In an age where it can feel like pitch emails are sent out into a black void and switchboards only lead to full answering machines rather than direct lines, the power of a press trip cannot be underestimated.
It may feel terribly old school to host a press trip, but the reality is it works, and if you get it right, it really works. Also, for me, organising and attending press trips is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of working in PR.
The opportunity to take journalists away from their day-to-day mania and allow them to fully immerse themselves in a brand experience is one of the best ways to strengthen relationships and solicit feature coverage for clients.
Press trips are also, ultimately, a great way to save the client’s time and resources. It is much more effective to host a group of journalists over an agreed timeframe, rather than filling up their calendar with individual media visits, resulting in drips and drabs of coverage.
It also offers an opportune moment for PRs to spend quality time with media and foster relationships, which will ultimately help pop a wee sparkling flag next to your name, the next time you email them.
There are many moving parts to organising a press trip, and you may be questioning all your life decisions the night before as you blink awake at every hour, but ultimately it is all worth it.
To make sure your next press trip is a success, and that everyone leaves with a smile on their face and an unforgettable experience in the memory bank, read on for my top tips.
6 Tips for a successful group press trip
- The hook – Make sure you can offer the media something extra special, something that is worth taking them away from their desks for. Be sure to curate an itinerary that is authentic to the client, not just shoe-horned to fit the occasion. It is also important to add a bit of sparkle, talent or a brand ambassador can be a great way to bring a press trip to life.
- Your guest list – Finding the right mix of journalists that get along, and ultimately bond on the trip, can be challenging and it is sometimes down to a spot of luck. To make sure you are on the right track, be sure to check with your colleagues to see who has been a dream guest, you will feel much more assured knowing you’ve invited a journalist who is trusted and produced good results.
- Stay organised – There is no way around it, press trips are a logistical challenge – you will become a travel agent, PA and firefighter all at once. Once you have your media confirmed, send reminders, share the full itinerary and all essential travel information (like bring a swimsuit, which may have slipped my own mind once before). Most importantly, create a call sheet including the contact information for all attending media, transport speed dial numbers and all details of the client and PR representatives. Print extra copies and take all these documents with you, there will be a moment when someone asks you for something, your brain will be scrambled because you didn’t sleep a wink the night before, and you are going to wish you brought that clipboard.
- Prepare your client – Your client will be spending a lot of time with journalists, so make their life easier and prepare a media briefing document. Be sure to provide detailed information on everyone attending, including personal biogs, information on the title they write for, social media handles, and headshots.
- Be prepared for anything to happen – Even with the most perfectly planned itinerary things can go wrong – you start running behind schedule or the heavens open when you are meant to be starting your outdoor activity. Journalists are often understanding in these circumstances but have a backup plan, be prepared to cut something from your itinerary or have blankets and cups of tea at the ready.
- Bring the magic – You and your team are the face of the trip so if you are having fun, everyone will have fun – smile, even if you start to feel like air hostess Barbie when the credits are rolling in Toy Story 2. Give them that VIP treatment and do anything you can to make their lives easier, buy the plane tickets, book the cab, and supply dietary requirements to the kitchen ahead of time.
Take a deep breath and do your best to make sure everybody is happy, pack extra pens, and if you’re lucky, when you follow up you will be showered with glittering compliments for the most well-organised amazing press trip ever.
“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised” Denis WaitleyBack to blog