Leverage the Media to Grow Your Virtual Summit Organically with Liz Fleming

Learn to leverage the media to organically gain traction for your virtual summit whether you already have media connections or PR has been on your to-do list.

You know you can grow your virtual summit by running ads, promoting to your audience, and getting speakers to promote, but what other options are there?

Think outside the box when it comes to your summit promotion. Something I’d never considered is leveraging media connections for promoting a summit. So, when Liz Fleming told me about how she did it, my mind was blown.

Today, Liz is going to break down:

  • How she leverages media connections to promote her virtual summit.
  • What she does beforehand to make asking those connections to promote easy.
  • How you can start leveraging the media.

Whether you already have media connections or PR has been on your to-do list, this is one you won't want to miss.

I’ll let Liz take it from here!

Using the Media to Grow a Virtual Summit

I host the Made by Me Summit, which specifically targets makers who create and sell physical products. I had the proven strategies for building a summit and how to promote, but I wondered about using the media to gain visibility.

Pitching Local Media

Although my event was virtual and not like most events the media might feature, I knew it could help people in my community. I reached out to my contacts in the local media via email and pitched them about my virtual summit.

My email pitch was simple and included:

  • What the event is and who it’s for
  • A link to the event
  • When it’s happening
  • It’s totally free and hosted by me

For each media pitch, I send a unique tracking link to see how many clicks each publication brought in, and we got a lot of signups from the press.

Deciding Who to Pitch

For example, the contacts that I pitched specifically publish stories about small businesses and entrepreneurship. Because I target makers, I made a list of maker’s markets, which are virtual markets where people can sell their products, and then there are pop-up markets where people can sell their products. I invited all those maker markets to promote my summit and gave them copy to invite their audiences as well. 

Leveraging Cold Media

Make sure you know the publications you're pitching. I read from and know the publications that I pitch, so I know which areas of those publications to target my pitches to.

I already had contacts in the media from previous publications, but many of you might not so here are my suggestions on how you can leverage and pitch the cold media.

Start with a Wish List

Make a wish list of your top 10-20 local or regional media and get to know them. If you’re pitching newspapers, radio, and television broadcasts, know that they work on short lead times. If you have a local or regional magazine you want to pitch, they run about 3 to even 8 months in advance because their production time is longer. Plan accordingly when you move on from wish list to pitches.

Know Your Media Formats

Know the media formats of what you’re pitching and follow them on social media. Genuinely read their content and get to know what they’re about because you can loop that into your pitch.

You want to personalize the pitch because that’s what gets them on the hook and knowing their previous content will help.

Follow Up

Keep in mind that there’s a person on the other side of the screen. Don’t be afraid to follow up because it’s not until about the third follow-up that you gain any traction.

If these journalists don’t know you, it might take them some time to feel comfortable with you and research what you’re pitching them.  

Build Connections

Once you have that relationship, you understand how the journalists work. Now that I have relationships with my contacts, they are eager to publish me again and again.

Work in advance to build the connection, learn what you need to about the different publications, and you will have the information you need to use this strategy effectively and reach out.

Add Social Proof

Now that you have the connections, you can put that publication logo on your summit website. If my speakers have been featured anywhere big, I add that to my summit website as well. Adding social proof helps legitimize the experience for attendees.

Liz’s Big Takeaway

If this is your first summit, give yourself time to have fun with it. Give yourself space to experiment with this and see what happens instead of putting up massive goals. Follow your gut and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Give yourself time to build relationships naturally.

If you're a Summit in a Box student, check out Liz's guest training! You'll learn how to exponentially boost your virtual summit's exposure, sign-ups, and sales by leveraging the media. She also includes her templates, checklists, and scripts. You won't want to miss this one!

About Liz

Liz Fleming is an award-winning digital marketer who teaches makers how to make marketing easy and fun using organic techniques so they can be more profitable, productive, and efficient while staying rooted to what matters.

Her clients have been featured by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, National Geographic, The Today Show, Oprah Magazine + many more. In 2019, she was named a Top Digital Marketer by The Rising Tide Society & Honeybook as part of their 20 On The Rise Award for her work in the industry + in 2020, was selected as one of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs by One Woman Shop.

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