9 Ways to Hook the Press at your Trade Shows


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Attendees at trade shows aren’t your only audience on the show floor. You can reach many, many more people by getting the press to pay attention to what you’re doing and what your company offers.

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9 Ways to Hook the Press at your Trade Shows

  1. 1. Re-configurable Custom Exhibit — 10 ft. inline, 20 ft. inline, and 20 ft. Island 9 Ways To Hook The Press At Your Trade Shows american-image.com/nine-ways-hook-press-at-your-trade-shows/ Charles Dugan Attendees at trade shows aren’t your only audience on the show floor. You can reach many, many more people by getting the press to pay attention to what you’re doing and what your company offers. So the big question is, how do you go about getting them interested enough to make your company, product or service into a story? We live in a highly digitized era when everyone is struggling for their fifteen minutes of fame, and that makes the bar higher for you to reach in meeting, informing and persuading members of the press. Here are a few tips on how to make that easier: 1) It’s not something you should do without an appointment There are plenty of stories about a chance meeting that takes place on an elevator, resulting in a great piece of press coverage. But don’t bet your trade show investment on that! You’ll do better by arranging a meeting or a press conference to which you invite the people you want to cover your story. 2) Still, be prepared for a miracle At many shows, reporters are wandering the trade show floor looking for story ideas. If you’re prepared, you can take advantage of these few minutes you have with a member of the press to convince them that you’re newsworthy. Without advance preparation, an opportunity like this is missed forever and you’ll lower your chances for getting attention at a later date. 3) Start with a press release Waiting until the show begins is already too late to get started. At the very least, you should prepare several compelling press releases for each of the trade shows that you attend, suggesting story ideas about your company, product or service. Providing visuals to go with them is even better. 3.5) Have a Good “Face” in your trade show booth And be darn sure to plan to have someone in the booth with the experience and knowledge to talk clearly and plainly about what you offer, in quotable chunks. The same tired pitch you use on everyone who passes by isn’t going to get you the attention you want. A member of your upper management that can be quoted as an interesting and reliable source is a perfect solution! (I once had the good fortune to work with a small company whose manager, the owner’s son, was tall, smart, knowledgeable, and intimately familiar with how the most complicated machining tools in their factory worked – he had started working in their factory machine shop in his teens, learning how to run the machinery, before heading to college – now that was a great asset!)
  2. 2. 100 x 90 Custom Rental Trade Show Booth 4) Research is essential Prior to showtime, find out which news agencies will be covering the show. Show management should be able to help you find the information you’re looking for. Check their editorial calendars (usually available online at their websites) to see what stories they’re planning for. Look for ways you can craft your company’s message to dovetail with a story they’re already trying to tell. Some industry publications publish special editions around specific trade shows, and this is a great opportunity for you to get your message included. 5) What’s your hook? Every good story has a “hook”—a concept or idea that draws readers in. If you can find a good hook for your own story, you’re doing the reporters’ work for them, and they’ll be happy for that. The hook can be about some impressive results your product or service has accomplished for a specific client (be sure to get the client’s approval before doing this), a notable award that’s been bestowed on your company or its products, or even a “celebrity endorsement.” (By this I mean someone who’s known to readers of the magazine or in the industry, not necessarily a Hollywood celebrity!) 6) Who they gonna call? It’s not enough just to offer a press release or a person to be quoted. Many publications have fact checkers who need to follow up on information in their articles, so make sure you include something to the effect of, “For more information or to schedule an interview, contact _____.” Make sure whomever you decide your contact person will be is well versed in the information a reporter will be looking for, and is expecting their call. 7) Nobody cares about you I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true—especially so in the world of news making. Reporters and the publications they work for couldn’t care less about you or your company. What they’re interested in is what your product or service can do for their readers. When talking about your company, keep chest thumping to a minimum and instead, talk about how your product or service solves problems for customers! 8) Invest in media training Talking to reporters isn’t easy, and they’re not easily impressed. To get the most out of contact with the media, put some of your staffers through training to learn how to effectively answer a reporter’s questions, simply and succinctly describe your product or service without jargon, and paint verbal pictures that describe the results, not the process. 9) Be proactive You’ve gotten some media interest at your show. Reporters have stopped by, picked up your press kits, talked with a representative and maybe even floated an idea of how they want to cover the story. That’s all great, but it’s not enough. Don’t assume that a reporter will call you to get the most mileage out of your story. Instead, wait a day or two and call them. Ask if they need more information, additional visuals, or if
  3. 3. they’d like to speak with someone with particular expertise. Reporters are loathe to admit that they need help, but by making their job easier, you just might get the coverage you’re looking for. Trade shows are all about getting attention and capitalizing on it. In addition to getting the attention of the press, do everything you can to get the attention of show visitors with a trade show booth design that helps you tell your company’s story. For help with anything from a new exhibit to banner stands, literature racks or other trade show supplies, ask American Image Displays to help you put your best foot forward. For more information, call us at (425) 556-9511 or email info@american-image.com.