Let me start with a disclaimer: We will always prefer to connect with our media partners in person. Hands down, no question. That face-to-face interaction is part of what makes this job so fun and the ability to touch and demo new products is hard to replace. Not to mention the feeling we get after wrapping up a busy Outdoor Retailer show or media event – it rejuvenates us and gets us fired up about the industry, as well as the people and products we work with. Alas, as we all know, that is just not a possibility right now. So we adapt and pivot and look for new ways to stay connected, and sometimes we are pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
This month, the Darby Comm team hosted our first-ever Virtual Media Week event to replace the time we’d normally be meeting with journalists at our NYC media event or at the numerous tradeshows throughout the summer. Over two days, we covered more than 65 products from 15 brands in the categories of Outdoor, Fishing, Fitness, and Holiday Gift Guide. Through a combination of live online demos, pre-recorded videos, slide presentations, digital lookbooks, and media kits, we were able to successfully (and succinctly) share the latest stories, apparel, and gear from our brands with more than 50 media partners. I’m just going to say it: we kicked ass.
So what made it work so well?
Here at Darby, we are experts at event planning, but I have to admit a fully virtual format was uncharted territory. That’s why we reached out to our media connections before we even started planning to find out what would work best for them. After all, our job is to provide them with the tools they need to successfully do their jobs, so it’s certainly in everyone’s best interest to create the most effective and efficient event possible. Their feedback was immensely valuable as we decided what elements would work, and what we could do without. At that point, the event started to take shape, and the mother of all to-do lists was born.
Three months later, it is incredibly satisfying to look back at that list and view a sea of checks marking tasks completed. From coordinating a lot of gear to nailing down the perfect platform to wrangling assets for a digital lookbook, it was a true team effort. There were countless practice runs – both in the office and at home in front of our patient roommates, partners, and pets – to make sure our messaging was on-point for the main event. Finally it was game time, and none of it would have happened without our incredible attendees. Our media guests took time out of their busy schedules to tune in from all across the country (and even some from the road) and watch us do our thing, and for that, we thank you!
Looking ahead, we can proudly say Darby Comm has embraced all things virtual, and this won’t be our last online event. While we still dream of the day we can share a hug, high five, or beer with our favorite journalists, we’ll continue to explore ways to get that same sense of connection via screens, chat boxes, and high five emojis. ✋
If you’d like to learn more about how the Darby team can get your brand in front of top-tier editors, drop us a line HERE. You can also go HERE to learn more about the successes we’ve had for our clients in both public relations and digital marketing.