Takeaways From Hosting In-Person Media Events

June 13, 2023

Connecting personally with journalists has always been one of my favorite parts of working in public relations. I’ve been lucky to travel the world for media missions, conferences and events, and I have formed many treasured relationships along the way. Over the last year, I was delighted to see in-person events return after a long pandemic pause, and I had the opportunity to plan several such initiatives on behalf of clients. While attendees resoundingly agreed that in-person connection still matters, things have changed. Here are six key takeaways:

  • Members of the media have moved. While it isn’t a surprise that many journalists relocated over the last few years, it does mean that more research is needed to get invite lists in tip-top shape. Media databases haven’t fully caught up with media relocations, and tools like LinkedIn help fill in the gaps. Allow extra time for list building and location verification. 
  • New media hubs have emerged. While New York and Los Angeles remain key, the aforementioned media migration means other cities such as Austin, Denver and Atlanta are now home to larger concentrations of travel and lifestyle journalists.
  • There is no perfect day, month or season. Travel journalists are back on the road and busier than ever. Finding a perfect date is simply not possible. Have a few key journalists who are top priorities? Ask them when they’ll be in town before setting your dates. 
  • Double your invite list. More to do means more reasons journalists might need to decline your event or meeting. Last-minute cancellations are also now far more common, so you’ll want to plan accordingly to guarantee robust attendance.
  • Offer options. We’re all still adapting to this brave new world. Work schedules have changed, and many journalists may never go back to an office again. If you have the flexibility to extend your media mission or event over multiple days, offer options of when and where to meet and make it as easy as possible – even if that means Zoom.
  • Follow-up. One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of follow-up. Meaningful connections are built over time with continued collaboration and check-ins. Keep in touch throughout the year so that the next time you visit, the journalist will want to find the time to meet with you.