positive business story on how you are adapting to survive and thrive. By planning you can make sure you cover all the bases and build momentum in your communications campaign. 

What is News? 

If you are embarking on PR activity for the first time it is worth refreshing your mind on what news is. The key is in the name, it must be new and ultimately it must inform. One of the first things budding journalists are taught at college or university is the Five W’s’, which are the key components that must be included in a news story. When you write content or press releases for your event make sure you include the Five W’s’ high up in your copy. 

They are: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. 

They really help form the basic facets of a good story and should part of your on-going process whenever you craft stories and press releases yourself. 

Story telling

Once you have completed your key considerations and devised your strategy you are ready to embark on producing your first piece of content. But before you do there are a few more things to consider to make sure you stand the best possible chance of achieving some coverage for your live stream event. 

Firstly, remember journalists and editors run stories, not adverts. So, it is imperative that you present your information as a story, rather than an advert. Calling a journalist and telling them some tickets have just gone on sale will not work, as it is not a story. But calling them and saying for example, a big name artist is appearing in the UK for the first time in ten years, or your venue has turned to pay per view live streaming during COVID-19 to try and save jobs and keep your business alive are stories. This way you stand strong chance of grabbing their attention and securing some great coverage. 

In the case of UK comedy promoter Just the Tonic who partnered with TicketCo TV to deliver pay-per-view live stream events we created multiple story hooks to launch its Working from Home’ comedy night series. For the key launch press release we positioned Just the Tonic as launching its own TV channel, which created a strong news hook for the media. This resulted in multiple pieces of online media coverage in key target publications, with many including a link to the client’s ticket sales page. You can read an example here in Stand Out magazine and the Nottingham Evening Post.

Other thing to consider is being targeted in your approach. Spend a bit of time reading the publications you would like to appear in, look at how they handle stories, how they write and how they present them. Then begin to build a list of relevant journalists that cover similar stories to yours. You stand a stronger chance of success if you send relevant stories to relevant journalists that cover your sector. Remember publications have different sections and you may be able to gain coverage via a news story in addition to being covered in the same publication’s What’s On’ guide. 

PR agencies often use subscription services to access media contact lists. However, if you are doing the outreach yourself by doing some basic online research you should be able to identify relevant journalists and source their contact information.

Press release tips 

When writing a press release make sure the headline and the intro sentence is sharp and grabs attention. Journalists and copy tasters’ on news desks will make a decision on a story almost immediately based on whether the introduction grabs their attention. This means it is vital you tell the core element of your story straight away. Think about how you consume your news, the headline and opening part of the story will draw you in and if it is of interest to you will carry on reading, if not you will move on. Journalists and editors apply the same logic when deciding what to include in their publications. When they check you press release, they will be asking themselves: is this newsworthy? Is it is interest to our readers? Is it new? Is it interesting? Is it strong enough for us to run? 

If you make your press release topical and compelling, you have a great chance of overcoming the first hurdles of the editorial process and being considered for potential publication. Make sure you read the publications you are pitching to and craft your press release in appropriate language. Keep your press release punchy, engaging and to the point. The media always avoids waffle and sales orientated language. With many publications now operating with limited staff numbers if your press release is well written you have a good chance it will be published with little or no changes to the content. Lastly, make sure you include your contact details. 

Photography

Many people overlook the importance of photography when planning a press release. If you want to achieve a good amount of space in a publication, or on a website then the story will need a good photograph. Stories that command a page always have a photograph. If you do not provide a relevant photo you lose a bit of control of your communication. The risks are the publication may use their own, which may not be as relevant or strong, or they may run the story as a short piece, or not at all. 

Providing a high-quality landscape photo will increase your chance of your news being published. Make sure the photo is relevant to the story and that is is visually strong, well composed and has impact. Also make sure the photo is captioned and that you have the relevant copyright to share it. 

Content distribution

When you come to distributing your news, timing is vital. We would recommend avoiding Friday afternoons. Overall the best approach is to distribute your story first thing in the morning, this is because publications have a mid-morning conference when department heads (various editors and senior journalists) present their list of top stories to their editor for consideration. Making it onto the news lists provides you with a much stronger chance of achieving coverage. 

Additionally, if you are pitching to broadcast media bear in mind, they may wish to conduct an interview, and this takes time to arrange. If you believe your story would work well in one publication and it would make a difference to your objectives and the story is strong enough it is worth considering offering it as an exclusive. This could provide an opportunity to achieve a good piece, and it is not a barrier to sharing the story with wider media thereafter. 

In some cases, it is worth advising some journalists in advance of a general release that you will be distributing the story. This means they can plan ahead and you can ask them what they may want to make it work from their side, for example an interview, or which day of the week might be best for you to issue the news. 

When you send the story to them keep your covering email short and to the point – get to the crux of the story straight away. Then include the press release in the main body of the email. It is highly unlikely they will not open an attachment. Bear in mind journalists are incredibly busy and receive a huge number of stories per day. This means you need to grab their attention quickly and make sure your story is easy to understand and is relevant to them. 

Get in touch

PR is a powerful way to help support live stream events and if you apply the key principles success is achievable. If you would like to discuss this further or learn how we could help get in touch here.

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