The #1 Underutilized PR Opportunity: Trade Shows

by mike freeman on 7 July 2016

Getting earned media coverage is hard work. First, you have to identify the right media outlets for your news. Then, you have to research the reporters, editors and producers at those outlets who cover your particular industry, as well as how they prefer to receive information. Finally, you have to reach out to these people and hope they’ll be open to listening to your story.

At least, that’s how it works most of the time. There are a few magical occasions each year when getting the attention of the media is a whole lot easier. They’re called trade shows.

Trade shows are magnets for media because they’re where industries gather to showcase their latest and best – all in one place. Because the media are so attuned to using trade shows to gather information, there’s no single time where they’re going to be more open to your news. Here are four ways to effectively turn trade shows into publicity generating moments.

#1: Reach out to the show organizers well in advance and request a media list

Most trade shows invite the press to attend and provide credentials for those who do. They often keep a running list of confirmed media attendees on the trade show’s website. Look for it 4-6 weeks in advance and, if you can’t find it, ask the show organizer for a list.

#2: Send a short email to all of the media on the list at least 2 weeks in advance announcing what your company will be showcasing at the show (new products, etc.) and requesting a booth interview.

Many companies think the only way to get media attention at a trade show is to have a full-blown press conference. Not true. Remember: media are in information-gathering mode at trade shows, and that means they’re interested in both big product splashes and updates and insights from smaller players. If you have something new, innovative or interesting to share, they’ll want to hear about it.

#3: If media don’t respond to your email, don’t freak out, follow up with a phone call or two.

The squeaky wheel in these cases almost always gets the grease. Don’t be shy. Remember, you have something important to share with the media.

#4: Have a press release and product images (optimally on a thumb drive) available for your interview.

The media likes information at their fingertips. Don’t expect them to take copious notes standing in your trade show booth. Offer them a well-written press release with photos of your products (in .jpeg format, 300dpi or higher) when they arrive. They’ll appreciate it and be more likely to remember you when they’re writing articles later.