On behalf of NST client, the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP), our team is charged with the Herculean task of educating roughly 40 million California residents about a deadly citrus tree disease called Huanglongbing (HLB) and the pest that can spread the disease, the Asian citrus psyllid.
Until researchers find a solution, California citrus is at risk from the spread of the disease – once a citrus tree is confirmed with HLB, it will die. Homeowners who enjoy growing fresh citrus fruit in their yards must work together with commercial farmers tending to citrus trees with a total economic value of over $7 billion in order to protect their trees.
To generate media interest in a market already saturated with buzz about the issue due to the heightened presence of HLB in Southern California, NST executed an on-site media event, offering alluring visuals, a unique angle and expert interview subjects to local media outlets, reporters and journalists. The goal was to drive media interest in a unique way while still building awareness of the pest and disease to residents in California.
Here are some strategies NST employed to make the event a success:
Offered Alternatives for Those Not on Site
NST invited media to film and witness a live Tamarixia release. Tamarixia are parasitic wasps that control the spread of the pest, and therefore the potential transmission of HLB. Understanding that the event, held at Cal Poly Pomona’s Tamarixia rearing facility, was a trek for Los Angeles media outlets with packed schedules, NST hired an on-site cameraman to shoot b-roll video and interviews to use as a post-event pitch asset for media that could not send a crew to the event.
As a value add, NST was able to get more than 30 b-roll and interview clips at the event to use internally, and on social media for post-event media outreach.
Created a Draw to the Live Event
Media were invited to speak with program representatives, including Victoria Hornbaker, interim director of the CPDPP at California Department of Food and Agriculture; Dr. David Morgan, biological control program manager, California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Dr. Anna Soper, assistant professor of plant science, Cal Poly Pomona.
To inform media of the event, a media alert and press release were produced, highlighting the key spokespeople, and topics and visual opportunities at the greenhouse. Major print and online media outlets, local broadcast stations and Asian-American media outlets serving Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties (all areas of HLB or psyllid detections) were all in attendance. Additionally, outreach was conducted to trade media outlets about the biological control program.
Post-Event Key Takeaways
As a result of these tactics, coverage from the event generated more than 3 million impressions across 28 total placements.
- Two Los Angeles market television stations sent crews to the site.
- KDFX-AM (FOX) in LA recorded a remote pre-recorded interview and aired the story nine times.
- Three local papers covered the Tamarixia
In public relations, it is difficult to know ahead of time what availability media will have when they are planning their daily stories and crew assignments, so it is a good rule of thumb to prepare for all outcomes.
Making the most of this on-site event, NST drove media attendance through successful tactics, while using a unique angle of proactive ways that the CPDPP is addressing the battle to save California’s citrus.
Are you looking for a strategic partner that can help secure coverage from an on-site media event for your organization? Learn about our approach and areas of expertise by contacting us.