Helen appears at BBC Countryfile Live

Helen on stage with Rich Harpham

Mediapack’s MD Helen Reeves was one of the key note presenters on the Blacks Great Outdoors Stage at BBC Countryfile Live, Blenheim Palace last weekend. Helen was part of a roster of speakers on the stage, including Countryfile’s Tom Heap, adventurer Rich Harpham, Mike Dilger from ‘The One Show’ and BBC Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood.

The subject of Helen’s talk was life after the Olympics and creating family adventures to inspire her two children to form a love of the outdoors. Helen is Britain’s only female Olympic canoeing medallist, having won bronze in Canoe Slalom at Athens and she’s worked as a commentator and pundit for the BBC at all the subsequent Olympic Games, as well as international and World Championship canoeing events.

The outdoors has always been a major part of Helen’s life ever since her childhood and her passion for canoeing and other outdoor pursuits remains as strong as ever. Just a week after Countryfile Live, Helen will line up on the startline for the BRECA Buttermere Swim Run race, a gruelling event featuring 6km of swimming and 39km of running through some of the Lake District’s most challenging terrain.

The main stage at BBC Countryfile live

As an Olympian from an adventurous sport, Helen is mindful of the opportunity she has to inspire others to be active in the outdoors. For her, an active and adventurous life is just what life is, so she was delighted to have the opportunity to share her experiences, in the hope that they might encourage other parents to view outdoors adventures as a valuable part of their childrens’ upbringing.

BRECA Buttermere takes place on 11th August and the second BBC Countryfile Live takes place at Castle Howard on 15th – 18th August.

FREE Content Audit during February

Mediapack is offering its basic ‘Content Audit’ service package for free during February 2018.

The Mediapack Content Audit gives a complete external assessment of your existing social media and website content output and recommends ways in which you can adapt, improve and increase your content to promote your organisation more effectively.

We look at your existing activity across all channels, from your website to social media. Using your guidance, we look at your overall market and your potential audience. We create a brief report with our findings & give clear recommendations for how you can adapt & create distinctive content that can really engage an audience.

The basic audit package, which is being offered for free during February 2018 is worth £200 and can be upgraded to a comprehensive audit worth £450 during this period for just £200, a saving of £50.

For more information, send us a contact request, quoting ‘Free Content Audit’ in the ‘subject’ box and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. Please allow up to 48 hours for initial contact, as we may be on location filming but as long as the request is sent within February, the basic audit will be free. Contact us here.

Want to learn more about our Content Audits? Take a look at our fact sheet:

Go Canoe! on YouTube

Mediapack client British Canoeing moved into the mainstream broadcast space this summer with their new show on Sky Sports Arena – ‘Go Canoe!’ Mediapack was tasked with creating 16 magazine packages to go into the programme, which featured all the key action from the Canoe Sprint and Canoe Slalom World Cups.

While the full programme was exclusive to Sky, Mediapack’s magazine packages have now taken up residence on British Canoeing TV, the channel we set up for British Canoeing in 2010, to provide engaging content for the London 2012 Olympics. The channel achieved over 200,000 views up until the end of the games, when Mediapack handed over management of the channel to British Canoeing communications staff.  Since then, we’ve focussed solely on producing content for the channel, including the forerunner to ‘Go Canoe!’, ‘The Canoe Show’.

All 16 ‘Go Canoe!’ packages are available to watch online and feature Mediapack’s own Helen Reeves as anchor presenter.  The series was produced to an extremely short lead time, with all the packages being delivered within 11 weeks of the commencement of pre-production. Although this placed constraints on the scope of production and meant that the packages had to be filmed very much in a newsreel style, the on water action combined with the personalities of the contributors provided a really engaging window on the sport, revealing canoeing disciplines that many people may not have experienced before.

In Helen’s role as a contributing commentator for the BBC’s Olympic coverage, she focusses purely on Canoe Sprint and the discipline in which she won her Olympic medal in Athens – Canoe Slalom. ‘Go Canoe!’ covered practically every competition discipline there is, from Canoe Polo to Marathon and Wild Water Racing, with Helen getting on the water to try out each one. This was often quite a challenging experience, especially in disciplines such as Canoe Freestyle, which demanded a whole new skillset to Helen’s previous Canoe Slalom experience.

Mediapack worked alongside the production company responsible for delivering the World Cup coverage – Hit The Roof – to produce ‘Go Canoe!’, with Hit The Roof handling the competition elements, compilation of the overall programme and the broadcast uploads. Helen also voiced the whole show, adding voice over commentary and anchor voice parts to the final edit, once Mediapack’s packages had been incorporated into the main show templates.

‘Go Canoe!’ is an excellent example of the opportunities available to sports organisations to achieve mainstream TV coverage.  By combining competition coverage with magazine packages to give the audience a far broader experience of the sport, it’s possible both to entertain existing fans and engage with new audiences, who may be discovering the sport for the first time.

The magazine packages offer an opportunity to entertain, present back stories and show the human side of competition. They enable the viewer to meet new athletes and to learn about the sport in a relaxed way that doesn’t require an understanding of the rules of the game. This more complete entertainment experience is also far more appealing to broadcasters than simply coverage of the competition itself, increasing the potential for the show to be picked up.

