Go Where Nobody Knows Your Name

Two handsHow many conferences/seminars have you been to this year?  How many more do you plan on attending?  How many of those seminars/conferences are for PR professionals?

If you need two hands to count I suggest you stop.  A wise PR professional once said (during one of those redundant PR conferences) to stop going where the PR people are and head to the trenches.  Go where the journalist are and get to know them.  Last month I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual Travel Blog Exchange, a two day “conference” of travel bloggers/writers looking to learn from each other and share their experiences.  Overall it was the perfect chance to meet some of the people I’ve gotten to know via Twitter, just like every other conference, but more importantly it also gave me an inside look into the life of a travel writer.  In case you’re unaware, this is important to me as I recently started my career as a travel publicist. 🙂

When you’re in the trenches you’ll receive the best unedited and blunt feedback.  When attending a journalist meet up or seminar, you are on their territory.  There is no beating around the bush.  During this specific seminar, I learned what travel writers love/hate about press trips.  For example, the next time I’m planning a press trip I’ll remember to add more down time to make sure they can explore the destination on their own instead of creating back to back activities.

Relationships, relationships, relationships.  Maybe I’m biased to travel writers but they sure know how to have a good time no matter where they are!  Like any great conference/tweet-up you get to meet some of your favorite Twitter peeps in real life.  It’s always exciting to meet some of your favorite writers in person especially when you’re a fan of their work.  The relationship building doesn’t stop once the conference is over either.  I’ve connected with great writers after the conference from reading and commenting on posts recapping the conference, and following the hashtag.  If you continue the conversation, you’ll continue to grow current and new relationships.

At the very least, journalists will appreciate the PR professional that invests his/her time to learn more about them and their work.  Go the extra mile and I promise those journalists will remember those who take the time to get to know them over the average Joe.

So before you head out to the next PR related event, I suggest researching non-typical events that relate directly to your client.  You’ll make great connections and get a better understanding of the industry as a whole.  As always, if you’ve attend events like this before please share your experiences below!

Share on Tumblr

  • jeffespo

    This is interesting to me as I often wonder how effective conferences are with the same pool of speakers time and again. Branching out to new people is always a good way to expand on relationships and broaden horizons.

  • Lkhoury

    Excellent! Always try to get a different perspective.

  • Lkhoury

    Excellent! Always try to get a different perspective.

  • This is excellent Christina. I feel the same way as someone who has both worked in the PR field and now work as a Freelance Travel Writer. I got an invite this week to a conference in Orlando that I declined. Why? Well mainly because I went to TBEX and most of the people who were there, will be at this one too. It's not that I don't think it will be beneficial, but for travel writers too, it's about the return on the investment. Plus, with the rise of social media and online communities, I honestly just don't think it's imperative to go to a lot of big conferences. Rather, I'm big on meetups that are nearby where you live or are traveling. Twitter especially I believe has made it easier than ever to get in on that action.

  • I agree completely… I hate to bring up @garyvee always, but the way he branched out from wine biz is going into tech and then online and then into pretty much everything else after making his mark in the vino space.

    PR works best, IMHO, when you can make a piece of the story interesting to reporters/public, thereby giving a way/platform to discuss the broader topic at hand. In order to make and find these nuggets us PR pros must be the 'outside the box' perspective that clients just can't have (because they need to and do have tunnel vision).

    Jeez i can keep going on and on. Great topic, well done!

  • beccameyers

    Thumbs up advice!