Tips on scoring media coverage at a tradeshow

Media coverage can get your business in front of thousands of people, several of whom could be potential clients, partners or financiers. As a start-up or young business however, the idea of approaching journalists for prospective press coverage is understandably daunting.

How then do you go about sparking the interests of journalists and more so that they report on the right stuff?

Well, for starters, attending a conference or showcasing at a tradeshow is a step in the right direction. Those ‘must-attend’ events in your sector are often graced by big industry names and consequently attract a host of leading media houses. Smaller conferences count too, as influential bloggers and social media personalities will be looking for the captivating content to keep their fan-base engaged and growing.

Months in advance, respond to the call for conference speakers and if you are selected to participate, your bio should tell how your organisation makes a difference to other people in a manner that will make readers want to know how. Know what is trending in your sector as journalists like trends. If you are bucking, building or disrupting a trend, even better!

A fundamental question to consider is what you want out of the media coverage as this informs who you should approach and how you should build your story. Do you want to effectively position your brand? Or do you want to draw attention to the challenges you face? Frame your pitch into a story that will resonate with your target audience.

Spend sometime researching media who will be present at the event. Request the media list from the organiser or review their media partners or see who may have covered the event in the previous year. Look up their work and make sure their reputation and audience is a right fit for you, as you are more likely to be a fit for them too. Contact them about 10 days before the event and schedule in a follow up 3 – 4 days before if need be. Instead of promoting your objectives from the start, take time to know the journalist and build rapport and later invite them to meet with you during the conference. Connect with them on social media too and ensure you are making good use of  the event hash-tag.

If you are exhibiting at a conference, have an eye-catching and well-lit booth. Additionally, have a ‘fun’ activity that draws visitors to your site. Event photographers are more likely to be drawn to your booth too. Even if you are not exhibiting, add a splash of colour to your outfit to help you stand out from the crowd. Make sure you have your picth well-prepared in the event that a journalist approaches you.

Leverage any media coverage on your blog, guest blogs and social media and use this to garner further coverage. Follow up with the journalist even if you did not get secure any press during the event. Media relationships take time to build and you never know when they will contact you for you thoughts or comments!

What media strategies have you applied in past events? Share with us!

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