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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