It’s Tradeshow Season – Get Your PR Effort Ready!

World of Concrete...The Rental ShowConExpo-Con/Agg…if you’re a marketer in the construction industry, you know that the first quarter of the year is always busy — it’s tradeshow season! It’s the best explanation I can give you why Todd and I have been tardy getting blog posts for you written and posted. We’re lucky we sit still long enough most days to eat lunch. Our apologies for not keeping on task and sharing our endeavors with you. We promise to resume our normal posting schedule as soon as possible. Cross our hearts.

Now, back to the topic at hand: Getting your PR effort ready for tradeshows.

Tradeshows offer us a unique opportunity to boast about our company’s latest and greatest products and services to the media — in person. To make sure your meetings with editors and other media reps will be successful, you need to start planning your PR efforts now.

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. Here are some tips to think about when you’re putting your company’s together…

Developing a Press Kit

A great way for you to promote your company’s latest news and product advancements at a trade show is with a press kit. Here are a few tips about what to include in your company’s press kit:

Press releases — only include information on new or recently released products and announcements.

  • Include contact information and the release date on the announcement.
  • Target the message of the release to your primary audience.
  • Keep your releases as short and concise as possible, including a full description of your product.
  • Avoid developing releases that sound too much like advertisements, mention competitive manufacturers or make false claims.
  • The media greatly appreciates receiving electronic copies of the press releases, as well as the hard-copy versions, in your press kit.

Booth number — this will make it easier for editors to find your company.

Quality photography — if you want to increase the chances of getting press coverage, include photos of your products in your press kit. Digital photos saved to a CD are the best format for trade publications. Photos should be saved as JPGs for online use.

A folder to hold the contents — you can use a company pocket folder, envelope or a CD to keep all of your information together in one place.

  • Remember, the editors attending a trade show receive press kits from many different companies, so it’s a good idea to avoid bulky kits that will be awkward to carry home in their luggage.

Most trade shows have a dedicated press room with a designated area for editors to pick up exhibitors’ press kits — if the trade show you are attending has a press room, be sure to leave your kits with the press room attendant to make sure your company’s information gets in front of industry editors!

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…

Press Conferences

Press conferences are a good option if you have newsworthy information to share with industry media, such as a new product introduction, market expansions, new employees or a tie-in to a current event, like disaster relief efforts. Editors are interested in covering news that has value to the industry at large and will come to your press event with high expectations of learning new information during your presentation. So, if you have a big announcement to make, a trade show is the place to do it!

The format of your press conference largely depends on the content you plan to share with the media. A traditional format includes a brief presentation from one or two key people within your company, possibly your CEO or CMO, followed by a Q&A with the editors. But, that is only one option; find a format that makes sense for your company.

And at the end, invite the media to stop by your booth on the trade show floor.

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.

Once you have decided to host private meetings with industry media in your booth, identify the editors attending the show that you want to meet with most. Send out a personal invitation, via email or phone, to schedule a time to visit your booth ask them what information they’d be most interested in getting from your company during their visit.

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

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 you” notes 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!