As the agency of record supporting one of the industry’s largest and most exciting events, The Devon Group has the distinct pleasure of managing The HR Technology Conference & Expo press room and its activities. Year after year, the energy found between its four walls can be inspiring, electric, exhilarating, and yes, at times, exhausting. This year’s press room – sponsored by OneWire, to whom we extend our most sincere thanks – delivered on all fronts. Busy and buzzing from open to close, each of its many tables and designated overflow rooms were filled with registered press, analysts and the blog squad who engaged in highly interactive briefings, demos, discussions and deals each day.
As careful observers, whose ears were perked for feedback, we’d like to highlight several tools and techniques for effectively getting news and messaging out at the conference, especially as your competitors attempt to do the same:
- Press Kits: Your press kit is an opportunity to share information about who your company is and what it does, as well as any big news it has. Include company overviews, press releases, and major success stories. Shoot for relevant and surprising content that highlights benefits and tells a story. Kudos to Peoplefluent and HireVue, whose press kits stood out among an array of folders with their creative delivery – branded USB kits attached to Jelly Bellies, and a digital interviewing mini storybook, respectively.
- Press Releases: Have something compelling to announce at the show, and do it officially in a release that tells a story rather than describes a product. Members of the press request news releases as resources from which to write stories. So include major announcements in your press kits and don’t forget to leverage the opportunities allotted by the conference, including the annual new product announcement press release.
- Briefings: Direct, face-to-face interaction can be the best way to deliver your message. When meeting with press, analysts and bloggers, do your homework and understand the points that will be relevant to each person. As most meetings last from 30 minutes to an hour, don’t expect to do a deep dive. Remember, there’s always time to provide additional demos and information on specific solutions after the conference. Approach individuals with whom you’d like to meet a month or more in advance, as their dance cards are likely to fill quickly. For example, if the press room were a ball, this year’s belle (or male equivalent) would be HR consultant, speaker, blogger, and DriveThruHR co-host, William Tincup, who was booked for back-to-back-to-back meetings with the industry’s emerging and top HR technology leaders.
- Focus: Take a break from tweeting and your iPhone while you’re in the press room. The time you have at the conference and in the press room is a unique opportunity to directly interact and build relationships with the people you’ve been pursuing via email, phone and social media all year. Take full advantage of that opportunity while you’re there and make a positive impression; you can always tweet about it later.