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9 Ways To Hook The Press At Your Trade Shows
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
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!)
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.