Driving virtual event engagement with a PR strategy
Updated: Jan 28
Of all the challenges and adaptations the telecommunications sector has seen over the past year, the running of industry events has been potentially the most significant. The times when we would travel internationally to meet, speak, and shake hands came to a halt over 12 months ago, and since then we have all been adapting to a different way of business.
Virtual events soared in popularity as sites like Zoom and Swapcard allowed them to go ahead, from the safety of our own homes – and it looks like some are here to stay. In fact, some instances saw a higher number of attendees than ever before, because most travel and financial barriers were removed. That being said, as the months went on fatigue began to set in. With all the upsides and convenience of virtual events, came a certain monotony and lack of social interaction that saw attendances begin to fall.
An opportunity to exceed expectations
This provided us with an opportunity to help our client thrive, in the lead up to the 9th annual Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) Global Summit. As a digital communications PR agency, the ability to drive further engagement for attendees globally without geographical barriers was an exciting opportunity.
As a client of ours since 2012, we have led the promotion of many DSA summits, but this was the second time we were tasked to do it virtually – following a successful event held online in 2020. We had to ensure we created a deserving buzz, to stand out in the sea of virtual events that have descended over the last year.
In 2020, we celebrated a phenomenal number of attendees, with over 500 people registered for online sessions. Despite the ongoing fatigue of virtual events, in 2021 we managed to reach an incredible total of 571 attendees. Through welcoming those from commercial organizations, government bodies, academic, media organizations and more, we helped the DSA deliver another outstanding summit.
Across the second quarter of the year, which was home to the summit, we secured 4 feature articles, and facilitated the drafting and release of 7 press releases, helping to spread awareness of the Global Summit, and the DSA’s mission for effective spectrum utilization. 3 blogs were drafted for the website, including an overview of the upcoming events, and a first look at the influential line-up in store. Our efforts throughout the summit led to 58 industry mentions of the DSA, in publications discussing the content and impact of the summit and its speakers, plus the awards for innovation and digital inclusion which were announced at the event.
How we did it
Through our ongoing relationships with media publications, we formed meaningful partnerships that brought the event to the attention of their loyal readerships. With 288 pieces of coverage across the Americas, Europe, and APAC region, we secured feature articles, press release coverage, and interviews across top tier titles such as Digital Policy Law, Satellite Evolution and Teletime Brazil.
At Proactive PR, our relationships with editors are of the upmost importance, and we enjoy the opportunity to share exciting announcements and releases with our contacts in the media. Through our knowledge of specific publications and their readership demographics, we were able to reach an international audience of readers for whom the summit topics were the most engaging and relevant.
As administrators for the DSA social media channels, we curated an appealing and varied schedule of social media posts to encourage followers to sign up, attend, and engage with the virtual event. By creating graphics showcasing speakers and topics, we used Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to promote specific summit sessions, and create excitement for the upcoming event. Not only did we build suspense until the event itself, but we live-posted throughout the three days, encouraging sign-ups for upcoming sessions to make sure our audience did not miss a presentation. Between March and June, we helped the social accounts gain over 170 new followers, increasing monthly impressions on Twitter and LinkedIn by more than 100%.
The closing comments do not signify that our job is done – post-event promotion is vital in order to continue engaging with a wider audience and bring attention to the highlights of the summit. As a member based, non-profit organization, the DSA’s goal is to drive further engagement and collaboration towards its mission. Re-purposing content from the summit, for example uploading recordings of sessions to the YouTube channel, meant that anyone who missed the event could catch up in the following weeks. Blogs and feature articles based on specific panels and presentations offered readers a more concise summary of top-level information, giving the content and information shared a permanent place for readers to come back to.
Adaptation is key
While we are excited to reconnect with colleagues in person once again, adaptability is crucial to succeed for our clients through even the most challenging times. The 2021 DSA Global Summit was a fantastic example of how we as an agency not only adapted to meet existing expectations but modified our approach to rise above and beyond potential hurdles. At a time when connectivity, and bridging the digital divide is more important than ever, we were delighted to see so much useful discussion and significant collaboration between regulators at the 2021 Global Summit.