It’s the first Friday of the month, or at least it will be as most of you read this, and when I was a trade press editor, that meant just one thing: First Friday Club! If you’re in the industrial or engineering sectors, and want to reach the technical press in the UK, the First Friday Club is the way to do it. I was one of the three founder Editors in 1998, and never thought the event would still be going so strongly thirteen years later.
First Friday Club came about at a press conference held by an engineering company in London. I was editor of Industrial Technology magazine at the time, and looked at a couple of other editors and realised it was the third time I’d had lunch with them that week. Each time we’d all braved the commuter lines to get into London, listened to a company tell us about the latest and greatest developments, had a pleasant lunch, and gone back to the office for just enough time to check the post. Now, all very amenable of course, but perhaps not the most efficient use of everyone’s time. Wouldn’t it be great if all those companies could have had their press conferences, one after the other, at the same venue? It’d also be a lot more cost-effective for the companies, which typically spent a couple of thousand pounds (and often much more) on their own events.
But of course there was little possibility of people who didn’t know each other organising a joint event. So we decided to do it for them. We’d arrange an event at the same time and place each month, and companies could just turn up and hold their press conference, without any of the organisational hassles or the worry that nobody was going to show. What could go wrong?
Nothing, as it turned out. Presenting companies loved it, because they were relieved of the need to find a venue, fret for weeks over the details, and experience “nobody’s going to come to my party” syndrome. Editors liked it even more, because they got to hear from several companies in one go, at a venue they all liked. Best of all, the presentations were short and to the point. Companies organising their own press conferences always feel the need to pad the thing out to excruciating extremes, to justify the effort involved on all sides. And no Editor ever wants to hear the dreaded words: “But before we get on to our technical announcement, our managing director would just like to show you some slides about our company structure…”
That doesn’t happen at First Friday Club. Now in the capable hands of PR maestro Neil Fullbrook and his colleagues, it’s even developed to have ‘themed’ events, where several companies involved in broadly the same sector turn up. To see what’s on the calendar, take a look at the First Friday Club website.