The same principle can also apply to any genre or organisation. Mediapack’s experience in the field of ‘factual entertainment’ means that even the most niche subject can become an engaging piece, using documentary techniques and a magazine show format. It’s all about identifying the subject matter and the people that can feature.

Helping organisations realise the opportunities to engage with mainstream TV and other media is a key part of the Mediapack service. We work with them to develop material that can provide broadcasters or media websites with valuable, entertaining content and this activity sits comfortably alongside their existing social output.  TV and social channels consume content at an incredible rate and there is a constant need for fresh, interesting material. At Mediapack we’re working to bridge that gap between organisations and the mainstream media, so that they can reach larger, broader audiences.

The rewards of giving awards

It’s that time of year again, when many organisations are planning an end of year celebration of some kind. Perhaps it’s a formal Awards Evening, perhaps its an annual gala dinner, perhaps it’s just a Christmas party. Whatever the format, often there’s a ‘reward’ component and it’s a unique opportunity to boost moral and stimulate a sense of pride in the organisation.

Obviously with an Awards Evening, rewarding success, commitment or long service is key to the whole event but with other types of celebration or gathering, the addition of a special moment to celebrate an individual or team is just as valuable and can be the single aspect guests remember or cherish the most.

Whenever you’re celebrating achievement in this way, creating rich content to support it and frame the presentation can make a huge impact. Whenever there’s an Awards Evening on television for instance, from Sports Personality to The Oscars, video previews of the nominees is a fundamental component and they really make the event.  Often, recapping on the activity that led to the award nomination is far more engaging and entertaining than any live interview with the nominee.

It is an opportunity to tell the story behind the achievement, to paint a picture in the minds of those watching, to cause an emotional response to the moment. It allows you to take a simple case of hard work and perseverance and turn it into something far more empowering. In this respect, it’s a unique opportunity to influence thinking and to make people feel proud of the organisation they’re a part of.

But, all too often, these moments pass with just a fleeting speech by someone in a senior position and the presentation of a plaque or gift. Awards Evenings for instance often feature more PowerPoint slides than a board meeting and supporting imagery can seem rather formal or corporate, which contrasts with the human response to the subject matter – that of celebration and emotion.

It doesn’t have to be like this and it also doesn’t take a huge investment in time or budget to turn any presentation into a moment that all present will remember for a very long time. The key is to consider this a moment of theatre and to structure the presentation accordingly.

If it is a single presentation being made at a gala dinner or Christmas party for instance, making a big impact is easier to achieve than for an Awards Evening because it’s just a single moment in the whole evening but it should be the stand out moment, otherwise why are you including it in the event?

For an Awards Evening, making each individual presentation distinctive may not be desirable – all winners deserve the same adulation – but by using rich content to reveal the story behind the person, each component will be unique and distinct because everyone’s story will be different.

Producing rich content to accompany a special moment at an event or for an awards evening is a really worthwhile investment. For an individual presentation, the person receiving the award will be made up that you went to the trouble of telling their story in this way and they will then share their experience and their pride at being associated with such a fantastic organisation.

For an Awards Evening, the addition of video profiles of nominees or award recipients wins for your organisation on two fronts. Firstly it makes the whole evening far more entertaining and engaging than it might otherwise have been and secondly, for the winners themselves, it makes the moment and their achievement all the more powerful. It also shows that your organisation is caring and values its people – that it would go to the trouble of turning them into stars for a moment.

Rich content can come in all sorts of different formats from video profiles or funny photo montages with captions to the spoken word supported by on screen text. The possibilities are endless.  There are ‘Title Sequence’ videos to open proceedings, ‘Year in Review’ videos, Nomimee or Winner Profiles, video messages from absent special guests or important people, video ‘stings’ to punctuate the schedule. The only guiding factor is that whatever you do, it should generate a reaction – emotion, pride, sadness, joy – whatever the scenario, the ‘package’ (as we call it in the business) should reflect the occasion and tap into the emotion of the moment.

The other key aspect that is often overlooked when organisations consider the affordability of moving to rich content from, perhaps, simple PowerPoint slides, is the role content can play after the event. Video profiles of winners for instance can be shared with local broadcasters (if they are professionally produced) and this could mean the opportunity of having a brief mention of your event on your local news programme, especially if you have footage of the event as well – a valuable piece of exposure.

The video packages themselves can also be placed on your own social media channels (here’s one we made earlier), drawing views from friends and family of those attending and winning, who can become new followers, supporters and advocates of your brand. These posts can be reused as well in prelude to the following year’s event and if a particular award is sponsored then the supporting brand or sponsor will also share the content with their followers, again bringing new support to your event or organisation.

With the impact of the content you produce going far beyond the event itself, your investment in it (it’s an investment not a cost) can really pay dividends.

Our live production packages can cover everything from a single video to multiple video packages, enhanced presentation slide design, music and production sound tracks and even live choreography of presenters and contributors. Whatever you want to achieve with your Awards Evening or presentation event, we can guide you and help you make it a reality. Contact us for a no commitment chat to see how we might be able to help.