We viewed and categorized a total of 48 press releases published on the ICCA website in July to share some observations.
The majority of texts introduce changes in infrastructure, new developments, strategies and concepts – 19 % of the 48 July releases are in context with sustainability matters in one way or the other.
Announcements of congresses won and awards/competitions are the other topics used for the releases. Some articles fit into more than 1 category; hence the majority of press releases are on the factual rather than on the inspiring – story-telling – side.
Most of the published texts come from European sources (22), 17 from all over Asia, 3 from South America, 2 each from Australia and US and 1 from Middle East. And – newsletters are no press releases!
It is only a very few (and seemingly the same organisations) who break this traditional scheme and write good stories, which to me means creating context and presenting facts in a different, more lively way. Sustainability can also be brought up by building context to what people relate to, like describing special restaurant or hotel concepts, with examples and linking to good pictures. Actions like a coastal clean-up in Kuala Lumpur, initiated by the CCentre, can create one story in a series about the sustainable efforts of the CCentre. A good case study to proof creativity was coming from the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching http://www.iccaworld.com/npps/story.cfm?nppage=5007 and could be twisted to be a stepstone in showing why Kuching will be a great destination for next year’s ICCA congress…
Is there an inherent lack of fantasy in the congress industry when it comes to sourcing interesting topics? There are so many good stories beyond the facts-only messages! Interviews with congress organizers about specific aspects or needs of this particular congress and how they were accomplished in the destination, behind-the-scene insights in context with the strategies of the convention centre (eg use of local products, healthy initiatives, videos, picture series etc.). Stories around key industries of a city or destination and thought leaders or “celebrities” like scientists, authors – how do they relate to what happens in the destination (as PR and content marketing do have a commercial purpose – shouldn’t destinations or suppliers build bridges to brand in economic contexts???) and many more such ideas.
I firmly believe in a concept of “consolidated destination PR and content marketing” for the congress and MICE segment. That means all business related news flow of a destination should follow a well-structured plan, have a contextual concept and follow topics which are relevant for event planners – this will build up a community of interested repeat visitors and will make it easier for readers to follow the intention. It will also make it more feasible for outsourced services like content curators or distribution platforms to source information for re-distribution in specific markets or to accompany editorial coverage.
“Consolidated destination PR” needs to create a steady and consistent news flow. It must be well managed, give directions and topics to follow, maintained lively and interesting, local partners must be trained to think in “community” and to believe in the value of good stories for everyone, in order to be motivated to co-create. Such valuable destination information must be made available on the main channels – print, digital, social. It provides added value to associations if they use it on their congress websites and helps them boost their delegate numbers (a competitive edge over other destinations in bidding for congresses?).
A destination channel on congress websites gives added value for destination marketing, as congress websites are read by most members of the association – even if not attending the congress itself. Why dont destinations (and associations) make use of this opportunity?
Meetings PR needs to look into all aspects of best practise: facilitation, the content itself and the distribution – all with the final purpose of commercial success and winning new business! Let’s go for it, there is much to gain!
Johanna Fischer is Managing Director of tmf dialogue marketing and heading the nomination panel for the ICCA PR award.
tmf dialogue marketing Europe / India is an expert for dialogue marketing with focus on international Meetings, Incentive, Conferences and Events (MICE) markets, matching innovative meetings PR and content marketing services with excellent personal contacts/database in key markets through a sophisticated mix of live communication, media and PR work, sales support and expertise in multi-channel content publishing. Clients of the group are leading convention bureaus, tourist offices, venues, hotels and other service providers in Europe and worldwide.