Trade Shows: Help! I’m here with 800 other Exhibiters and need attention!

Getting Trade media to pay attention to you and your product at a show where there are hundreds of exhibit booths and dozens of competitors is daunting, to say the least. 

trade showsIf you’re not a newcomer to exhibiting at trade shows, the lessons to be learned should already have been learned and now your “pay attention to me” stuff just needs modifying and magnifying.

Getting media attention is a major effort.  It can wear you out if you’re not prepared, in advance, to re-visit steps and put most of your efforts into pre-show groundwork.  Boy Scout oath.  You know the drill.

In the meantime, here are ten suggestions for attracting and utilizing media to get awareness and results from your media-attracting efforts at trade shows.

  1. Is your product/service announcement really, truly newsworthy?  What’s so special about you that makes this show important for you and the media to pay attention and seek you out?  The announcement needs to be special and valuable.
  2. Is your “Press Room” on your Website up to date and well stocked?
  3. Create a special site or separate page on your website that’s mobile-device-friendly.  Especially pay attention that media can download information quickly.  Make certain everything you put on that site or page is everything they ever wanted to know about you and why you think this particular show is important to your pursuing your objectives.  Spend a barrel of ink (digital that is) on seeing to it that the URL is everywhere on your materials, along with your cell number and email address.
  4. Have a separate business card designed that features the show name, your exhibit booth number, your cell number and even the hotel where you’re staying as your temporary address.
  5. Make arrangements with the trade shows to sponsor an event, making certain your company logo will be plastered everywhere, including their pre-show materials.  Have the show provide you with an updated list of attending media and bombard them with advance info and an invitation to the event.
  6. A week or ten days ahead of the show, send out one of several news releases you’ll be composing to let the media know just what you intend to announce at the show.  Even if it’s just that your chairman will be in the booth.  But you’ll certainly have something of importance to announce.  You better.  Your competitors will if you don’t.  Make sure this release, and any others you generate before or during the show are on both your corporate website’s “Press Room” section and the special one you created just for the show.
  7. Make arrangements in advance with the show organizers to have dozens of your media kits stacked at the show’s media center.  Obviously, your specially designed business card will be prominently displayed in the kit.
  8. For your special product unveiling, or other major newsworthy event at the show, go ahead and call a news conference one morning during the show when there doesn’t appear to be essential or significant competitive seminars or workshops that would otherwise be drawing the press away.  You also need to be careful to wisely schedule your news conference so as not to interfere with an important event on the show schedule. Follow-up your invitation to the news conference with at least one phone call reminder and the specific request, “Can I count on you being there?”
  9. Consider holding a special “Press Night Out” by special invitation that could include a dinner, a visit to a theatre or museum, to an NBA or MLB game.  Yeah – expensive for sure.  But always appreciated and usually well-attended.  Don’t sell those attending anything.  Just have them enjoy your hospitality and generosity.  Will they shy away because of journalistic ethics?  Some might.  Most will attend.  It’s a trade show.  You can cherry-pick names on the main media list to get yourself within budget projections.
  10. While at the show, troll the hallways and check for media badges in seminars and workshops.  They’re almost always a different color than everyone else’s.

With proper preparation, your nabbing of lots of media attention can be not only productive, but fun.  Hey, they’re trade shows.  And likely in a nifty city with lots of special places to see and great restaurants to enjoy.  So do it.  Enjoy, and be successful.

by Neil Kuvin

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