A while back, I had an experience to work with a paid spokesperson to host a client event. Now, paid spokespeople are not a new tactic by any means. But generally these are celebrities (note: the definition of celebrity is subjective) that get paid to show up, mingle, say a few scripted words and get in the first town car out of there.
For this, we took a bit of a different tactic. Working with a well-known blogger, we gave the host free reign over the invite list. The host selected people from her network that should tend and that she felt would get value from what we were doing.
Instead of a scripted demo/product pitch, we wanted the host to tell her story. We felt that was interesting enough and the product simply sit on the table. Of course we had some suggested messaging that we would have appreciated having mentioned, but we wouldn’t be super bummed if it wasn’t.
And, you know what? It worked. The comments we heard were resoundingly fabulous. We wanted to be respectful of these folks’ time and give them an influencer event they would want to attend. In act, we had folks asking for more information about the product because it was not an over-the-top pitch.
So, how do we go about ensuring that influencer events are successful in the future?
- Let the product speak for itself: In this case, the product was one that could truly stand alone. We let attendees interact, experience and discuss the product without stepping in too much.
- Give up the reigns: We were simply facilitators. We brought the group together and embraced any group dynamics that happened.
- The host with the most: Were there other people in the city that had more traffic, followers or fame? Sure. But for the audience we had in the room, the importance of familiarity was crucial in finding success.
- Follow up: Since this was a tight-knit community, I really think that there was a cascading effect for when coverage started posting, it encouraged others to post as well.
As a PR person, letting go can be hard, but having faith in who you work with can lead to a lot of success.