We’ve recently had a great time running the pre-show PR and press office functions for two top-notch trade shows at London’s Excel. We found some fantastic stories, had some great journalist briefings and cooked up social media traction through the speaker programmes.
But it could all have been so much better. Why? Because extracting information from exhibitors is almost as hard as looking for unicorns under a full moon.
Engaging with the show’s PR function would seem like a no-brainer but so many exhibitors ignore the opportunities – maybe once they’ve signed up they think that’s the box ticked.
Most of these opportunities are free, require little time to fulfil and will really help to drive traffic to your stand/booth at the show. If you’ve paid for the space, come up with a great stand design and take sales people off the road for a few days. Here are Leapfrog’s tips for making the most of your trade show PR.
1. Make sure the right contact is on the booking form under marketing and PR, often it’s not the same person that booked the stand.
2. Plan your PR strategies in the run up to the show and you’ll be in pole position for preview coverage and briefings. If you are launching a new product, publishing a report, have a celeb/VIP on the stand or have a show-specific special offer or promotion, make sure your digital comms are aligned with the show PR strategy that is driving visitors to see you.
3.Pick up on the opportunities offered by the show– can you offer a speaker? Take part in a debate? Offer your stand as a stop on a curated tour? Make sure you also take up all opportunities in the Show Guide and online profiles.
4.What networking can you take part in at the show? Most shows offer hosted breakfasts for exhibitors – business can often be done amongst exhibitors as well as with visitors.
5.Make sure you have a specific PR plan for the show– identify which journalists you want to talk to and book one to one briefings with them well in advance as they will be very busy.
6.Track trade media previews for the show and make sure you get your news in in good time to secure a spot – these can appear a couple of months before the show, so with 6-8 week deadlines ahead of that you need to be ready with the information 16 weeks ahead!
7.Respond to shout-outs from the show for copy and stories – they will be working hard to place material in the run up to the show and you will maximise your presence by supporting these activities.
8.Have a press pack to hand at the show – on a stick – so if a journalist comes by you can readily let them have the information they need. No need for physical packs and no, a brochure is not a press pack!
9.Get social– engage with the show’s own social feeds and they will respond – amplifying your reach. Follow all the relevant journals and journalists too as they will be making live feeds from the show. On the day, target visitors with relevant tweets using specific keywords and hashtags.
10.Think about live streaming– if you are having demos on your stand these can be great feeds, interview your CEO on stand, interview key customers and your own experts. But if you do live feed, make sure you promote your activity first, before and during the show – or you will be streaming to nothing!