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How OggaDoon got TEDxBristol Trending UK-wide

Published on Monday, 11th April 2016, contributed by OggaDoon

OggaDoon came onboard with TEDxBristol 2015 this time last year. The job was put simply - a little PR and comms support was needed to help sell 1800 tickets before the event on 11th November.

After a clutch of radio interviews, five online TV interviews, 4 in depth published interviews, 25+ press articles, 7 x newsletters, 300x FB posts, 700 x tweets, 50 x Instagrams, god knows how many web uploads and one storify, the little job was done.

From the start we had two ambitions:

  • to sell out TEDxBristol before 11th

  • to trend in Bristol on the day

Limited resources meant being tactically ruthless.  Many of the traditional marketing activities were discounted on the basis of cost – adverts, leaflets, direct mail, posters and so on didn’t make the cut.  Working with Mel, the core team and others, we made a collaborative decision to focus on digital and social media as our principle PR and comms channels.  We had delivered this approach successfully for Big Green Week and Love the Future.

That doesn’t mean to say we ignored traditional PR methods.  Looking at our goals we knew we needed to buddy up with media partners at a local level so Bristol Post and BBC Radio Bristol were selected as our partners of choice.  We also ensured we were featured on listings publications.

With a couple of months to go, we turned on the gas burners.  We started to infuse our channels with shared content - re-used at every opportunity - speaker features, blogs from partners and sponsors, a teaser video, screen grabs and visual content with increasing regularity of posting.  And we upped conversational activity online.

At the same time, the press started to get excited with the Post and BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast Show conducting several interviews which we also put in to the mix.  We begin to tease our audience with messages about tickets going fast, who’s in, what they were looking forward to etc. Having this strong theme united our content and enabled us to put an aspirational, positive and feelgood vibe across our social media platforms

On 4th November, the ‘sold out’ tweet was posted and the waiting list opened.  Target number one had been met.

To get TEDxBristol trending on the day required a slightly different tact. To ensure maximum effectiveness, we used two simple hashtags - #GreatXpectations and #TEDxBRS.  While social media often appears off the cuff, it was crucial that we planned for every eventuality, to ensure that on the day the content could run like clockwork.

We took on a team of 11 third year publishing students from Bath Spa University who were responsible on the day for both posting and creating content. To prepare them for the role I held an introductory meeting with them to provide them with a toolkit which outlined all information necessary for them to use an on-brand ‘TEDx’ voice in all content.

On the day, we focused on three key areas. Firstly, posting pre-written content on time and with regard to any changes or amendments to the day. Secondly, creating responsive content including reactions to the talks, interviewing delegates and taking photos of the event, both in and out of the auditorium. Lastly, we were responsible for keeping track of questions posed on twitter and compiling them for the two Q and A sessions.

The result was slick, consistent content across all channels. Our most engaged with channel was Twitter – and, as we aimed for, we trended consistently 1st place across Bristol – and also trended 7th in the UK – above Gordon Brown!

Overall, the results of our social media and content campaign were even better than we’d hoped for. Our newsletter had an average open rate of 51%, compared with an industry average of 23%. We gained 270 new followers on the day alone, and almost 1000 from the August to November period.

And on the day, our social media had a 2.8 million reach, and an 8.4 million reach across the whole period. It was no walk in the park – but to reach out to such a huge audience and to get such positive feedback was a massive buzz that we won’t forget in a hurry.