Trade shows are excellent ways for companies to interact with the industry press. Maximizing PR initiatives during a trade show is a low-cost solution to gain positive media coverage. Frequently the press will walk these trade show floors and mingle with brands with the intention of writing a story (or multiple). This is the time when brand’s get to set themselves apart from others with reporters.
What makes a company distinct from others? Is it a new product or service? An area of expertise? These are the important questions companies need to be engaging with to set their booth (and overall brand) apart with key differentiator messages when connecting with reporters. The press is hungry for strong first impressions; they want to be captured and allured by a company’s presence. Trade shows often drive competitors into the same room for a week, which heightens exhibitor’s needs to express their unique personality and flare. Once a company makes its presence known, the media will be hungry for more and launch more opportunities for conversation and publicity.
Be Cutting Edge
The media values innovation and a pioneer spirit. This naturally draws in consumers as well, but when talking PR it is crucial to be cutting edge. For example, providing an exclusive demo of a new product or a reinvented product is an easy way to attract a crowd. Demonstrations can help to explain the service or product in greater detail than an advertisement otherwise would. We recommend reaching out to media weeks in advance of the event and offering an exclusive demo during show hours, or even after show hours, to allow them an opportunity to have focused engagement with the company as well as experience the new product or services first-hand.
Following most trade shows, networking events pop-up that allow for a casual interaction between companies and the press, and customers as well. This sort of event provides an opportunity for companies to gain an objective opinion of the industry and discover any competition that may be rising. Taking advantage of these events creates a more personal relationship with the press, allowing companies to ask questions. Ask the press what their best part of the trade show was or what products most impressed them. Ask them what sort of exhibits drew them in, and what didn’t. This sort of information cannot be matched and is invaluable to companies seeking to enhance their exhibits in the future.
Host a Hospitality Suite
Hospitality goes a long way in events like these. Providing a more comfortable, warm atmosphere is assured to draw people in and cultivate conversation. Host a hospitality suite as an evening event following a trade show. These suites can be located in hotels or restaurants located near the exhibit hall, and are an excellent way to dialogue with clients, potential clients, and media in a low-pressure environment. Serve hors d'oeuvres, beverages, or a meal - whatever it takes to woo a client. Offer promotional discounts, special treatments of sorts, and one-on-one consultations. Companies should extend the invitation to any and all individuals they have a desire to engage with during the event: clients and leads, specific reporters or media outlets, etc. Schedule and invite guests weeks in advance to ensure they put it in their calendars and work it into their travel itinerary. Creating tangible invitations to this exclusive event speaks value and importance to the recipients - they will feel they are a priority to the company.
Taking a few simple, extra steps to maximize the PR of a trade show event is truly an invaluable tool in the hands of a company. Trade shows are already such incredible opportunities for marketing, but why not make the event even more successful?