10 tips for running the perfect B2B media day

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  • B2B
  • Events
  • Journalism
  • media day
  • media relations
  • PR

The B2B media day is making a comeback.

In the ‘new normal’ caused by COVID-19 and lockdown, the business world got used to communicating online. Teams meetings, webinars, virtual events – all great, but since restrictions lifted, we’re seeing a swing back towards face-to-face activity.

This Spring, we’ve supported two of our clients with a B2B media day. Each has presented the perfect opportunity to invite trade journalists, local news outlets and even national publications, to visit a factory or facility and find out what’s been happening.

We’re seeing a huge appetite for such events. Journalists are eager to get out, meet people, get close to machines and products.

We definitely recommend considering a media day as part of your communications outreach. But we appreciate you might be rusty after being virtual for so long. So what should you do? Here are our top 10 tips on how to make sure your B2B media day is unmatched.

Have a compelling reason for your B2B media day

The most obvious candidates here are milestones. These might be anniversaries, factory openings, new production lines or product launches. Anything that provides that all-important hook, answering: Why here? Why now?

In the B2B world, an editor might be the only person creating content for their publication, so they manage their diaries carefully. Make sure your media day is the most attractive offer in their inbox by having a tangible, newsworthy purpose.

Who should you invite to your media day?

Drawing up the list of invitees will always come down to strategic priorities. How will you benefit from their presence, and how will they benefit from attending?

Having a dignitary isn’t essential but don’t forget the value a VIP can bring.  With a special guest, you have the potential for additional coverage, a handy person for interviews and a great photo opportunity. Usually this will be a ribbon cutting, or a plaque unveiling, but think creatively if you can!

For trade media, it’s about depth and detail, being able to understand how a business operates beyond the parameters of a news release. For local press, it’s about building awareness in the region, especially useful for recruitment.

As for the nationals… You’re at the mercy of the news agenda, but you can pique interest by showing how you’re responding to ongoing business challenges, such as skills shortages, digitalisation or sustainability.

Find the perfect balance of attendees at your media day

The perfect number of attendees largely depends on the size of your facility and how many people you can comfortably handle.  As a general rule, you want enough journalists to make it feel busy but not so many it becomes cramped.

Broadcast media, of course, has the biggest ratio of people-to-outlet, so if you’re inviting news crews, make sure you provide space and time for set-up.

Choosing who you invite then becomes about who brings the most value, so do your research on an outlet’s audience and reach. Make sure you avoid direct competitors in the trade press, but be smart about vertical sectors – you may be able to easily get 3-4 ‘exclusives’ because the journalists you invite cover different audiences.

Personalise invites

Make sure you start as you mean to go on, with an invitation that is personable and pertinent.  Be friendly – but also demonstrate clearly and quickly why they’ll get a great story for their readers.

And use the event itself to develop relationships further, from arrival to departure. Treat every guest as a VIP!

Don’t forget to bring your own media

A B2B media day is primarily about earned media – generating quality, independent, third-party coverage because, like L’Oréal, you’re worth it.  Yet you’ve gone to the trouble of sprucing up the place, putting up the bunting, bringing the team together in their posh frocks.

So, it pays to bring a photographer and videographer to the media day.  That way, you can collect lots of footage from the day to use at your leisure. Create an event video for your YouTube channel, or create micro-videos for social feeds as well.

Brief your team before the media day

This is about reassurance as much as preparation. Everybody expects a Jeremy Paxman-style interrogation but the truth is most journalists are curious and want to hear your brand’s story.

Decide what you want to say, be clear about what you won’t talk about, and treat the interview as any other conversation.  To help things run smoothly, create a simple-to-read briefing pack for everybody nominated as an interviewee.  Include biographies of journalists so you can understand their interests, put a face to the name, and potentially do further research via their articles or social media channels.

The above advice works both ways. The more you can provide upfront, in terms of business information, or key stakeholder biographies, you more chance you’ll get of them asking interesting questions.

Create a clear itinerary for your media day

Once you’ve confirmed guest numbers, you can map out precise timings for the day. You want to keep things long enough to give everybody the time they need, but not so long that people are waiting around all day.

A key factor is understanding any time pressures your guests are under. If you have a VIP such as an MP, for example, how much time do they actually instead to spend at your facility? Invariably, it’ll only be an hour or two, so everybody should be structured around their availability.

Likewise, you need to decide how best to manage interview time. If you have multiple journalists and multiple spokespeople, smart solution is to establish several ‘pods’ where journalists can move, at timed increments, from one interview to the next. It’s like speed dating, but (hopefully!) less flirtatious.

A good media day needs a good basecamp

First impressions matter, so make sure your guests have somewhere nice to be welcomed with coffee and croissants. This can also become the place to unwind if there’s any downtime during the event.

Should you not have anywhere suitable on-site, consider a temporary solution like a marquee in the car park. Not only does it provide somewhere to escape to if there’s bad weather, but it also has a nice subtext – “look at how much we value you being here, we’ve even put up a marquee for the occasion.”

Be prepared for the unexpected

Until the day, you never know exactly what’s going to happen.  A storm that’s turned your site into a quagmire. A pile-up on the motorway, or a train strike, to prevent people arriving on time. A political crisis calling your VIP away at the last minute.  Once, I had a call from the BBC half-hour before they were due to arrive at an event, telling me that unfortunately their outside broadcast van had been borrowed by BBC Sport to cover Wimbledon!

There’s only so much you can do under these circumstances, so you may need to think on your feet. That said, it’s also worth building contingencies into your plan.

And don’t be disheartened when somebody drops out the day before. Someone *always* drops out the day before.

Your media day is just the start

And our final tip? Just because everybody’s left doesn’t mean it’s over!

Liaise with the journalists who came, and keep in touch – they’re now friendly and willing ambassador for your business, so those relationships should be nurtured.

And now you’ve also got a blueprint for future site visits.

Want to find out how we can help deliver your business the perfect media day? Give us a call and we’ll get the hotline sorted for your next event.


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