Creating Publicity Buzz at Trade Shows

When you think of publicity, trade shows might not be the first thing that pops into your mind, but they’re a great place to generate buzz and awareness for your company. Trade shows attract media and industry VIPs like honey attracts flies. If it’s a major show, important writers, editors, and reporters will be swarming the show floor looking for news. Here are four tips for helping them find it and generating publicity for your company:

 

Set Goals.

Even before you pack your suitcase, know what you hope to accomplish in your interviews. It’s not enough to brief media about your company, executives and offerings. You need to have something newsworthy. Remember… at major shows there are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies targeting the same media, so make sure your company stands out in the crowd by having solid news that reporters will care about. And make sure you bring your media kit with appropriate press releases, case studies, references, white papers and photos.

 

Get Press/Analyst List

Once you’ve set your goals and determined what will be in your press kit, start contacting trade show management at least 5 to 6 weeks in advance. In most cases, they’ll have a list of pre-registered media and analysts. Sometimes the list is only available to exhibitors, but even if you don’t plan to exhibit, it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you run into a dead-end, contact the major trade publications in your industry to find out who will be covering the show. If it’s a major show, you can be sure they’ll be there.

 

Identify Media/Vendor Support.

While honing the media list and planning your approach, determine what type of media/vendor support is available before, during and after the show. Trade show management is used to catering to media and making sure vendors are successful at getting their news out, so find out what amenities are available to you—it just might make your job easier.

 

Set Meetings

Once you have the pre-registered list (or have developed one by contacting the appropriate media) and you know the media/vendor support structure, contact the individuals to secure a meeting by offering compelling news pitches and interviews with your corporate experts who are attending the show. Be sure to let journalists know if you’re exhibiting or introducing new products by sending them a tip sheet several weeks in advance of the event.

 

One final note: while working to secure appointments for show, don’t forget coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner are opportune meeting times. Many media enjoy the opportunity to have someone to share a meal with at tradeshows. Smaller publications might only send one reporter to the show, so your offer of meal-time companionship might be a welcome invitation!