Earlier this year, Hunter Communications managed the communications for the SOUTH32 Rottnest Channel Swim.
We loved working on this iconic West Australian event for a second consecutive year. Our scope included development and management all of media opportunities, coming up with creative and newsworthy stories to promote the event prior to race day, assisting with the crisis management plan, writing the annual year book and all event day communications.
Before the first swimmers even dip their toes into the ocean, a lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into the Rottnest Channel Swim.
We wanted to share a few of our key findings from our two years of managing the communications for this event that we discussed as part of our internal debrief following a very successful 2020 event.
1. Changes to the media landscape The type of coverage obtained in 2020 reflected the changes to the Perth media landscape. With audience migration to mainly online and social media, Hunter shifted from relying on traditional media (like print and broadcast) for coverage to generating more online exposure for the event.
While this resulted in fewer media clippings than 2019, we achieved a greater quality of coverage and significantly higher audience reach in 2020 – which is what really counts!
2. Media coverage and timing Media interest is typically concentrated on the event weekend, so Hunter works to create swimmer stories and even insights as media opportunities in the lead up to the event.
To secure pre-event coverage, we worked closely with media contacts to develop exclusive angles for outlets, and were adaptable, flexible and creative to respond to the changing media focus.
On the event day, Hunter coordinated the media opportunities and set up a dedicated media liaison point for interviews. We also created channels where we could share vision, images and updates with the media, which provided the media with easy access to content and resulted in maximum event coverage.
3. You can never be over-prepared When it comes to preparing for an issue or crisis, there is no such thing as “over-planning”. This event is a great example of the event organisers understanding the risks and working closely with us to plan for all scenarios. For an event such as the Rottnest Channel Swim, we had to consider every possible scenario of things that could go wrong and have an action-plan in place on how we would handle the situation. We continued to review and update the crisis plan until we had an appropriate response for every possible scenario. It is important that your team members and client are clear on their roles for each scenario, to ensure that crises are dealt with in a professional and efficient manner. From a communications perspective, accurate and timely information needs to be shared only when the facts are known and verified – not just because the media are pushing for information to meet a deadline.
We believe it is of value to both our business and our clients to reflect on our work and assess what we have done well and how we can improve next time. We love working on this fantastic event and can’t wait for the next one!