Fall is in the air … For most people that means pumpkins, leaves changing, oodles of candy, and seasonal lattes, but for many brands this is trade show season!
In terms of media relations, trade show PR is a slightly different breed. Trade shows offer a fabulous opportunity to create face-to-face introductions for your client with key members of the media. For the savvy PR pro, this is an opportunity to foster new connections with the media and to springboard long-lasting relationships.
When I worked with food brands especially, I could not wait until the registered media lists hit my inbox from the trade show organizers. Those lists would be chock full of journalists who I wanted to know and who I wanted to know about my clients.
However, with great contacts, comes great responsibility. Below are four tips to have trade show success for your clients and foster new media relationships along the way.
Trade Show PR: No Spammers Please
When I received the media list for one of my trade shows this year, I was startled to see a note from the organizer requesting that PR reps only contact the journalists once this year. The email explained that the show had a big problem last year with PR people spamming journalists!
I completely understand the pressure to secure interviews at trade shows for your clients, however, spamming the list is not the answer. Just because a member of the media is attending the show, doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she should meet with your client.
Review the list with the same set of eyes you use to research outlets to pitch that client any other day. If the publication and the contact is a fit for your client, then by all means, send them that targeted and researched pitch. If not, please don’t hit send.
Set Client Expectations
Trade shows, especially ones that are across the country or across the world from your client, are expensive and time-consuming endeavors. Brands attend the shows where they see the greatest ROI. It is your job to contribute to that ROI by setting up in-person interviews at, before, or after the show to build long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. These are great opportunities to make a connection, but most interviews will probably not translate into a published article immediately following the show.
Big unveils and new technology will make the show wrap up articles, but the real golden nugget will be in the relationship that has been started. Not only does the member of the media now know your client and their range of expertise, but they have a face to the name and will be more likely to think of your client when they need quick source on that topic. Manage that client expectation before the show.
Capitalize on Social
Don’t forget about social media! Sometimes you can get so wrapped up setting interview dates, times, locations, it can be easy to overlook social media. Prior to the show, research the applicable media contacts, find out on which networks they’re active and engage. During the show, share content, photos, video and other information that’s happening at your client’s booth.
Follow up with Tact
Phew the show is over, but your job is just beginning. Touch base and thank the media who interviewed your client during the show, offer additional resources, etc. For the ones who couldn’t make it, shoot them a note and offer to set up a post show interview. (Again, this is not a time to spam the registered media list.) Build and foster your newly formed contacts into long-lasting relationships!
Does you attend trade shows? Any tips to share? Share in the comments below …