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Anecdotally Adam: Leveraging Public Relations for Trade Shows


With the unofficial end of summer quickly approaching, many of us will soon be boarding planes to Las Vegas, Orlando and other trade show hotspots.  While many view trade shows as an opportunity to network with peers and set up sales meetings, they also offer other avenues to get your company and product information to a mass audience.  Many trade show exhibitors and attendees often overlook the inherent value of public relations at trade shows.

eWeek’s Chris Preimesberger chats with Instor’s Jack Vonich, client of Milldam, at the 2016 Technology Convergence Conference.

In addition to presenting valuable opportunities to arrange briefings with industry-specific publications, trade shows also provide an opportunity to highlight the thought leadership that your company has achieved over the last year.

Below are some of the key activities that you should prioritize to help ensure that publicity opportunities are being maximized at trade shows:

  • Obtain the trade show press list – Just about every trade show has a list of registered press attending the event. If you’re unable to get a copy of the press list, your PR firm should be able to help you obtain it.
  • Schedule press briefings during the show – Once you have the press list in hand, it’s time to start scheduling press briefings with the media outlets that are important to your business and clients. When pitching your company or product, it’s not enough to simply email the reporter about a meeting.  You need to make sure that the reporter’s beat is relevant to your company or product and devise a compelling pitch.  Reporters like exclusive news items and information that is fresh, not recycled or stale pitches.  Reading some of a reporter’s past articles is a good way to research whether their beat is relevant to your pitch.  It’s also something that your PR firm should be able to help you with.
  • Issue a press release – Are you showcasing a new product or speaking at the trade show? If so, consider issuing a press release.  Not only will this get you additional attention outside of the event, but there are usually a number of resources within the trade show that can help get your news in front of the attendees.  Most shows have a press coordinator; utilize them to ensure that you’re getting the most mileage out of your release.
  • Take your thought leadership with you – Have you or someone at your company been published within the last year? Whether it’s a byline, white paper or case study, I can’t count the number of times where I’ve  seen companies spend a lot of effort and money on creating a new asset……only to have it sit on their website with no distribution strategy.  With all of the potential customers circulating around a trade show, thought leadership pieces should be front and center at your booth.  Not only do these papers provide additional insight into your company’s products and services, they also provide a level of credibility, especially if they’re published by a third party.

In addition to getting your product or company featured on the pages of various trade publications, engaging the media at trade shows helps you and your company establish long-term relationships with the press that covers your sector.  Additionally, this relationship building will often open up additional opportunities, such as being part of a large feature story that ties into your company’s offerings or a byline that positions experts in your company as thought leaders.

Ultimately, proper utilization of trade show media will further bolster your company’s credibility to potential customers and other stakeholders. Experienced exhibitors will always have a three-part strategy for their trade show attendance: networking, sales, and press (not necessarily in that order).

Adam Waitkunas authors the column “Anecdotally Adam” and is President of Milldam Public Relations.