This post orginally appeared on the TBA Outdoors website
Working in the realm of public relations, there is no better aspect of the job than getting the opportunity to plan and implement a press trip or media event. And while we may be partial, planning one in the outdoor space may even surpass all other industries (combined).
Press trips are invaluable in allowing agencies to spotlight a partner’s products, brand or a particular destination to relevant media while engaging in experiential experiences. Unlike trade shows where media might have a few moments with a particular product in a sterile setting, press trips allow for media to spend time utilizing a brand’s products within an environment that they were designed to be used.
Our PR professionals have worked across a wide range of industries, with some having experience as journalists. Our team has designed and implemented press trips from single-day media events to a week or longer excursion immersing writers into an array of scenarios and environments.
When properly planned and executed, press trips can generate positive coverage in your target media outlets.
However, executing a successful press trip can be challenging, and a lot of factors should be considered.
Here are four tips for planning your next media event while achieving the intended results and quality exposure for your clients.
1. Selecting the Right Guests
So, your client wants to put on a press trip.
The first step is identifying the ideal guests for your event. Are you looking for primarily journalists? What about bloggers or social media influencers? Are those identified likely to be interested in the planned experience?
It’s important to identify individuals who also align with the brand.
Reach out early, as potential invitees may have full calendars. Also, if you are working on a fishing press trip, look to avoid time periods around trade shows that coincide with that industry as those writers will be potentially attending those shows.
If this is an industry-specific press trip, consider keeping the guest list short so as to avoid too many of the same story angles across similar media popping up around the same time.
And lastly, consider the dynamics of those invited. Inviting a broad range of guests can often throw off the balance of the group and have unintended consequences. Having synergy among your guests will ensure an enjoyable trip for all.
Any PR professional who has been in the game long enough and has put on multiple press trips will surely have some horror stories. For example, the more people that you invite, the greater chance of conflicting personalities. Keeping the group small can often mitigate some of those flaring tension. Working in the outdoor space typically has the benefit of often engaging with laid-back lifestyles and personalities.
2. Managing Client Expectations
Setting realistic expectations with the client is essential. Press trips can garner valuable media coverage. However, there are no guarantees.
It’s unrealistic to think that invited freelance writers will get placements in every outlet that they contribute. Even an editor working for a specific publication may not be able to commit to a feature article.
Often, it’s possible to get confirmed assignments from writers ahead of time. It’s more likely that writers can get those assignments ahead of time when planning takes place far enough in advance.
Does your client expect confirmed deliverables?
Identifying all expectations from both the client and the guests should be realistic and attainable.
3. Overcoming Common Hurdles
Under promise and over deliver. As with setting client expectations, it’s also important not to over promise your invited guests something that isn’t achievable. Setting the stage early and being consistent can often ensure a long and successful relationship between both parties.
Also, identify your primary guest targets and send personalized invites to them. Don’t start inviting other guests and getting into an overcommitment situation. Starting early can eliminate this scenario.
Here are three hurdles that should be discussed in the planning stages of your proposed event:
- Budget: Having a clearly defined budget can streamline your efforts as this monetary amount should include everything to support your guests and staff including: transportation, accommodations, meals, activities and any other expenses that may arise.
- Logistics: Whether your list includes one guest or ten, juggling the logistics can get complicated. Arranging travel for any number of people can be a daunting task. On top of that, planning transportation once guests land can prove challenging. It’s highly unlikely that all of your guests will be arriving at the same time.
- Weather: Weather is the wildcard. Regardless of how much time you spend planning your press trip, weather can always shake things up. Having flexibility or a backup plan can ensure that inclement weather doesn’t derail the trip entirely.
Planning Out the Details
Well-planned press trips are like a well-oiled machine. A lot of moving parts are involved, especially when guests are traveling to a specific location. Transportation, shuttles, accommodations, meals, and planned activities should all flow seamlessly. Providing your guests with a thorough itinerary can help eliminate challenges down the road. Whether the trip involves one client or multiple, it’s also essential to design the trip to highlight their products or services within a unique experience.
From a journalistic standpoint, I can speak to the importance of each of the following elements:
- Balancing activities and downtime: When traveling a long distance, hitting the ground running can be a challenge. This is especially true if the destination involves an international location. Journalists are often on deadlines for other stories, so it’s important to allow for downtime.
- Offering unique experiences: As mentioned above, providing a unique experience will bring ample inspiration for story ideation.
- Opportunities for networking: If your past experience with a journalist has been largely via email, press trips are a great way to expand your working relationships with these individuals.
- Local culture: This is typically only applicable when traveling to international destinations. Relegating your guests to be confined within the walls of an all-inclusive resort can diminish the overall experience of the trip. When the opportunity presents itself, work with locals to provide immersive experiences that your guests might not receive otherwise. Make it unique!
When done properly, press trips can be advantageous in helping brands achieve their goals through generating positive media coverage, building long-term relationships with journalists and media outlets, and giving guests the opportunity to utilize a brand’s products in an experiential experience.
Are you looking for creative ways to get your products in front of key media? Perhaps a press trip providing an immersive experience is the right tool for your brand. If so, we can help. As a fully integrated marketing firm, TBA Outdoors can cover these bases — and lots more — for your brand. Reach out to our team of marketing professionals today to see how we can help your outdoor brand with improving its visibility in target media outlets.