One of the core benefits of participating in conferences and trade shows is that you may secure some form of press coverage that can unearth new opportunities for your brand.
With hundreds of other exhibitors all clamouring for the same media attention, how do you give yourself the best chance of getting selected by the attending press?
1. Start early. Reporters are extremely busy at the show – and most trade shows — and welcome the chance to complete as much as possible beforehand. Trade shows release a list of their media attendees to exhibitors a month or more in advance of the show. Start contacting media when the list appears, or even before it’s released if possible. Most journalists are open to receiving demos and announcements in advance of the show and are usually good at honoring non-disclosure agreements and embargo times. Pre-briefing media frees your time for other meetings at the show and enables reporters to post their articles as soon the news breaks.
2. Seek early meetings. Try to schedule media interviews and meetings early in the day. You/your spokesperson and reporters will be less likely to be delayed or miss the meeting entirely. Meetings at the end of the day are the most likely to be cancelled, delayed or rescheduled because of delays throughout the day.
3. Meet early in the week. Interviews held early in the week are more likely to achieve early show coverage. “As the week goes on, people (including the media) get burnt out and conversations can get lost,” states Kathleen Fusco, director at Zer0 to 5ive. Briefing your target media prior to the show and early on during the show will ensure strong communication of your message to make certain that it is not lost in the other buzz.
4. Pitch to the local media. Local media publish major news but may not attend the show. However, they may be interested in a company exhibiting at the event that has a local angle. A pitch may secure their interest and generate coverage. Attendees often access local media, especially broadcast, while attending the show.
5. Seek video coverage. More media websites augment their content with video. Earmark time on you/your spokesperson’s calendar and try to arrange a video appearance. In addition, watch for roving video crews while you man your booth. Have a show floor pitch prepared for them in advance.
6. Avoid gimmicks. Everyone attends the convention to get work done. Individuals’ schedules are packed. Attendees are too busy for games. Scavenger hunts, strategically placed QR codes, contests and giant character suits may sound like good ideas during planning stages. However, they are not likely to win media coverage.
7. Find their photos. After you schedule interviews with journalists, visit LinkedIn or their company websites to learn what reporters look like. This will help you avoid examining conference badges of everyone who walks by. Even if photos are outdated, they should provide a general idea of what they look like.
8. Catch attention. Provide something at your booth that will capture attention and prompt visitors to take a photo. A busy booth or a unique attraction can attract the media’s attention.
9. Be well rested. Attending trade shows is exhausting. Staying well-rested, well-hydrated, well-nourished, and avoiding late night gambling will help ensure that you are alert and focused throughout the day.
10. Bottom Line: Trade shows offer major opportunities for PR coups. Capitalizing on those opportunities requires advance work, leg work, good pitches and, sometimes, even working round the clock to secure top-tier placements.
(10 Lessons sources from Cyber Alert blog)