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Getting Press at your next tradeshow


Rachel Meranus of PR Newswire has a good column at Entrepreneur magazine with some pretty sound advice on how to get noticed by the press at your next tradeshow.

There are a few basic and cheap to free tips she left out.

1. Ask the show manager if they have a “new product” or “first time exhibitor” show case. More and more shows are doing this for one simple fact. The number one reason buyers attend tradeshows is to find new products and services. The same is true for the press. Get your product in these cases and get noticed. Oh and some showcases are judged. Want to get press at a tradeshow?

Win an award and it doesn’t matter how big or small your company is; you will get press. Not to mention you can talk about that award to every potential client and in all of your future advertising.

2. Publicize your participation in any advertising you do. Most trade magazines and show producers cooperate on this stuff. So it is really easy to add a stock “see us at BlogWorld & New Media Expo booth #123” widget to your ads. Any trade journalist worth his salt reads his own magazine as well as his competitors and will see these ads.

3. Prepare press kits and leave them in the press room. If you do you will be part of about 10% of all exhibitors who take advantage of this very common program. Any major tradeshow will have a press room. Again any good reporter will be perusing these kits for real news. An innovative new product or service is good copy.

4. If you have been thinking about running ads in any trade magazine or journal contact them and inquire about this several months before the show. Editors and Publishers will always tell you the editorial side is completely separate from the ad side of the business. Baloney!

Worst case it sure can’t hurt to let a magazine know you are considering spending money with them.

5. Many tradeshows particularly large ones will have special programs to attract international buyers and press to the show. For select major shows this is supported by the US Department of Commerce. Key international buyers and press have part or all of their travel expenses paid by the show organizer or sponsoring association. Find out if the shows you attend have a program like this. They will usually include a guided tour of exhibitors who have signed up for the program, and some sort of reception. Get on that tour, and attend that reception. These are usually free or very low cost and can land you some nice international press coverage. These programs also sometimes include an “export directory” again usually cheap or free. Most exhibitors fail to take advantage of these and the ones that do stand out.

One more related note, some show managers and/or associations will ask exhibitors to “nominate” the international buyers and press that they are going to invite to the show. Want to make a lifelong friend of a foreign journalist?

Nominate him to be a part of this program and make sure he knows you put his name in the hat. If he gets a free or discounted trip due to your efforts, you are going to get some kind of coverage from that magazine.

6. Rachel suggests contacting your show manager and finding out what their PR plans are and trying to tag along. That is a great idea but I will take it one step further. Send your show manager and/or the sponsoring association your press releases particularly releases related to the show, celebrities or industry experts appearing in your booth, education programs being held at the show, or your industry’s hot button issues. Find out if your show has a PR company and send the releases directly to them as well.

Many show producers have to beg exhibitors to get stories out of them, or find out on site some celebrity is appearing in their booth. Show managers are looking for stories to tell the press and they have lots of press who will run every release a show manager gives them. The same old “we have sold more booths than ever, we expect more buyers than ever” release is just plain boring.



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