Attending a live event can be an uplifting experience. Taking a break from the day-to-day routine - and connecting with like-minded business owners - can leave you fizzing with inspiration and ideas for your business.
But with so much valuable content being shared, it can also leave you feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering if there is anything you’ve missed. With that in mind, here is a review of the highlights of Media Influence Live on July 5 & 6.
You may also find this post useful if you couldn’t make it along this year and/or are considering coming along to a future event like Content Live. If you’re an event organiser yourself you might also find this an interesting behind-the-scenes account of our sales and marketing strategy.
Getting featured in the media can be a great way to build authority and credibility. But if you don’t have any experience of working with journalists, it can be difficult to know where to start. Media Influence Live is your chance to get in a room for the day with a bunch of top national journalists and influencers so you can find out what they’re looking for in a story, how to put a great pitch/press release together, where to find journalists’ contact details and everything else you need to know to secure high-profile media coverage. It goes without saying that it’s also a great opportunity to make valuable media connections and introduce journalists and influencers to your products and services.
In the past this event has only featured speakers from the traditional media i.e. newspapers, magazines, radio & TV. This year - to reflect the changing nature of the media - the event also featured YouTubers, bloggers and podcasters.
Day 1 of the event featured eight national journalists and influencers and sixty guests (mainly small business owners). Ten delegates opted for a VIP ticket which included a two-hour mastermind with the speakers, including 20 minutes to talk specifically about their own business and get feedback from the journalists and influencers. Day 2 gave delegates a chance to reflect on their learning from Day 1 and get support with planning a media influence strategy for their own business or brand. This proved really popular.
For the third year running the event has been held at The Trampery, a co-working space in trendy Shoreditch, East London. We used the ballroom, a versatile space that includes a 12-metre long art installation by acclaimed London designers, Bad Marriage.
Leah Hardy (Guardian), Adrian Butler (ITV’s Good Morning Britain), Polly Dunbar (Grazia), Emily Cope (Fabulous, The Sun), Clare McDonnell (BBC Radio 5 Live). Aleisha McCormack (Bridechilla podcast), Charlotte Jacklin (Betty magazine) PLUS content marketing experts Andrew and Pete & sales expert Jessica Lorimer
The Goody Bags
We love to send our delegates home with a gorgeous gift bag full of goodies...and this event was no exception. I've listed the products that were included in our gift bags below.
I set myself the challenge of creating the ‘best workbook ever’ for my live events and I hope I succeeded this time around. As well as the standard programme information, I included a glossary of key terms e.g. press release, pitch, newswire, lead times etc and sample pitches and press releases. There was also plenty of space to write notes plus there were pictures (and social media handles) of every single delegate who attended.
Photography and videography
Our official event photographer Laura Pearman documented the day in pictures while BBC journalist Marc Ashdown recorded the event. Laura also offered a special package for speaker and delegates so they had their headshots done while they were in London for the event.
I couldn’t put on an event of this size without the support of an experienced team. Here’s the team that helped me before and during the event.
The marketing strategy
Two day tickets ranged from £499+VAT for a super earlybird ticket to £649+VAT for a last minute ticket. VIP tickets ranged from £699+VAT for a super earlybird ticket to £749+VAT for an earlybird ticket (they were sold out before we had the chance to release the standard price tickets!). We offered a small number of Day 1 tickets in the weeks leading up to the event. Tickets went on sale on March 28 and around 50% of tickets sold out in the first four weeks.
To create ‘buzz’ about the event, before the tickets went on sale, we shared our ideas for the event content and artwork on social media and got great feedback.
The event was mainly marketed by email with regular updates on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Instagram Stories. I also talked about the event on my podcast which definitely led to ticket sales.
In the run up to the event, I created a series of blog posts aimed at helping guests to get the most out of the event. You can read them here:
I also created a dedicated Facebook Community, Twitter list and held a pre-event briefing call, using the video conferencing software Zoom to allow guests to ‘meet’ one another ahead of the event.
I encouraged guests to create preview content ahead of the event, which led to nine pieces of content, which you can read here.
How to invest in yourself by Louise Roberts
Why I’m not attending a bookkeeping conference by Zoe Whitman
My Media Influence Live event goals by Lynn Hill
5 good reasons to attend live events by Sheila Mulvenney
Why you shouldn’t attend any live events - ever by Janine Coombes
How do you invest in your personal development strategy by Nadine Powrie
A ten-day email ‘countdown’ sequence helped create excitement ahead of the event (and make sure all our guests were completely clear about where they needed to be, when). Including shareable - and personalised - images like the example above encouraged guests to start using the event hashtag - #MIL2018 - well ahead of the event.
