THINKPIECE: How to turn the next trade show you attend into a publicity bonanza for your company

Trade shows are a gold mine for story leads that sustain a journalist’s editorial calendar for months. Participating in a trade show is a ticket to extensive broadcast and print coverage for the exhibitor that knows how to work it. Here are a few tips for turning your next trade show into a publicity bonanza.

Trade shows are a gold mine for story leads that sustain a journalist’s editorial calendar for months. Participating in a trade show is a ticket to extensive broadcast and print coverage for the exhibitor that knows how to work it. Here are a few tips for turning your next trade show into a publicity bonanza.

Trade shows are a gold mine for story leads that sustain a

journalist’s editorial calendar for months. Participating in a trade

show is a ticket to extensive broadcast and print coverage for the

exhibitor that knows how to work it. Here are a few tips for turning

your next trade show into a publicity bonanza.



It’s essential to get the word out to the media weeks before the event -

you can’t rely on serendipity to place roving reporters at your

booth.



Start sending press releases early and spacing them out evenly in the

days that follow. You should also schedule on-site interviews or product

demonstrations in advance as well.



Be sure you can offer something of real ’news’ value. Target media

outlets carefully; know the focus of the publication or program and the

interests of the specific writer/producer before you call. Don’t

overlook the increasing number of Web-based publications.



In the interview, the media will want to know more than a general

overview of your plans for the next year - they’ll be interested in your

new product plans as early as possible, often before you’re ready to

issue an official press release. And they’ll want to know why it’s

important for your market.



If possible, have beta users willing to talk about their experience with

the product, or an analyst already familiar with it.



To a journalist, you have more to offer than a product. Your insight of

the market, or inside scoop on your competitors, may attract even more

interest. Reporters appreciate this sort of help and may return the

favor another time.



If you have a lot to say to lots of people, consider a press

conference.



But first ask yourself if you really need one. Alternatives include

inviting reporters to your booth for a product test or a chat with a

company spokesperson.



Build a booth and they will come, but they won’t stick around if it’s

not worth their time. For those journalists you can’t contact before the

show, make sure your booth is valuable for those roaming the floor in

search of a story. Prepare your personnel and ensure that technically

knowledgeable staff members and a representative spokesperson are

available.



Media kits are your greatest ammunition for standing out from your

rivals.



Remember to have plenty of extra kits on hand filled with recent press

releases, background material, the company profile, your booth number

and location at the show as well as a list of contact names (including

phone numbers and titles). Never put kits in envelopes either - they’ll

just end up in the trash.



Knowing how to present yourself properly at a trade show can help ensure

you get a proper date in the editorial calendar.



Sue Lonergan is vice president of ZD Events, producer of COMDEX/Fall

’99



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