TriComB2B Blogger - Jocelyn Hodson

There’s More to Trade Show Publicity Than Just Your Press Release

Jocelyn Hodson

Trade shows take a great deal of planning — especially when it comes to exhibit logistics. The investment is substantial: people + products + marketing materials + equipment + customer entertainment = big $. And rightfully so. You have the potential to reach a very wide customer base in a matter of days (in some cases, the attendee list is in the 100,000+ range). The whole point is to generate business leads, right? But while the exhibit is important, one aspect of trade show execution that often goes overlooked is the publicity opportunity.

Wait a second. Isn’t my press release good enough?

stack-of-newspapers

When it comes to generating buzz and elevating visibility at the show, your go-to is probably a press release. Actually, a press release should be the least of your concerns. If that’s the only thing you’re doing, it likely won’t get much visibility.

When you’re in trade show planning mode, your publicity efforts should start early. Trade publications have placement lead times that range from several weeks to several months, depending on how often they are published, how rigorous their editorial review process is, how many articles are already slotted, etc. And when it comes to show coverage, many trade publications coordinate their editorial with the companies reaching out to them on an ongoing basis. So, get active early!

What are some ways to gain publicity at a trade show?

Now that you’re thinking about trade show publicity earlier than normal, it’s time to expand your efforts. To really bolster your media coverage, take into consideration the following:

  • Where can you plug in thought leadership and/or technology solutions-based editorial going into the show? Many trade publications are made available during the trade show. Getting your story in the issue being distributed at the show is a great way to promote your products and solutions.
  • Are there any awards centered on the trade show? Not only is this a great publicity tool, it’s industry recognition for the hard work you’ve put into product development.
  • Can you create a compelling reason to get media representatives in your booth during the show? Subject matter expert and executive interview opportunities are a good start. This can result in post-show coverage and open doors to other editorial opportunities.
  • Do you have materials that would help editors better understand your products and solutions? A media kit is a great way to package your technical papers, brochures, product images and case studies so editors will have quick, easy access to helpful materials.
  • Is there a show daily that gets handed out each day of the trade show? Attendees read these to see the latest and greatest on the show floor.

Publicity is a continuous effort, not a one-time project.

Media coverage doesn’t happen overnight, and it won’t continue to happen if you hand over a press release and disappear into the booth abyss. Post-event follow-up and ongoing outreach throughout the year are absolute musts if you expect to build and continue momentum.

So, the next time you’re gearing up for a trade show, consider comprehensive publicity efforts before, during and after the show to reach your customers. A press release may be one tool for trade show visibility, but it won’t stand a chance if that’s the only thing editors see from you all year.

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