Is your business in need of some trade show tips to wow the press at the next big event? Well, you’ve come to the right place. After 25 years of helping companies stand out, we’ve learned a thing or two about making an impact at industry events.
Read on for our advice on how to make the most of every day you’ve invested at a show—helping you to increase brand awareness, network, and pitch key industry press. But first, it’s probably best to know what trade shows are.
WHAT ARE TRADE SHOWS?
Trade shows are industry events that bring companies and visitors together, all in one space. They will typically include several days dedicated to exhibitions where visitors can see what a company has announced at the show and try new products out for themselves.
Trade shows will also normally include several talks, workshops, awards, and networking events. From a PR standpoint, they represent an excellent time to set up meetings with press in order to get to know them better, pitch stories, and demo new products.
EXAMPLES OF TRADE SHOWS
Even if you’ve never attended a trade show, you’ve probably heard about one. Some good examples of trade shows in the media and technology industry include:
Normally taking place in Austin, Texas around March, South by Southwest is an excellent opportunity for filmmakers, technologists, interactive media producers to highlight their work. SXSW includes a music festival, film and TV festial, as well as a conference including keynotes and tech industry talks.
Find out more and apply to participate in SXSW
Organized by the Consumer Technology Association, CES is an annual opportunity for companies to showcase new products and technologies. It’s an excellent proving ground for industry breakthroughs and innovation, usually held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in January.
Find out more and register for CES
There aren’t many better opportunities to meet the right people and position your brand for growth than the NAB Show. Taking place in Las Vegas every April, it sees thousands of professionals from all corners of the media, entertainment and technology industries come together.
Find out more and plan for next year’s NAB
Held in Amsterdam each year, IBC is an ideal place to discover the future of the global media and entertainment industry. There’s a range of opportunities for technology companies to exhibit, present and network across the event.
Find out more and register for IBC
Since 1974, SIGGRAPH has been the yearly destination for the computer graphics industry. From Pixar’s groundbreaking early films to AI-powered production tools, over the years SIGGRAPH has offered many glimpses of the future. The show floor is a great place to get the eyes of peers and press on your company.
Find out more and submit to SIGGRAPH
THE BUSINESS BENEFITS OF TRADE SHOWS
When the pandemic forced events to be canceled, many of us understood exactly why a Zoom call can never truly replace an in-person meetup.
That’s why attending an industry event or trade show is so important. By attending a trade show, businesses can encourage hundreds of in-person meetups to happen at once. Sales representatives can meet with key customers, marketing leads can meet with potential partners, and PR professionals can meet with important industry press—all in just a few days.
At Liaison, we typically attend several trade shows every year. We have first-hand experience of how crucial they can be for building key relationships and pitching story ideas to press. If you follow our trade show tips below, you’ll not only get to maximize your news coverage. You’ll also be able to meet key industry journalists on a more personal level. That’ll make a big difference when you’re pitching the journalist: They’ll remember you and your products from the show. That’ll get them more interested in what you have to say—and has the potential to help you set up stories with them for months to come.
TRADE SHOW PR TIPS
TRADE SHOW TIP 1: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE NEWS TO SHARE
Do you really have enough news to justify a press release? Be honest with yourself and your audience. No news dressed up as an announcement won’t lead to coverage.
TRADE SHOW TIP 2: YOU DO HAVE NEWS? SPREAD THE WORD
Attendees need to know what you’ll be sharing at the show and how they can find you there. Most companies send out their releases the day before the show opens, get out ahead and send yours the week before.
When writing your press release, always remember to:
- Get to the point quickly
- Share information over buzzwords
- Make it really easy to read
- Include a call to action at the end
- Include dates and times
Need an example? Here’s one we wrote for Zero Density.
TRADE SHOW TIP 3: GET SOME MEETINGS IN THE DIARY
Trade shows are the best opportunity to get noticed by the press. Ask the show’s marketing director for a press list and reach out to any press you want to target. If you don’t have any big announcements to share, just use it as an opportunity to develop your relationship with the press, update them on any developments and tease future projects.
TRADE SHOW TIP 4: DELIVER A WINNING PRESENTATION
A trade show presentation is one of the best ways to showcase your big news, as long as you keep it engaging. Make sure your presentation is simple, visual and intriguing.
Always keep in mind that:
- Less is more when it comes to text
- Images need to be funny or stunning
- You need to plan your messaging
- Your key points should be prepared in advance
- Customer testimonials, statistics and graphs will validate your points
TRADE SHOW TIP 5: LET YOUR CUSTOMERS SPEAK
There’s no one who can speak to the benefits of your product or service better than those that have used it themselves. Invite your customers to press meetings, have them present at your booth on the show floor and offer written case studies to the press.
The press loves to hear about:
- High-profile clients
- Big projects
- Innovative use cases
- Recent events
- Educational elements
Here’s a case study we wrote for Digital Domain.
TRADE SHOW TIP 6: DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP
A lot of great working relationships get their start at trade shows. If any press seemed particularly interested in covering your work or future developments then make sure to follow up with them after the show. A quick email containing press materials and inviting to them to talk further could lead to great coverage.
TRADE SHOW TIP 7: CONSIDER MEDIA TRAINING
Speaking to the press can be harder than you’d expect. If you go in unprepared you could succumb to the pressure and accidentally breach confidentiality or send the wrong message. Media training helps you to communicate with the press confidently, representing your company in an engaging way and staying on message. Why not check out our top media training tips to get started?
Need help with your press strategy? Contact us – we’re here to help.