How to be a Valuable Partner at a Conference with Your Client
Whether you’re a seasoned conference veteran, or a new comer, industry events are hectic and unpredictable. As a PR professional, the goal is always to give your client every opportunity to shine – whether it is in front of reporters in attendance, potential customers or industry peers. Having been a conference producer in the past, I have seen many PR professionals try varying strategies to achieve success on-site. Now that I’m on the PR side supporting clients at events, here are some tips I always follow to have a great on-site experience:
Become friends with the conference producer
- Producers are incredibly busy the day of the event, so it is important to establish a relationship before the conference. This way, if something goes wrong on-site, like your laptop breaks or the microphone doesn’t work, they will be happy to help you.
Know the schedule forward and backward
- Regardless of why your client is attending the event, it is your job is to know how the event operates and help him or her gain all possible benefits of attending. If your client is speaking, you should know when and where they are speaking, when to arrive at the presentation room and check-in with conference staff, how to confirm that videos in the presentation are working, and most importantly, the itinerary for the day. Always have a copy of the agenda and make sure you know about any changes to the event schedule by checking the online webpage or app.
Bring all materials on a thumb drive
- Conferences can range from tech-savvy to tech-needy. At these events anything can happen: Wi-Fi connectivity problems, computer malfunctions or urgent last minute edits to your client’s presentation slides. If you have all presentations and materials saved on a thumb drive, you’ll guarantee that everything is available regardless of the situation.
Have your media list handy
- The media list provides an opportunity to connect your client with esteemed reporters attending the event. Ideally, we want several interviews pre-confirmed before the conference, but that is not always the case. In order to make the best of an event when reporters don’t commit to meetings beforehand, I always read up on recent articles the reporter has written and identify their areas of interest. On-site, the PR representative can actively seek-out the reporter and strike up a conversation, either in the pressroom, at a session or during networking breaks.
Learn and mingle
- It’s equally important, to sit in on your client’s presentation and as many other sessions as possible. The questions asked during your client’s presentation and information you hear in other presentations can help you identify new pitch ideas. Also, try to meet as many attendees, speakers and exhibitors as possible. You never know when your client will need that information.
Conferences can be a daunting experience, but with the proper preparation and a can-do mindset, they can be equally rewarding and informative. Remember to be proactive, create opportunities and most importantly, have a good time. Do you have any success stories at conferences? Let us know!