By Robert Sheldon, APR
Public Relations Director, Creative Communications Consultants, Inc.
(cross posted from PRSA San Antonio Byline)
If you have a client or employer who exhibits at trade shows, chances are they spend a lot of money on booth space rental, transportation, travel, booth graphics – not to mention labor. Good public relations planning and execution can help multiply the results from this costly effort. Here are ten steps for better results:
1. Build excitement among attendees with pre-show publicity. In the months leading up to the show, announce what must-see new products will be at the show or describe demonstrations or activities at the booth. The objective is to build traffic from potential customers/attendees.
2. Make a list of all the possible magazine or Web editors who follow your client’s/employer’s industry and call them to see if they will be attending. Don’t just do an e-mail blast. If they’re coming, invite them to stop by the booth at a specific time for one-on-one meetings with company representatives or to preview new products. Follow-up by e-mail to confirm the appointments.
3. If the trade show has a tabloid-style “show daily” publication, contact the editor well in advance to place key news releases or even feature stories involving your client/employer. These are well-read by trade show attendees and help to build booth traffic.
4. If the trade show has a conference in addition to the show, encourage your client/employer to be a presenter on his/her area of expertise. You’ll need to start early, however, as presenters are chosen months in advance.
5. If warranted, prepare a press kit with news releases on the new products being introduced at the show and any relevant features. Provide a CD with documents and high-resolution photos in the kit; or list an ftp download site if you have one. When an editor visits, walk through the press kit to highlight your main messages.
6. If the show has a “press room,” be sure to keep it stocked with additional press kits.
7. Schedule a press conference only if you have “earth-shattering news” that is likely to prompt significant interest from the trade media. When in doubt, don’t waste editors’ time.
8. Immediately after the show, send out personalized thank-you notes to every editor who stopped by the booth. Reiterate the main points you wanted them to take away from the show.
9. Send the press kit to all remaining editors on your original call list who didn’t attend the show but follow the industry.
10. If you discussed future articles ideas with editors, follow-up by phone about a week later to see if they still want to pursue them.
Finally, track your publicity efforts with key publications in the following weeks and report the results – because you will get them!