Need to integrate video conferencing into a media relations campaign and have no idea how to go about it?
Thanks to Covid, PRs have had to adapt to how they can engage effectively with media when it comes to conferences, famils, product tastings, meetings, interviews and even networking. Allira Carroll from Tonic PR and I give you an overview of the kind of things you should be considering before you embark on using video conferencing in your next media relations campaign.
WHAT VIDEO CONFERENCING PLATFORM SHOULD I BE USING?
Understand your requirements and what that platform needs to do for you. There's a number of video conferencing tools out there including Zoom, TeamViewer, Webex and Facebook Messenger Rooms. Perhaps all of them will be relevant for what you need, maybe only one
“If you need your media or guests to engage with specific products during the video conference, make sure you allow enough time to get those products to them”
Listen to the full episode on The PR Pod podcast for more tips on using video conferencing. You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast players, just search "The PR Pod".
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR A VIDEO CONFERENCING EVENT?
Review numbers. Like any event, think about whether you want this to be a small, intimate experience or the bigger, the better. Reflect this in your invite list
Choose a great host/spokesperson. Presenting on video when you're not necessarily getting immediate feedback from an audience can be challenging for some. Your spokesperson needs to be able to maintain momentum and not be overwhelmed by staring at their own face....
Have the correct tech. You may require multiple laptops or iPads , lapel mics or lighting equipment to manage the different elements of the conference
Check the sound quality of your devices is perfect. People may forgive a static image but poor sound quality will make them turn off
Think about your location. You need to host this somewhere where people won't accidentally walk in or disturb you. Think about what you might want behind the spokesperson in terms of branding or just relevant styling elements
Consider the lighting. The space you choose may have poor natural lighting so you may have to bring in some lights to help illuminate the spokesperson
What's the appropriate day/time to get maximum attendance? If it's important to have attendance by daily newspaper journalists, they're not going to have much free time at the end of the day when they're finalising the next day's news stories
Prepare your spokesperson. Just like you would for any event. They should be across the key messages and the topics that need to be communicated. They should also know which guests will be in the virtual event, who they work for and if there's any specific intel that may be of interest. E.g. If you're doing a virtual wine tasting and there's a wine reviewer that likes a particular varietal, then brief that in advance
Prepare a run-sheet. You need to know what needs to happen on the day, when it needs to happen and who is responsible for it
Do multiple run-throughs in the days prior. Your spokesperson may have presented live many times before but it can be a different story in the virtual world. You need to test how you move through the topics, provide them with feedback and iron out any issues, prior to the event
Reconfirm the day prior with guests. We all know what its like with events,. Things pop up and guests can no longer make it or double-book themselves. Remind everyone the day prior of the event details, reconfirm how they need to access the video conference and what will be discussed/presented. Ask for everyone's mobile numbers so you can contact them on the day, if needed
Allow time to set up on the day. Everything may have worked smoothly the day before when you were practicing but for some reason it's chaos today. So don't leave it until the last minute to set up
WHAT YOU SHOULD REMEMBER DURING THE VIDEO CONFERENCE
Put your guests on mute. Background noise from your guests will be very distracting to the spokesperson so everyone other than them, should be on mute
Explain the proceedings. Let guests know they're welcome to submit questions via the chat bar and they'll be addressed in real time as best as possible, or that the questions will be responded to at the end. Give them an idea of how long the event will go for and a recap of what will be covered
Have different team members responsible for key elements. Have a person acknowledging people as they enter the conference and moderating the questions as they come through,. Appoint someone to keep an eye on the audio and ensure there's no sound issues throughout the event. Have someone with flash cards so you can prompt your spokesperson to move faster/slower or remind them of key messages
Start promptly. You don't want to keep people waiting for more than a few minutes once they've joined at the appropriate time so if there's people you're expecting to join that haven't, have someone calling them to follow up
Follow-up post event. Just like any event you host, you should be following up with your guests to thank them for their attendance. Use this as an opportunity to provide any additional information or to provide a link to imagery or address what coverage opportunities you're hoping to secure
Need a recap on Crafting Key Messages? Here's a quick link to review what you should be including.