WildRock Takes On Steamboat
As PR professionals, our job is to get brands noticed. And there’s no better way to stand out in a crowded space than by placing products directly in the hands of journalists, on a press trip where gear gets tested, restaurants and services are reviewed and the all-important first impression is made.
Flirting with the idea of a media trip for years, WildRock finally made the leap and launched the Steamboat Experience 2016 this past September. The goal was to connect outdoor and lifestyle brands with prominent members of the media, but with that came an adventure-packed weekend of so much more.
After months of planning, the trip itself seemed to fly by, so as we look toward planning future press trips (spoiler alert), we’re reflecting on some of the components that made the Steamboat Experience valuable for all parties involved.
Set the scene. Where do members of the media want to go? Picking the location is one of the single most important decisions and will reflect the event’s brand sponsors and what they’re all about.
For WildRock, Steamboat Springs, CO (Ski Town USA) was a no-brainer with its beautiful mountains, tasty eats, vibrant spirit and friendly locals. After mapping out the list of participating brands, it was clear that Steamboat had a scene to properly display each one, ringing true to the brand’s roots.
When it comes to picking your invite list, it’s essential that each journalist’s editorial focus matches up with the participating brands. It wouldn’t make sense to invite a glamour/runway editor to a weekend camping trip (and you probably wouldn’t get the best reviews either).
For our event, we invited outdoor gear reviewers to spend the day paddle boarding, hiking and eating ‘smores by the fire. After one night of camping and rigorous gear testing out at Pearl Lake, we moved the group into Steamboat’s finest luxury lodging where they were given the ultimate ski-chalet treatment and had the chance to attend Steamboat’s VIP OktoberWest beer stroll. To accommodate this part of the experience and group of brand sponsors, we invited foodies and lifestyle writers to review each restaurant we ate at and the unique places we visited.
Journalists and brands both have their schedules jam-packed nearly a year in advance, so it’s important to pick a date when there’s a lull in the industry. In the outdoor space, both summers and winters are bustling with tradeshows and events, so we chose September when things were a little calmer.
Not only was it the perfect window for our attendees, but fall foliage was at its peak. Score!
Whether you’re having a party, going on a date or prepping for day one of your media trip, there’s always going to be nerves. What if it’s awkward? There’s always that chance, but there’s a greater likelihood for new relationships to thrive.
After bringing together a group of 15 journalists (some who had worked with us in the past and some fresh, new faces), WildRock is thrilled with the long-term relationships that were developed over the weekend. In a short timeframe, we were able to get to know everyone on a personal level, learn more about each journalist’s editorial/brand goals and work together to collaborate and produce rockstar results.