Yesterday, I came across a blog post, What to do when you misjudge press attendance, by Sue Heuman, on PR Daily. The title immediately caught my attention as it can be very easy to misjudge press attendance at any event, even if you have confirmed with the press, because you never know what is going to happen.
For example, a few years ago I had a pretty big client event in which multiple broadcast stations had agreed to cover. And then I got a call from a producer (who is also a friend of mine) that they wouldn’t be able to come to the event because there was Llama Drama and Llamas Became the “It” Animal (click here for a video from ABC15). I am not sure if you remember this (it did make national news) but it was a little “unbelievable” (almost like my dog ate my homework) to explain to a client that no media would be coming to the event because of some llamas. Once they saw the national coverage they understood, but imagine being the PR person having to tell the client this!
But Heuman’s blog post focused on two scenarios:
Scenario 1: You plan for a few reporters, when dozens show up.
In theory this seems like it could be a good problem to have. Unless, like the example in Heuman’s blog post, the “extra” media was there to cover something else that completely trumps your event/announcement. This is where having key relationships with the media is important, so you can work with them to cover anything additional they might need, but also make sure they do the story they were invited there to do.
Scenario 2: No one shows up.
Like my example with the llamas above, this is the more likely scenario. But I am always up front with my clients that media coverage is never a guarantee and Heuman agrees with this in the blog post. Also, following up with your own photos/video from the event along with specific details is very helpful.
I would like to know if you have any stories to share where you had too much media or where you didn’t have any media attend? Anything as crazy as #LlamasOnTheLoose?