Maximizing your trade show investment

Trade shows can be a great way to generate sales leads or an opportunity to check out your competition, but are you maximizing the investment you’re making? When planning for your next trade show, don’t forget to engage the media.

Trade shows are heavily attended by the media so that they can stay on top of industry trends and new products coming to market. These editors and reporters want the latest scoop and will be willing to talk to you about your newsworthy product. So how do you engage the media at your next show?

Here are some simple tips:

Start early. Figure out which news outlets will be at the show and extend an invitation to meet with you or to stop by the booth. Be sure to invite the media a couple of months out, as their schedules will book quickly.

Prepare your message. Figure out which products you want to promote and prepare a media kit with literature and resources, such as videos or high-res product images that can be used in print. Don’t forget to select a spokesperson who will serve as the face of the company for the media.

Send a reminder. You should follow up to confirm your appointment one to two weeks before the show. Don’t assume that they will remember an interview that was scheduled two months ago.

Make it social. Tweet from the show with live updates. This is a great opportunity for those at the show to know what’s going on and for those who chose not to attend. Don’t forget to post updates on Linkedin, Facebook or your blog.

Work it. Some of the media will not respond to your invitation or will not be willing to schedule a hard time to meet. If that’s the case, walk the floor to find them. Also, check to see if certain publications have a booth reserved at the show. This can be a good way to drop your media kit off in person. Don’t forget to place media kits in the press room for those who you may not be able to track down.

Work it some more. After the show, send follow-up emails and make calls to those whom you met with personally. Mention something you discussed and offer to be a resource if they would like to develop the story further.

Review and repeat. Set up Google Alerts or use a media tracking service to measure the press you received from the show. This will help show return on your investment and also give you insight into future opportunities. Remember to keep up the relationship with those who published your news.

On an average day, it can be challenging to get the media’s attention, since they are constantly inundated with messages. At a trade show, however, you have a better chance at capturing their attention, pitching your story, and creating a relationship that can be leveraged later on. After all, they are there to get the latest news in your industry, so make sure you have something to share!

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