Public relations (PR) can help generate leads, sales, brand awareness, secure sponsorships as well as secure your brand reputation. Planning is the core aspect of a successful PR strategy. This article will give you tips on how to plan PR for an upcoming trade show.
1. Choose the right trade show
With so many exhibitions taking place, it is essential to choose the right ones for your company. Trade shows are a great marketing tool for increasing brand awareness and growing your customer base. However, not all events will be good for your company and will help you attain your goals. Therefore, start by listing your exhibition goals and identifying shows that you think best suit your business. When you have chosen the right shows for the year, begin listing them against your company’s objectives.
2. Start long before the trade show
To create attention around an event or trade show, you want to make sure you are achieving press coverage and maximizing visibility ahead of the show. Make sure you set up your media meetings, interviews, features, and articles well in advance and take notes of press deadlines, lead times, and editorial calendars.
3. Ask for the Show Media List
Most shows will give a list of the attending media if asked for it, though often this list is from the previous year. Most of the time, it is free, although there are times when it has to be paid for. When you are compiling your show media list, make sure you are considering the following:
- Target audience: will their publications and reports help your organization reach them?
- Past trade show coverage: who attended the event the previous year? Who is talking about the trade show leading up to the event?
- Your schedule and priorities: you will not have time for face-to-face meetings with every journalist. Therefore, you must consider where you want to focus your 1:1 efforts on making the appointments early.
- Social media activity: search trade show keywords or hashtags and see what reporters are saying about the event. Here it is important to remember t make notes of what your competitors are talking about on social media.
4. Schedule meetings before the show
As just mentioned, it is recommended to pre-book and have a clear plan when going to the event. The media and press need to stay organized and planned out. You can
decide how detailed you want your plan to be, but some may even schedule a time when going to the bathroom and what meetings are close to the food stands around lunch. The earlier you reach out asking for interviews and meetings, the more likely you are to get them, and the better you can plan your time at the event.
How to plan PR for an upcoming trade show
5. Make sure the company objectives are in alignment with the PR strategy
Your PR strategy needs to be in synergy with the company objectives for the trade show with coherent messaging, content, and industry professionals, media, and stakeholders. Here are a few things to consider:
- If your objective is to generate brand awareness at the trade show, perhaps focus on relevant pre-event content and PR to promote your presence.
- If you want to connect with stakeholders and professionals in the trusty, you might want to explore the media opportunities for that audience.
- If you want to build media relations, we recommend approaching the official media registered to attend the show.
6. Create bespoke content
Rather than creating mass press release distribution, focus on creating bespoke content for each target media. It will be more work, as it acquires an in-depth knowledge of the event. You will need to know the industry, the spokespeople, speakers, trends, and ad issues impacting the target audience and media. Not only is it more worthwhile to create a bespoke press release, but it also looks more impressive and therefore helps build your brand reputation [link to appropriate article].
Some examples of bespoke content include:
How to plan PR for an upcoming trade show
- Develop and strengthen your relationships with partners, speakers, and sponsors at the event to create industry topics that are relevant to the event.
- Creating teaser press releases. Here you may include key findings by compy spokespeople who are presenting at the event.
- Participating in webinars for live streaming and industry-related topics.
- Contributing to editorials with input from your company spokespeople based on industry topics that are relevant to the event.
- Profiling your company’s key spokespeople as authorities in the industry through Q&As, TV interviews, radio, and editorials.
7. Take the creative route
There are a few PR activities that will leave you having to think outside the box, if successful, could create a successful PR outcome. These include:
- Schedule interviews with target media during the event, media briefings, attendance, and press conferences.
- Similarly, you may schedule meetings with editors to understand their content needs and how your company may support these.
- Keep your social media customers and followers on social media updated on the activities at the event.
If you have not done so already, you may want to consider following your media targets on relevant social media channels or a follow-up email. The timing is very important, as you want to stay relevant, but you do not want to bombard editors with emails straight after the show. Even though there is a lot of preparation, if you start early, planning your PR for an upcoming trade show does not have to be as stressful as it sounds. Happy planning!