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Lessons From the Minnesota State Fair

Now that the 2018 Min­neso­ta State Fair is behind us, and we’ve rest­ed our feet and caught up on some sleep, we took time to reflect on 12 days filled with ban­ner media cov­er­age for our clients at the big event – Mid­west Dairy and Min­neso­ta Wine Country.

Our team worked with media from every cor­ner of the state – from Duluth to Lit­tle Falls to Rochester to all of the major Twin Cities out­lets – to tell the sto­ries of Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Min­neso­ta Dairy Farm­ers and Min­neso­ta-made wines. And as we were remind­ed again this year, the coun­try – and the world – are enthralled with the Great Min­neso­ta Get Togeth­er, as we also worked with sev­er­al nation­al and inter­na­tion­al media out­lets, includ­ing Enter­tain­ment Tonight, the New York Times and French tele­vi­sion net­work TV M6, France’s sec­ond-largest nation­al net­work with an aver­age audi­ence of 10 mil­lion viewers.

The 12 days of the Min­neso­ta State Fair pro­vide great reminders about work­ing with the media that we car­ry through­out the year:

Plan as much as you can, but go with the flow. This year’s state fair brought some stormy days, and a few of our media seg­ments had to be can­celed due to weath­er. We bobbed and weaved, work­ing with pro­duc­ers to resched­ule seg­ments and com­mu­ni­cate changes quick­ly and effi­cient­ly with the clients. Anoth­er reminder that in the PR world (and life in gen­er­al), things hap­pen that you can’t con­trol, so try not to sweat it.

Make the media’s job easy, no mat­ter the out­let. Whether it’s a phone inter­view with a com­mu­ni­ty news­pa­per or an inter­view with Enter­tain­ment Tonight – pro­vide the same com­mit­ment to giv­ing the reporter or pro­duc­er as much infor­ma­tion as you can and the keys to a great sto­ry. You’ll quick­ly become a trust­ed source, and the cov­er­age will reflect your investment.

Find ways to cut through the clut­ter. The state fair, like many oth­er events, has a crowd­ed media land­scape. What can you do to cut through the clut­ter and lever­age your acti­va­tion at an event? Find the dif­fer­en­tia­tors – whether that’s some­thing new, revamped or unique to just your orga­ni­za­tion. For Mid­west Dairy, each year they announce the new Fla­vor of the Fair – a one-year-only malt or sun­dae fla­vor served at the Dairy Good­ness Bar, vot­ed on by the pub­lic ahead of the fair. This pro­vides a con­crete angle to cov­er their long-stand­ing tra­di­tion at the fair in a new way. When it comes to Min­neso­ta Wine Coun­try, the focus is show­cas­ing the inno­v­a­tive food and bev­er­age pair­ings fair-goers might not be expecting.

No mat­ter the size of the event or out­let you’re work­ing with, keep these tips in mind to max­i­mize your oppor­tu­ni­ties. Cheers to all involved in cre­at­ing a suc­cess­ful 2018 Min­neso­ta State Fair, as well as the coun­try – and the world – rec­og­niz­ing how tru­ly unique this event is!

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