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The SEO

PR & Social Media for Hopfest 2016

Waldo Hopfest was a one-day beer festival featuring more than 250 craft beers from over 50 breweries across the globe. The 6th annual event was held on May 21, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri’s Waldo neighborhood, offering beer enthusiasts and social drinkers the opportunity to taste unlimited samplings from the participating breweries, as well as experience some of Kansas City’s diverse food truck offerings and enjoy various in-festival entertainment elements. The Hopfest team hired Page Communications (PC) for public relations, media outreach and social media strategy – for the second year in a row. Building on 2015’s successful strategies, PC implemented new, focused tactics based on research findings that led to advance ticket sales skyrocketing by 327 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

OBJECTIVE

Position Hopfest as Kansas City’s premier craft beer festival that appeals to beer aficionados and leisure, social drinkers alike.

COMMUNICATION OBJECTIVES

  1. Awareness: To increase awareness of Hopfest, familiarizing the local and regional market of its participating breweries, craft beers and in-festival entertainment elements.
  2. Media Position: To increase awareness and communicate key messages of Hopfest to media, particularly those covering beer and/or events.
  3. Digital Position: To heighten digital engagement with an overarching goal of ticket sales and increased awareness.
  4. Branding: To communicate key messages of Hopfest through consistent branding.
  5. Action: To inspire a call-to-action to purchase Hopfest tickets, acquire sponsorships and increase engagement the day of the festival.

TACTICS

  • Revamped the brand by adding a geographic identifier (Waldo) to the name.
  • Launched a fully dedicated Hopfest website to align with the new brand and provide seamless ticket transactions for consumers while also featuring key festival information, experiential photos and sponsorship/vendor opportunities.
  • Ran ticket sales entirely online via Eventbrite.
  • Built a sponsorship program as a tactic to increase funds to positively impact the bottom line.
  • Identified festival assets that could be “sold” for sponsorships.
  • Created a dedicated page on the new website for sponsorship opportunities with clear instructions on who to contact for further information.
  • Worked with sponsors and community vendors, whenever possible, for marketing support and outreach.
    • Created a Hopfest VIP text program to alert VIPs of rare beer tappings before general admission ticket holders during the festival as an added in-festival benefit for VIP ticket holders.
    • Replaced brewery discussion panels, held in years past with dwindling interest from attendees, with in-festival entertainment elements including live music and yard games.
    • Implemented a social media contesting strategy to increase engagement with the target audience during the festival.
    • Created an initial press release to announce the new Hopfest brand, website and festival date.
    • Created a media invitation to provide to local and regional media and beer bloggers.
    • Created a media alert to provide to television assignment desks and print photo desks the week of the festival as a last-chance opportunity for b-roll, interviews and/or photography.
    • Created a credential for media to wear during the festival for on-site coverage, freedom to interact with breweries/attendees (i.e. Periscope) and behind-the-scenes photo opps.
    • Created overviews for all media appearances/interviews to ensure spokespeople keep strategic messaging intact.
    • Created custom keywords for media outlets (610SPORTS, PITCH, Q104, etc.) to promote to audiences for discounted tickets.
    • Maintained regular activity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
    • Created a dedicated Hopfest event page on Facebook to directly promote the event to people “interested in going” and regularly posted on the event page wall to share updates and interact with others posting to the page.
    • Solicited participating breweries, sponsors and community vendors to obtain prizes for the on-site social media contests.
    • Built a giveaway schedule for the day of the festival, outlining the times when certain prizes would be given away. Shared times with prize donors so they could engage with the giveaways on their social media channels.
    • Implemented an on-site social media team to help spread awareness of the social media contests during the festival and help spike engagement.
    • Printed a life-size Instagram photo prop consistent with the Hopfest brand. Had the social media team engage and encourage festival attendees to take photos with the Instagram prop and post to social media using the hashtag #HopfestKC, which would automatically enter attendees for prize giveaways.
    • Incorporated the hashtag #HopfestKC on the Instagram photo prop and all possible materials.
    • Monitored the hashtag #HopfestKC during the festival to manage contest entries and engage with festival attendees in real time.
    • Created keywords FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM for platform outreach for discounted tickets.

Results

  • 2,198 tickets purchased directly from the Hopfest website.
  • More than 30,000 website page views from Feb. 8 – May 22, 2016.
  • 157 total VIP text message sign-ups on May 21.
  • Secured seven $250-level community sponsors and one $500-level Drinking Buddy sponsor, resulting in $2,250 in sponsorship revenue for Hopfest.
  • 26 earned media placements across TV, print and online.
  • Three of four major local network affiliates (ABC, NBC & FOX) covered Hopfest the week leading up to the festival, equal to $12,875 in publicity value.
  • The day of the festival, the hashtag #HopfestKC was trending in Kansas City. On Twitter, it generated 515,651 timeline deliveries and reached 274,689 people. On Instagram, it generated 23,981 impressions and reached 14,064 people.
  • The Facebook event page resulted in 169,094 total people reached, 4,552 total responses and 1,050 total clicks on “buy tickets.”
  • The Facebook page saw an organic reach of 73,410 on May 21, the day of the festival, compared to an organic reach of 11,578 on the day of the festival in 2015.
  • Keyword FACEBOOK received 508 redemptions for $5 discounted tickets, equal to $12,700 in ticket sales.