Event planning and management. It’s a mammoth undertaking that requires the ability to see the big picture, while being acutely aware of the smallest of details, simultaneously. It demands stellar teamwork, glowing interpersonal skills, and a comprehensive understanding of a brand’s mission. And when done right, it can have a huge return on investment.
In our professional experience, holding an exclusive media event is not only an effective way to build quality relationships with journalists, content creators, YouTubers, and influencers, it also allows media to feel the heartbeat of the brand. It’s a fine-tuned formula—constructing an event with the right atmosphere, experience, product, and people to encourage lasting professional relationships through shared experiences. Simply put, it’s all about connection. And that is exactly what we accomplished with our client Johnson Outdoors, who hosted an exclusive media debut of their Old Town Sportsman Collection: a new line of seven innovative angling kayaks for the modern sportsman.
With the support of the talented teams of Johnson Outdoors Watercraft, Osborne Media, and Dunkin-Lewis, we successfully organized two interactive product showcases for 16 media over the course of four days in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The success of this media trip can be attributed to:
1. Sweating the small stuff for four months
2. Strategic time and resource management
3. Strategic media, YouTuber, and influencer management
Sweating the Small Stuff
When it comes to event planning, attention to detail will make or break you. Over the four months leading up to the big event, we spent countless hours scouting locations under very specific parameters, such as access to water, quality of fishing in winter, comfortable location, and proximity to an airport, to name a few. We researched both endemic and non-endemic media sources, and selected top tier editors, freelancers, and YouTubers to extend an invitation. Once a location was locked in, we began solidifying a strong rapport with the resort staff to effectively coordinate all accommodations, receptions, presentations, social hours, meals, and on-site logistics. Special shout-out to Lago-Mar (NOT to be confused with Mar-a-Lago!) for accommodating our needs and, of course, accommodating inevitable last-minute changes in plans. The amount of work that was put in ahead of time was crucial to our success, as it allowed us to manage event timelines seamlessly.
Strategic Time and Resource Management
In the context of this media event, four days felt like both a second and an eternity. In an effort to maximize the amount of potential PR coverage, we divided the four-day trip into two, one-and-a-half day sessions for groups of eight media at a time. Not only did this double the amount of coverage produced, but it also allowed us to spend more quality time with smaller groups, creating space for story swapping, exclusive product walk-throughs, and personalized interviews.
Strategic Media, YouTuber, and Influencer Management
The group of media who attended our event was no accident. Each individual was carefully selected for their relevancy and ability to deliver quality content to a key audience. It is also worth noting that the attendee list reflected an array of media sources, including traditional print media, digital content creators, influencers, and YouTubers.
Aside from creating long-lasting professional relationships with media, the main objective of this Old Town Sportsman event was to coordinate PR coverage around a specific launch date. When March 5 finally rolled around, we celebrated over 25 digital feature articles and YouTube reviews within four hours of launch, and saw a huge spike in relevant search terms on Google Trends, culminating in 2,100+ new users being sent to Old Towns’ website.
Here at Darby Communications, a leader in PR and digital marketing for the outdoor industry, we know firsthand how to pull off media events that maximize the impact of an important product launch.