I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year and we’re not even halfway in!
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it has caused many of our normal activities and way of networking to become either obsolete or strictly virtual.
Despite this, there will be a time when life, as we know and love it, will be back (we’re claiming it). Once this happens, if you are a business owner and are in the midst of planning your next event post-Rona, the conversation below with Tequilla White, the Press Lead at CultureCon, will definitely help you better understand how you should plan and tackle getting PR for your event.
If you haven’t heard of CultureCon, it’s the fastest-growing conference dedicated to creatives of color, bringing together an array of talented young professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs to inspire the next generation of world-changing doers. CultureCon’s past speaker list has included Spike Lee, Tracy Ellis Ross, and Will Smith.
Handling PR for an event, whether small or large-scale, isn’t easy. Keep reading to learn Tequilla’s strategy on planning for and handling press for an event like CultureCon.
What was the inspiration behind CultureCon?
We wanted to find a way to provide actionable resources to creatives of color and not just inspiration. We kept saying why isn’t a conference that does XYZ? So instead of waiting for someone else to create it, we did.
What was your role with CultureCon?
The amazing thing about our team is that while we all have our designated roles based around our expertise – it’s truly an all hands on deck mentality. While I am the press lead for CultureCon managing all press placements both before and after the conference, I helped the team come up with ideas for the programming, talent, merch and everything in between. On the actual day of the conference, I managed all press that was in attendance and worked with the talent team to facilitate interviews on-site. Post-conference I managed all press coverage and recaps.
After the idea of CultureCon came to mind, what was your strategy like in securing press for the conference?
When pitching media, we have been blessed to have great responses. The media is excited to share our story and highlight the amazing way we have been able to scale these past three years. Within my pitch I am clear about what makes our story unique, the impact we are making on our community year-round and how we are continuing to provide actionable tools and resources. Showing why we matter and how featuring us is beneficial for their audience is key when securing press around the conference.
My initial email is our press release that includes pertinent information around the conference including location, schedule, talent, and sponsors.
Here’s an example of the press release below.
How did you determine which companies would be the best fit to pitch to cover the conference?
Since it is my job to communicate our story effectively and work with the media to share it, I am very strategic about the outlets that I pitch. I work around our business goals which are to speak to current supporters and expose our brand to new ones. Because of our audience, I make sure to be included on the platforms they frequent. I also don’t limit us and reach out to national media outlets that cover business, entertainment and more niche industries like advertising/marketing.
How did you decide what kind of media companies would get press credentials to cover the event on-site?
Being press lead, I am the decision-maker in terms of who will have access both to talent ahead of the conference and on-site. It can be difficult because while I want to give as many people the opportunity as I can, I am limited to time, space and many other factors that fall outside of my role. I work to make sure all media is represented including smaller platforms.
I know how an interview with one of our talents could impact their brands so I make sure to be very intentional about who I provide access to and in what ways. Everything goes back to our mission to create brave spaces for creatives of color to thrive.
I value quality over numbers. While we want to have as much reach as possible, we also want to work with writers that tell our stories with care. I look for engagement on the platform that is meaningful and reflective of our community values. This is across the board independent of the size of the outlet. When it comes to the larger outlets, I am very strategic about doing the research for who is the best writer to tell our story.
Lastly, are there any costs associated with securing press for a conference that someone should be mindful of when planning an event?
We definitely have to be mindful that the press is our partner in storytelling and we want to respect them while making sure they have a pleasant experience. This means a press room with refreshments or other ways to show them hospitality is discussed with the team. Based on our budget for other elements of the conference we think of ways to balance it all.