Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
At a Gorkana Olympics panel event this week, we heard how there is still time for PRs wanting to get involved in the greatest show on earth, and got the low-down on how to pitch Olympics-related content...
Olympics-sized sell in:
London 2012 is Jacquelin's ninth Olympics games as a journalist. In her role at The Telegraph Group she co-ordinates Olympics media coverage across all platforms, making sure everything is covered, not duplicated, and that no resources are wasted.
The most important part of Jacquelin's job is making sure her team understand how big the Olympics and Paralympics are - 26 different sports means the equivalent of 26 World Cups all happening in the same city at the same time. There is a team of 30 Olympics-accredited journalists in The Telegraph Olympics reporting team.
She says people involved often regret that they did not know how big it was going to be, and wish they had done it bigger and better. She educates her organisation to be prepared and plans to use the Olympics to show the world what The Telegraph Group is all about and make it a global brand. The website current attracts more than 45million monthly unique users and this is expected to double by the time the Games start.
The Telegraph Group is planning the biggest Olympic coverage, with at least 40 pages a day during the Games and an online blog covering more than 100 stories a day.
Jacquelin wants to receive pitches from PRs. She said PRs should consider all platforms, and also pitch Olympic-related stories that non-accredited journalists can cover. Jacqueline would rather be pitched at by everyone and then cherry-pick ideas. Email is better if you don't know her or her team, but if a PR has a good relationship with someone on the team they can pick up the phone.
She said access to athletes is key for the *Telegraph. *She wants PRs to introduce her team to people they may never have considered. They want interesting content and brilliant ideas - anything that will engage with the reader.
There will be so much noise surrounding the Olympics, The Telegraph needs PR pitches to be bespoke, interesting, compelling and timely.
During the Olympics, the Telegraph team will be working to minute-by-minute deadlines so information needs to be immediate. If a PR takes three hours to get back to a journalist, it will be too late. Information needs to be in a multi-platform format with images, videos, social media etc. *The Telegraph *will run bespoke twitter feeds.
PRs wanting Olympics-related coverage should make contact with the Telegraph in the next week or two.
Jacquelin said PRs would stand out by providing access to athletes with new, different stories that engage with readers. Accessibility to athletes dries up closer to the Olympics, so features need to be done now.
The Telegraph Group will not just be covering sports stories, they are interested in other Olympic issues such as transport and security, whatever engages the reader. Jacquelin predicts that London will hit by Olympics fever during the Games and it will mean ?people will speak to each other on the tube!?
The PR Agency View:
Deputy Head of Weber Shandwick Sport Andrew Ager is now working on his fourth Olympic campaign, and is confident that there is still time for PRs to deliver cut-through and gain Olympic coverage.
He encouraged PRs to think of creating a legacy, not just gaining coverage for a few weeks.
He recalled the iconic red mittens which were the unlikely success story of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. By the end of the Games the organisers had sold four million pairs. Andrew said if anyone can come up with London 2012?s red mitten equivalent "they can retire early".
He said Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter must be every PRs best friend. Andrew said PRs should always check Rule 40 against any activity as the legislation is there to protect sponsors, partners and providers.
Click here for more information on Rule 40 and how it applies to your brand.
LOCOG is there to advise on their rules, and it is key to establish a good working relationship with them.
Andrew said budgets should be set, and then doubled to get the true figure for activating sponsorship.
Andrew predicts this year's Paralympics will be bigger than anyone thinks, especially given Channel 4 is the host broadcaster and Britain has a good level of elite athletes competing. Brands shouldn't ignore the Paralympics as there is real opportunity to do interesting PR.
Celebrating an athlete's medal success is dangerous. Again, Rule 40 must be consulted, as brands will support athletes officially. It is best to wait until after the Games to build on an athlete's success.
Andrew said brands should consider taking their activity outside the Olympic Park - "use the whole of London, there are live sites and endless venues to choose from".
And his final piece of advice: "Don't just tick boxes, push boundaries. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something 'Olympic?."
The Supporter's View:
Cadbury is one of London 2012's 55 sponsors and its Olympics strategy aims to create a lasting legacy, be all-inclusive, encourage participation and instil Olympic spirit. David said PRs should engage beyond the M25 and see the Olympics as a UK thing, not just a London thing.
Cadbury has launched several Olympic initiatives including getting the nation to engage in playing games with their spots and stripes campaign. They have also held a 'Keep GB Pumped' campaign, and have several online games and apps.
Cadbury is using the sponsorship to reach as many people as possible. They are engaging with communities and providing many interesting press opportunities. By working with Groundwork and volunteers, they unearth interesting real-life stories. They have a team entered in the 'Ride Across Britain' race.
Cadbury has also included postcards inside a special Olympics bar of chocolate for Games supporters to write messages to the GB Olympic Team.
The Social Media View:
EMEA Sales Director Naomi Trickey predicts that the Olympics will generate a huge amount of online conversation and says that there will be a massive amount of PR opportunities.
Brands need to learn to focus on relevant conversations and engage with what people are saying. The Olympics are lots of small events, not one big event, so there will be peaks of conversation. PRs need to engage with when people are talking and measure how interested people are. And establish who is doing the talking.
The Olympics in Numbers:
205 nations competing
25,000 accredited media
20,000 non-accredited media
8.8 million ticket holders
1 million tourists
2000,000 people working during the Games
6,000 people working for LOCOG
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