Trade shows like Toy Fair and BookExpo are great places to meet buyers and also gain public exposure through media coverage. News stories that come out of a trade show can make a company’s entire year. Many smaller sized or new companies put most of their public relations and marketing budget into a major trade show. Media coverage from a trade show can make or break a company. For a new company or product, it can put them on the road of success. Lack of coverage can often mean the end of a start-up company that was banking on media coverage and spent all of their public relations and marketing budget on the tradeshow.
Here are six tips for trade shows to help you be successful in getting media coverage to make it worthwhile:
- Don’t cheap out. You’ve already spent tens of thousands (or millions) on your exhibit. Spend a few extra bucks and bring a public relations professional. Your sales team is there to meet buyers, partners and to sell, not handle media walk-bys, demos, interviews, social media posts and press room activities.
- Stick to your schedule. Reporters hate it when you decide to cancel or reschedule an interview at the last minute. They’ve already booked other appointments and you’ll risk losing the story. Don’t throw a hand grenade into a schedule that your PR team has spent weeks finalizing. Having a PR pro on-site will solve the inevitable sales meeting or customer drop-by conflicts that pop up.
- BYO. Don’t rely on the show’s registered media list; qualify and build your own. Show media lists are notoriously out of date and often incomplete because many Tier 1 media simply don’t pre-register. They decide to attend last-minute. Advance media calls, confirmations the week of the show and reconfirmations during the show will ensure you connect with the right reporters.
- Help media cut through the clutter. We’ve landed major national news stories by offering producers and reporters the opportunity to walk the show floor with a client who really ‘gets’ the category and can offer sound data, insights and opinions on what’s hot – and what’s not. Most trade shows are overwhelming, and the 24/7 news cycle makes them even more unmanageable for skinnied up editorial staffs.
- Brand the press room. If you’re spending a small fortune on an exhibit, why neglect the place where most media gather even if they skip your booth? There are 1001 smart and not always costly ideas for establishing a branded presence in a press room – from supplying a masseur to massage tired feet to sponsoring coffee breaks, note pads or back packs.
- Stock the press room. Don’t count on media to find you. Even if it’s just a humble jump drive, make sure your latest product info is available in the press room. No matter how old-fashioned it sounds – media still congregate in ‘their’ area to talk, post stories and get re-caffeinated, and they will scout out available materials. Even if they missed you on the show floor, there’s a good chance you can get your message in front of them.
Remember just as you plan every detail of your booth at a trade show, so should you plan your media strategy for the show. Indeed the media coverage may at times be more important than how the booth looked.