One day, two reporters, 10 seminars. Challenge accepted.
Careful planning, on-the-ground reporting and a forward-thinking client were the key ingredients to getting #BarclaysNewFrontiers event coverage trending on Twitter, writes Joe McAweaney.
How do you cover an event with multiple speakers, scores of seminars and hundreds of attendees with just two reporters – producing live assets for social as well as long-form features for your main website?
Our Content Works team for Barclays did just that at Barclays’ annual ‘New Frontiers’ conference, producing a package of real-time coverage and pre-planned follow-up stories for the bank’s main corporate channels – helping (among other successes) to get the event’s main hashtag trending on Twitter.
Barclays tasked our ‘embedded’ reporting team to cover the day as part of our regular output for the news and features pages at home.barclays (the global digital hub), and provide live updates that they could approve and tweet instantly to their 250,000 followers.
So, armed with nothing more than smartphones and audio recording equipment – and our best newsgathering instincts – we made the short journey from Speak’s HQ near Brick Lane to the conference venue: the InterContinental Hotel in Greenwich.
With several talks taking place throughout the day – covering topics from blockchain technology to millennials – the Speak copy team (comprising of myself and Contributing Editor Jason Sinclair) had already carefully assessed the agenda so we could split up and make sure we had all the main speakers covered, as well as capturing ‘ad hoc’ colour and quotes from delegates.
(It wasn’t all executed on-the-hoof of course – in the weeks leading up to the event, we’d taken part in several planning meets and conference calls with Barclays’ in-house social and comms teams, outlining priorities and roles for the day.)
To help coordinate our efforts, we set up a WhatsApp group with the Barclays team – ensuring content highlights could be shared instantly. It may be an app you commonly associate with sending pointless memes, but it also proved its worth as a tool for any on-the-ground reporter.
As the digital influencers on stage shared their insights, the best quotes from the day were shared with members of the Barclays press team, enabling them to approve and post to Twitter within a matter of seconds.
These efforts delivered impressive results. The Barclays New Frontiers hashtag trended at number five in the UK that day – with around 16,000 impressions per tweet. And the stories published on home.barclays in the following days – featuring Barclays CEO Jes Staley and Microsoft Vice President Joseph Sirosh among others – have racked up tens of thousands of views (and counting...).
With so much going on at the conference, providing live, relevant updates to Barclays’ customers was always going to be a big challenge. However, with careful planning, a dedicated team, and an ambitious, forward-thinking client, we managed to cut through the noise and deliver the best content, instantly.