Planning Media Visits at Trade Shows

PHOTO COURTESY OF GIE+EXPO

PHOTO COURTESY OF GIE+EXPO

Trade shows offer you the unique opportunity to showcase for your company’s products and service, but PR efforts at trade shows aren’t a “one size fits all.” So, the question is: What kind of PR effort is right for your company? The answer is: It depends.

Like any marketing or communications activity, you need to develop a plan for your PR efforts — state your goal and objectives, and then you can build your strategies and tactics from there. You need to know what you want to accomplish.

If your goal is get your company’s information in front of key media, then you should develop a press kit for the show. If your goal is to highlight the launch of new products and to make a special company announcement, then you should consider hosting a press conference.

But, what if your goal is simply to build relationships with the industry media, to meet key editors face-to-face and deliver your company’s message in a more personal manner? Then one-on-one appointments with media at your booth might be the right choice for you!

Media Visits

Trade shows provide the rare opportunity that your business and trade media will be in the same city, at the same time. That means it’s one of the few times that your company executives can sit down with the media and make personal connections.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GIE+EXPO

PHOTO COURTESY OF GIE+EXPO

Once you have decided to host private meetings with industry media in your booth, contact the trade show management team to get a list of media registered to attend the trade show, which will include each registrant’s contact information and preferred method of receiving pre-trade show communications. With this list, you can identify the editors that you want to meet with most. Send out a personal invitation, via email or phone, to each editor you’d like to meet with at least two weeks prior to the start of the trade show. This will allow the editors the time to include a stop by your booth in their busy schedules. It also will give you an opportunity to ask them what information they’d be most interested in getting from your company during their visit. 

After the appointment is set, follow up with an email to the editor, confirming the date and time of their appointment, as well as letting them know your company’s booth number, who they will be meeting with during their visit and who they should contact if they have any questions. Be sure to thank them for their interest in your company and let them know how pleased you are to be meeting with them at the trade show.

Although one-on-ones will be scheduled, it is inevitable that other media reps and editors will come by the booth as a private tour is in progress or without an appointment. To make sure members of the media know how important their visit is to your company, appoint someone on your staff to be the designated greeter and “tour guide” for your booth. Give this staffer the master appointment schedule and ask them to be responsible for notifying the rest of your staff of any changes to it. 

This staff member will also be responsible for introducing the media to your booth staff, identifying their particular publication and listing out what topics the editor want to discuss during their visit. Because your staff will be busy talking with customers and selling equipment during the show, this extra effort will cut down on confusion and will ensure that each and every media visit is handled positively and productively! 

After The Show

PHOTO COURTESY OF GIE+EXPO

PHOTO COURTESY OF GIE+EXPO

Whether you have hosted a press conference or a booth visit, or simply left press kits in the press room, it is important to follow up with the media after a trade show. Contact them via phone, email or handwritten note to thank them for their interest in your company and ask them if they would like to receive any follow-up information or materials from you. Thank yous go a long way in building a positive impression of your company. This will keep your company top-of-mind with these editors, and it is another chance for you to nurture your relationship with their publications.

If you’re still unsure about what kind of PR effort you should have at the next trade show, let us know — our clients have tried a lot of different approaches over the years, and we can share with you what works well and what doesn’t. Or if you have tried another approach that I haven’t talked about, please share your thoughts — we’re always looking for new ideas to try!