How to get a press pass and attend events for free
Just want to say up front that this post is going to appeal more to the bloggers and social media users out there, but I still wanted to share with everyone because it’s neat to see the background of some of my (and other bloggers’) activities. Learning how to get a press pass isn’t difficult, but it takes some effort to position the pitch just right.
When I pitch the idea of covering an event, I think long and hard about the organizer and what they want. The needs of an event planner are fairly simple (I should know).
- Want people/sponsors to attend
- Want publicity
- Want next year to be even better
With those thoughts in mind, I start drafting my pitch. Things I want to cover:
- Talk about my target audience.
- Give them some traffic stats.
- Point to previous event coverage.
- Give a name or two as referrals to help prove authenticity.
- Pitch SEO value for future events (when people Google the event, these posts will show up).
- Tell them exactly what I will provide in exchange for a press pass, comped ticket, etc. (My usual coverage is 3 posts.)
- Check out this event I am attending and what I expect from the experience
- Live post during the event or review of a session immediately after
- Final wrap up, parting words, and recommendation for the next year
One thing I haven’t asked for previously was travel expenses or compensation above the ticket price. As my traffic and audience grows I will get more requests, and I can’t possibly fill all of them. That might be something I’ll have to look at in the future.
A sample email template
I was just checking through my email and saw where a friend had mentioned the XYZ conference. I’ve never even heard of it, so I went out to the website not knowing what to expect.
Wow! I was blown away by the level of detail and professionalism that’s put into this thing. It looks like an amazing event, and I would like to help you guys get the word out about this thing. I have covered other HR events before, and I was wondering if you guys had any kind of press pass. I’m (relatively) local and would love to share the event with my audience. Here are a few details that might help you make up your mind:
- My audience hits around 3,000 visitors monthly with approximately 70,000 pageviews since I started writing. Alabama is my second highest source of web traffic (for local events only).
- I covered the 2010 SHRM conference in San Diego this year and those articles and videos were seen by over 1,000 people on my own site and hundreds more on the other platforms where the posts were shared. For many of those readers, it was the only coverage they saw of the entire event. Here’s a sampling of that material from SHRM 2010.
- I have open invitations to write for other events in the human resources and recruiting space.
- I’ve written articles about multiple seminars at my local SHRM chapter (NASHRM).
- I know how important it is for the conference planners to get the word out about the event to generate interest and drive ticket sales.
In exchange for the press pass, I’ll write multiple articles (thinking 3-4 at this point) about the event and will share the content rights with you to post on your own event blog if you desire. It’s reasonable to expect that those articles will reach a large number of people who would otherwise never hear about the event.
Please let me know if I can share anything more to help you in your decision. I’d love to have the opportunity to share the XYZ Conference with the world.
The next step
If they reply with the affirmative, that’s where I give them more details about my role in the partnership.
Hey, Event Planner Dude/Gal’s name!
At this point I’m planning for at least 3 articles on upstartHR.
- One will be beforehand where I talk about the event, what makes it unique (example 1, example 2, etc.), and what I hope to learn.
- The other will be written based on the content of a session or two that I attend. Right now I’m leaning toward writing about the X, Y, and Z sessions, but that could change depending on how they go and how well the speakers do. I hate writing negatively about anything, so I’ll do everything I can to capture the positive aspects of the experience.
- The final piece will be a recap about the event as a whole, people I met, and whether or not I would recommend someone attend the event in coming years. This is the most fun/valuable, because it really brings a personal feel to the event and helps people get a good handle of the value it can provide.
Like I said in my original email, I expect these posts to be seen by over a thousand people. The content is syndicated across HRMToday, Brazen Careerist, and my Twitter feed (3000+ followers). Another neat benefit for you guys is that the content will be search engine optimized, which means when people are searching for information related to your event a few months or a year from now, the reviews will probably show up high on the search engine results pages.
Thanks again for the opportunity,
And that, my friends, is how I pitch my blog to write for events. As I said before, learning how to get a press pass as a blogger just takes a little effort and attention to detail. I haven’t done it often, but it’s always been successful. Have a question about something I said or forgot to cover? Let me know in the comments below.