Example of trade show

Trade Show PR: How to Make the Most of Your Floor Time

Whatever industry you’re in, there’ll be at least one annual conference, trade show or convention that brings together the biggest names and brightest minds. Ever considered exhibiting at yours? If not, it’s worth looking into, as events like these are fantastic opportunities to grow your business. Think about it: when else will you be in a position to mingle with a room full of customers, prospects and industry influencers?

Not only are trade shows great places to generate leads and meet influential people in your industry, they also offer golden PR opportunities. Any trade show worth its salt will be covered by reporters and bloggers from key industry publications. If you can get on their radar, it could be the start of a beautiful relationship and get you some great PR to boot.

So, how you can make the most of the PR opportunities at your next industry trade show? Here are some top tips:

1. Get a media list

Your prep will begin weeks before the show. Get hold of the press list as soon as it becomes available and start making calls. Yours won’t be the only business looking for media coverage at the show and reporters’ schedules fill up well in advance. So make it a priority to get some appointments booked.

If there’s no media list, create your own. Do some research to find out which journalists covered last year’s show. The same reporters will probably be covering this one.

2. Say something newsworthy

Editors and reporters attend trade shows primarily to report the ‘news’ from the show. So give them something newsworthy to report. Do you have a ground-breaking new product or service coming to market? Has your company achieved a significant milestone? If so, make the announcement at the show.

But a word of advice: If you do make an announcement, make sure it’s relevant to the audience. If the show attracts CMOs and marketing types, don’t issue news that’s highly technical in nature and more suited for IT professionals. You won’t get the coverage from on-site media and you’ll be setting your PR activity up for failure.

3. Make your booth stand out

If you don’t have a special announcement to make, stand out from the other vendors with an attention-grabbing booth instead. If it’s clever and on-brand, you may well get featured in journalists’ news round-ups. This is exactly what happened for American based collaboration software company ‘Central Desktop’ at San Francisco’s ad:tech conference in 2012.

Picture the scene: A scruffy, middle-aged man is dressed as a baby angel, with a lyre in one hand and a cigar in the other. As you walk past him, he yells, waves and invites you to join him on his bed of clouds.

As surreal and wacky as it sounds, this was the concept behind one of the most talked about trade show booths to date. The ‘man-angel’ was a member of staff from Central Desktop; a company that enables businesses to centralise their work in the Cloud.

Central Desktop’s scruffy angel not only grabbed the attention of prospects and press, he also conveyed the company’s unique value in a playful, eye-catching way. Angels. Clouds. Get it?

4. Invite the media to special events

Journalists like to be wined and dined as much as the next person. So, why not hold a drinks reception for them on your stand, or get your key executives to take them out for lunch? It’s a great way to build relationships in an informal setting. And don’t forget to invite them to any trade show events you’re involved with, such as panel discussions or seminars.

5. Follow Up

Even if you’ve talked to someone from the media, don’t assume they’re going to cover, or even mention you or your company. Be sure to follow up soon after the event and reiterate that you’d like to be a source if they need someone to speak about the event, or anything else related to your industry.

Getting it right

If you do trade shows right, they can bring an abundance of PR joy, and win you a load of new clients.  To maximise the opportunities available at your next industry conference, give PR Superstar a call on 020 8274 0807.


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