Media relations

Meeting the media – speed dating style

Meeting the media – speed dating style

How often in PR do you get all the all the trade journalists you want to connect with in one room at the same time? Very rarely. And the chance to speak with them all one-to-one and get to know them as individuals? Almost never.

This is precisely why the Pre-Intermat press event at Paris’s Maison de la Mutualité last month was such a valuable experience. The purpose was, of course, to share details of our clients’ participation at the forthcoming Intermat exhibition for construction machinery and materials in April. However, the relationship-building facilitated by this ‘pre’ event will prove vital to the success of our everyday work throughout the year.

The best way to describe Pre-Intermat is like speed dating. Representatives from each manufacturer sit at a table while journalists circulate around the room. For some, it’s a quick drop-in – to introduce themselves and their magazine and grab a press kit – while others stay for a longer catch-up.

SE10 Partner Brian O’Sullivan and I were there to support Volvo Construction Equipment and between us, we met with 70 members of the international construction trade press. A few tables away, my colleague Oliver Halls was equally as busy, talking cranes on behalf of his client Manitowoc.

After five years of working at SE10, there is a core group of construction journalists I feel I know well. Brian, Oliver and I were staying in the same hotel as the journalists and in the lift, at breakfast, around every corner we ran into familiar faces – many, old friends of Brian. There were others at Pre-Intermat I had spoken to just a few times previously, a couple I had never met in person, and some who were entirely new contacts.

Throughout the two days, we sold our clients’ news, strengthened our working relationships and expanded our SE10 address book in back-to-back meetings. I highly appreciated the journalists’ attention when discussing our clients’ latest machine and service launches but moreover, the opportunity to hear from them and gain a better understanding of their needs.

As I finally caught my breath on the Eurostar back to London with a pile of business cards in my pocket, I relaxed in the knowledge that these conversations and relationships will help us secure the best possible coverage for our clients in the right publications – even beyond Intermat. It was time well spent indeed.

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