How To Maximize A Trade Show For Media Coverage

Trade shows provide an excellent opportunity to reach decision makers and buyers regardless of if your targets are businesses or consumers.  Recent studies show that most buyers and decision makers reach a decision on a product or service based upon the trade show exhibit they viewed.  For many companies, especially smaller ones, a major industry trade show like Toy Fair, The National Hardware Show, Consumer Electronics Show, Comic Con, or National Restaurant Show can consume their entire marketing and public relations budget.  Often these shows are make or break opportunities for companies to not just generate sales but also media exposure.  For some of these companies, these trade shows provide the only opportunity they will have to get the media’s attention.

These shows attract thousands of journalists looking for what is new and innovative.  The trades shows provide an opportunity for journalists to notice trends and get a sense of what is changing and is new in an industry.  That allows them to form trend stories throughout the year and not just during the show.   This type of media buzz can keep a company in-front of the public throughout the year.

Here are some tips on how to do so to ensure that media connections and buzz you received during the show continues throughout the year.

  1. Prior to the show.
    1. Offer targeted top-line information.
    2. Tie-in with social, cultural, and business trends in the news.
    3. Tie-in to popular television shows and movies.
    4. Tie-in to popular apps and videos.
    5. Provide easy to read and targeted press materials.
    6. Utilize social media.
    7. Invite all accredited media to the show to your booth. (The trade shows provide exhibitors with the media lists that include contact information prior to the show).
    8. Do press releases announcing that you will be at the show, what you are exhibiting, why it is innovative, and of course your booth number.
  1. During the show.
    1. Keep in contact with targeted journalists on social media.
    2. Make every journalist who stops by your booth feel welcome.
    3. Have spokespeople readily available.
    4. Consider “special touches” for media.
    5. Offer candy, snacks or bottled water.
    6. Host a special event targeting specific journalists or bloggers (an in-booth cupcakes and coffee ‘happy hour,’ post-show ‘cocktail hour,’ blogger’s breakfast, etc.).
  1. When talking to media during the show.
    1. Plan Your Strategy Pick select items that your company will be promoting during the show (more important for people with large product lines).
    2. Develop Key Talking Points.
    3. Work on Delivery
      1. Quick and concise
      2. Train all company representatives.
  1. Research what garnered media coverage for your company or other similar companies in past years at the show and use it as a model to create your plan.
  1. After the show.
    1. Follow up with all media contacts via email with a personal connection that stuck out with your meeting.
    2. Keep them updated on new products.
    3. Contact them when you might fit into a story that is current in the news within your industry.

Following these simple tips will help to ensure that your trade show experience pays dividends throughout the year with media coverage.  That way the show serves both a marketing objective in reaching buyers at the show and a public relations objective in creating continued buzz.