How to leverage tradeshows into media coverage
By Damon Carson
One of the best places to launch an invention is a targeted industry tradeshow.
While tradeshows get you in front of potential buyers, they provide an opportunity to get coverage in different media outlets, too. Tradeshows often teem with journalists looking for great stories about new inventions.
I often contact companies when I read about them in the media find out what led to their press coverage. Their number one response is that a reporter met them at a tradeshow.
What can you do to up the odds of a reporter stopping by and asking to write about your invention?
First, you need to identify the relevant trade media that cover your industry. If you haven’t contacted them before, this is a good opportunity to make the initial call or send an e-mail with background information about your new invention.
When contacting writers, try to schedule a new product introduction, update or other announcement to coincide with the show. If you prepare a news release to distribute at the show, perform doubly by distributing it to your prospects too. If possible, coordinate your publicity efforts with the public relations efforts of the show’s organizers. Find out if your company’s media materials can be included in a press kit distributed by the show’s organizers.
Many shows are connected with trade publications and these usually print a pre-show edition. Explore advertising opportunities in the tradeshow edition of the host publication and make sure that the editors are aware of any and all of your news announcements. Promote your booth on your Web site and consider temporary banner ads on the sponsoring organization’s Web site or online magazine. There should be a press room onsite at the tradeshow where you can schedule a press conference to make announcements. Other companies will stock the press room with press kits. You should do the same.
Local or regional ties to the show can be another means to distinguish your company from the competition. Did any of your executives graduate from a local college or university? Did they grow up in the area or work there? A local angle is sometimes all it takes to get the local media’s attention.
Weekly newspapers and business magazines are also important media targets. Even small newspapers have business reporters who could write about your company. Larger papers have reporters who cover specific businesses, industries or groups of industries. Find out who they are and let them know about your participation in the tradeshow.
Don’t forget local television and radio, especially if you have a visually interesting invention or if you can tie it in to something topical. Your first contact should be to the station’s news editors, who are generally in charge of making assignments for reporters. Most television stations and many newspapers have Web sites that tell you how to make contact.
For more helpful PR tips, visit Damon Carson’s Web site, www.publicityassociates.com
Editor’s note: This article appears in the August 2010 print edition.
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