No Media? No Problem. How To Generate Buzz for a Private Event

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The following is a guest post from Andrew Graham, senior associate at strategic communications firm Greentarget in New York.

Greentarget recently developed and executed a public relations strategy for DLA Piper’s global technology summit. DLA Piper is a global law firm with 3,700 lawyers. Despite the fact that the event was not open to media, the Greentarget team was still able to generate significant coverage and buzz by using social media tools to disseminate relevant information to interested audiences.

Says Graham, “Our social media strategy became our sole approach to this summit.” Read on for the full “mini” case study.

The Situation

The word that most accurately describes what executives at most large professional services organizations think of social media is “cute.” It’s worthwhile to think about but rarely taken seriously. To be fair, most online users think these organizations aren’t paying attention online-and that is probably why people started blogging in the first place.

There is a bit of truth to both sides. Most large organizations view social media as a threat because of its end-user empowerment. The brass at these firms read their industry’s blogs, some of which are the most gotcha-oriented that media can get, and think that’s how all social mediums are.

What they’re missing out on is a chance to control the message from the get-go and reach audiences that they haven’t reached before.

The Plan and Execution

We recently developed and executed a public relations strategy for a global technology summit for DLA Piper, a global law firm with 3,700 lawyers. Tech industry heavyweights convened in Palo Alto late last month, and we used the summit to enhance the firm’s brand in the technology and venture capital spaces.

Our social media strategy became our sole approach to this summit. A social media release about a survey we had done made the news search-able and included professionally-produced video. We built a blog for the summit and covered it as any live blogger would have, vetting the content quickly with our client contact on site. Twitter posts produced same-day coverage. Our purpose-built Delicious page ensured all of our coverage was public and, after the event, made its way to the inbox of thousands of DLA’s customers, prospects, and employees.

The Results

Our blog had more than 1,000 page views during that week, despite being launched just days earlier.

Even without granting media access to the event, we saw around 80 articles about the survey and the event itself, and coverage in outlets like Wired, Scobleizer, and Valleywag reached audiences we normally wouldn’t have. But eschewing a traditional approach didn’t keep us out of mainstream print outlets.

In blogging about our news and the summit from the beginning, we established that the content belonged online. Using social media at the very start was what led to most of the campaign’s successes and shows that social media isn’t only a threat to professional services organizations.