March 17, 2014
Walking around a trade show can be daunting for anyone. There are so many people to meet and booths to see. Imagine you’ve been sent there with a limited amount of time and that you’ve been asked by your boss to write a very interesting story about it. Do you think you could do it? It’s tough, but in reality thousands of members of the media are tasked to cover trade shows this way. If your organization holds an event that welcomes media, it’s crucial to have a media relations staff that can help the media.
After the American International Toy Fair last year, I gave some Tips on Running a Successful Press Center. As the show came to a close this year, I thought of something else that can make a big impact in how a trade show is received by the media – how well the trade show media relations staff helps them to cover the event!
Here are a few tips on how your team can help the media:
- Talk to the media! Find out their story angle – Every media outlet attends the show for a different reason. A business journalist could be looking for only companies that have fundraised on Kickstarter and a local television station might be looking for visual, fun products to make their audience laugh. You would want to escort them to different booths, so tailor your show floor tour to the story they are trying to build.
- Scout out the show floor ahead of time – Yes, you represent the show and have probably been working on it for months but make sure you’ve actually set foot on the show floor before it opens. This sounds silly, but during setup you might not think about leaving the Press Center. The only way you will know the answer to the question “What’s the name of the booth with the painted turtle on it?” is to have seen it yourself. Remember, knowing your surroundings is the only way to guide someone else around!
- Always have the Exhibitor Guide or map on hand – So you’ve scouted the floor and pretty much know it by heart but chances are someone will still ask you about the one exhibitor you aren’t familiar with :). When all else fails, the map will always guide you. If you know the general layout of the show floor, the map will guide you exactly where you need to go (and you’ll probably figure it out a bit faster because you know the rest of the show floor).
- Keep in close contact with your colleagues – At a large show like Toy Fair, you could have up to 15 PR professionals onsite at once to help guide the media around. Make sure you have a full contact list and cell phone numbers for the whole team and leverage their knowledge. If your teammate told you about an amazing interactive booth and it seems like something the reporter you’re working with would like – ask them where it was! Fast communication with your colleagues might allow you to give media just the information they need.
- Know the important info or where to find it – Key show facts, top show trends, and significant industry information – know it (or have it on hand with you at all times). To build a story, media needs the background – be helpful and provide them with it! If the association or show has a spokesperson, do your best to set them up for an interview onsite. This can be great for the show and helpful for the journalist.
Trade shows can be a huge wealth of knowledge for media but they can also be scary and overwhelming. When doing PR for a trade show, remember your main goal is to HELP the media and make their life easier! If you succeed in doing that, not only will the show garner some awesome media coverage but the media contacts will be excited to come back again next year!
Have you ever done PR or media relations for a trade show? I’d love to hear how you worked with the media – leave a comment below.