We even created personalised Twitter avatars for our speakers and delegates.
Session 1: Media Influence - Primer Session with Janet Murray
I kicked off the first day of the event with a 30 minute media influence Primer with the aim of bringing everyone up to speed with the basics, including how journalists find stories, what they’re looking for in a story and how to set out a pitch. I decided to do this, based on feedback from previous delegates - some of whom were completely new to working with journalists and influencers and said they’d have found this useful.
Session 2: In The News with Leah Green (Guardian) and Polly Dunbar (Grazia)
‘Journalists are interested in people not products’ declared Leah Green which set the tone for this session - and the whole event. Both Leah and Polly explained how stories are gathered on publications like the Guardian and Grazia magazine - with a particular focus on how newsjacking i.e. taking a topical news story and providing fresh angles or ideas, will help you get media coverage.
Session 3: On Air with Adrian Butler (ITV’s Good Morning Britain) and Jess Dante (Love & London)
‘We’re looking for the kind of story that will make people miss their bus,’ said TV producer Adrian Butler. He explained how small business owners can get themselves onto a primetime TV show like ITV’s Good Morning Britain, including when and how to get in touch. He was followed by YouTuber Jess Dante, who explained how creating her own TV show on YouTube is helping her build her travel guide business - and has led to high-profile press coverage on the BBC and Daily Telegraph (amongst others). She revealed that her YouTube channel has even helped her get ‘found’ by the producers of a film for the London Mayor’s office.
Session 4: On and Offline with Emily Cope (The Sun’s Fabulous magazine) & Charlotte Jacklin (Betty Magazine)
‘Don’t be scared to chase journalists and don’t pitch on a Friday afternoon,’ said Emily Cope from The Sun’s Fabulous magazine. She shared some fantastic tips on pitching to journalists on glossy magazines and weekend supplements. Emily was followed by Charlotte Jacklin, founder of Betty Magazine, who shared the inspiring story of how she started her own magazine, while still at university, with no prior publishing experience. She also shared valuable tips on how to get your products/services featured by top bloggers/influencers.
Session 5: In Your Earbuds with Clare McDonnell (BBC Radio 5 Live) & Aleisha McCormack (Bridechilla Podcast)
‘What would stop people from getting out of the car because they want to carry on listening?’ said BBC presenter Clare McDonnell. She shared tons of tips on getting the attention of radio producers and the kinds of stories that resonate. She was followed by podcast host Aleisha McCormack who shared how not waiting to be picked by the traditional media and starting her own radio show - The Bridechilla Podcast - has helped grow her wedding guide business.
Over lunch and breaks, delegates were able to chat to the speakers. The intimacy and access we provide to speakers is one of the biggest selling points of the event.
Session 6: Table talks with speakers
In the afternoon, delegates got the opportunity to meet every single speaker in our speed networking session. We rotated the speakers around the room so each table of eight delegates got 10 minutes with every speaker so they could ask questions. This is generally the most popular part of the day and this year was no exception.
Ten delegates opted to stay on for a two-hour VIP mastermind session with the speakers. Each delegate got 20 minutes in the hot seat with the speakers. This part of the day was more relaxed, with beer wine and nibbles.
After the event, delegates headed to The Bike Shed - a quirky restaurant cum barbers cum motorcycle shop in Shoreditch.
Session 1: Overcoming your fears about being seen with Jessica Lorimer
“What's the absolute worst thing that could happen to you if you went for that thing you're scared of?” asked sales expert Jessica Lorimer as she kicked off her session on Day 2. She went on to share practical tips and strategies with delegates on overcoming their fear around being ‘seen’. In the practical exercise that followed, many delegates did something something that scared them - in some cases recording their very first live video.
Session 2: How to get anyone to say ‘yes’ to you with Andrew & Pete
Next up were Andrew & Pete, delivering a brand new talk: The ‘Yes’ Formula. Not only did they share their extraordinary story of going from (in their own words) ‘nobodies’ to speaking at the biggest event in their industry Social Media Marketing World, they also shared tons of practical tips on getting the attention of key influencers in your industry. They even organised their own ‘after party’ for the event.
The last part of the day was devoted to pitching skills. I took delegates through a practical pitching workshop, showing them how to write a pitch for any publication, programme or podcast - in minutes. I also showed them how they could use one personal story to generate one or more ideas to pitch to the media and/or use to create engaging content on their own platforms.
There are always things to improve but overall I think it was an incredible value-packed event. While the speakers provided immense value, guests also gained so much from spending a couple of days with like-minded business owners who share their visions and values. With the support of my team, I put my heart and soul into creating an unforgettable experience at Media Influence Live, so it was touching to see relationships being formed that will last for years to come.