So you’ve just had the call to do live event coverage for a major global brand. Well done.
Have you filled your pants yet as the enormity of what you’ve got to do settles in?
Don’t worry that’s totally normal.
We recently had the privilege of joining Samsung At Work as their live team in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress. The event brought together over 85,000 tech lovers from over 200 countries around the world, and Samsung officially unveiled their hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S5 as well as new advancements in wearable technology and other devices.
During the event we had to attend presentations and do live social and blogging, film audience reactions, interview product experts and partners, create a steady stream of blog content (and then promote it via social) and generally create a huge buzz around the Samsung line-up.
So yeah, it was a biggie.
Our work at Mobile World Congress was hot on the heels of a hugely successful event by Like Minds in New York. We were there supporting Like Minds in their first American event which was held in association with Ogilvy & Mather. It went down a storm, and we had some pretty hot results via our social and live blogging work.
Looking back on these two events we’ve decided to pull together some essential tips to make sure that, when you do live event coverage for a big brand you deliver big.
1. Assemble A Crack Team Of Mercenaries PromotionalTech Geeks. If you’re going to cover a live event, especially for a major brand, you have to know that your team are experts and can work together easily. We had a four-man camera crew with a producer , co-ordinator and social media wiz onsite, and a team of content creators back at the office. That way we could work social and do filming and editing on the spot and quickly turn out content for the client’s blog.
2. Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. You’ve got to remember that when covering a live event, speed is of the essence, but you can’t sacrifice quality too much. There will be a lot of noise on social media and to ensure you don’t get lost in the hubbub you need to strike first.
The brand you’re working for will have speech copy and presentation notes available for you, so write your tweets, and have images and links ready to go. That way as soon as an interesting quote happens live, BAM! You send your prepped tweet and are the first ones to get it out there. This means you’ll get more engagement, things will be accurate and you can concentrate on getting ad lib sound bites from the audience and engage with online activity.
3. Crack The Whip. One tweet from our account to a landing page during Mobile World Congress led to 1535 visits to a whitepaper download page. You’ve got to leverage the engaged audience and drive them to targeted pages and assets. If there are media links that people can access to find out more about products or about a speech, then use it.
4. Tart It Up. Make sure to use images, vox pops and quotes from people regularly to drive engagement. People love to be mentioned on social, it’s all part of it, and being mentioned or quoted by a big brand really gets people moist. Also big brands that engage in conversation are seen as approachable thought leaders.
5. Book ‘Em Danno. Even small events can be hectic, and once you’re at huge events with global brands there is so much going on that people have to try and run to a schedule as much as possible. Don’t think you’ll just be able to wing an interview with company CEOs and other important bods. You need to plan out who you want to talk to and book time in advance. If you want to get interviews with big names that will excite people you need to book in early. And no, not a day or two before you go. We’re talking weeks or even months.
6. Follow Their Lead. Big brands will always have a strict order in which information can be released, and you may receive information that is strictly embargoed. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll follow their instructions to the letter. Also make sure you have a key point of contact you can go to for information, approval of any social activity or live blogs if required and to generally field questions. There’s a temptation to act off the cuff at live events but when you’re representing someone else it’s never a good idea, unless they’ve pre-approved you to freewheel. Submitting to the hierarchy may not be in your blood, but for a live event it provides a safety net. If you tweet about something you shouldn’t but your contact approved it…well, you’re covered.
7. Rein It In. When you’re in the middle of a big event it really does feel like the world begins and ends at the exhibition space doors. All you want to do is go on and on about it on social, but don’t go mental. Not everyone following the event will be there, so try to limit your tweets to 12 per hour for an important presentation and try to roughly follow the 80/20 rule and make no more than about 20% of tweets link to your landing page. The rest should be relevant info to all your followers and not just those at the event, as well as direct interaction with others.
8. The Rule Of 3. An old survivalist motto advises you have three of any essential items, “two is one, and one is none”, because it’s Sod’s Law that just when you need something it will break or you’ll have lost it. Remember when you’re in a huge exhibition centre doing live social/blogging you’re there for the duration so always take spare chargers and extra devices. As soon as you arrive find out where you can charge and make sure any information you need is synced across devices by uploading vital files to a cloud-based storage system. At long conferences, device energy runs low even faster than yours will!
We also asked our head videographer, Tim Dollimore, to offer his advice on filming outstanding footage at live events.
9. Know Your Stuff! Sounds obvious but sometimes people just turn up without a clue. Our team was briefed carefully and we always bone up on the pertinent issues that flying about at big events. We ensure we know our brand and what our client’s products and new releases are. Reviewing existing material from brand video channels is a great way to ensure that we can create content that was of a similar or higher standard.
10. Know The Field Of Battle. Waking up in a strange place is always disorienting and even more so when you have an important and pressing job to do. Knowing the location and the event is the key to having that added level of confidence when walking in on the first day.
11. Be Prepared. Dib dib dib dob dob dob… A life lesson, but take time to prepare your kit so that you have everything you need plus spares and backup options. Then on top of that ensure your team is able to carry and handle all the kit. This means you can quickly and easily move about to capture where and when needed…
We hope these tips make your coverage of a live event successful. Just remember that no matter how well you prepare, the nature of live events is that things will never go exactly to plan, so be prepared to roll with it and stay positive.
Have you covered live events for other companies? What were your experiences? Any tips you’d like to share or horror stories? Let us know in the comments or on our social media channels.