Trade shows are one of the few traditional marketing elements that continue to hold as much relevance today as they did earlier. Especially when talking about the current climate in the wake of the pandemic, with both businesses and customers looking to establish one-on-one connections beyond the virtual environment, trade shows are an excellent opportunity to increase your brand and product’s exposure.
However, a critical component of this desired visibility is an effective Public Relations (PR) strategy. A compelling PR plan can help differentiate your voice and idea in the crowd. It can serve as a potent marketing tool for building traffic out of targeted customer and client pools, generating sales leads even before the trade show, and enhancing profitability in the long run. PR is a trusted way of boosting your credibility in chosen circles that can add more meaning and value to your trade show participation.
So, if you are planning on an upcoming trade show, here’s how to make the most out of it with PR support.
Plan and Prepare in Advance
In the months leading up to the trade show, get into conversations around it or the theme, in general, across social media platforms and blogs. Do not leave any opportunity to talk about your involvement in the trade show and entice the audience about the upcoming event.
This will not just help you develop great contacts related to and beyond the show, but also build momentum in the run-up to the show. You are likely to catch the attention of influencers, journalists, and editors and grab their attention in advance.
Jot Down a List
Trade show organizers usually distribute a comprehensive list of fellow participants, sponsors, guests, and registered press contacts to all before the event. If not, you can even ask them for one. Once you have this list in hand, start jotting down those who you would like to meet at the show and interact with.
You can proceed to connect and reach out to these members in advance, talking to them about your upcoming presentation, what they can expect from it, why they should be visiting it, and where they can find you. You may even schedule press meetings beforehand with a specific location in mind, and extend the conversation to build personal, cordial relationships for the future.
Utilize Free Promotional Tools
Trade show organizers offer an array of free tools that you can leverage for PR activities, such as a website posting news releases, the show press room, product showcase pages and accounts, and so on. Getting in touch with the show PR team directly and offering your participation in outreach activities will benefit both sides.
Initiate Media Outreach
Ahead of the event, you should focus on creating enough buzz about your participation at the trade show. Leverage any new activity or development on your end as promotional material to integrate your trade show participation with. You can reach out to newspapers, trade publications, or industry vertical magazines with a brand or product story and mention the trade show briefly in this pitch.
Build a Narrative
PR is as much about communications as it is about personalization. Therefore, when pitching your trade show participation to media publications or journalists, make sure that you present it in the form of a compelling yet relevant story that has the potential to intrigue their audiences.
Remember that journalists will publicize a story only if they believe it can or needs to make a buzz, which makes the strategic presentation a key component. As one of the best PR firms San Francisco, we specialize in strategic PR offerings that can help you stand out from the crowd.
Create a Showcase Page
Launching a simple but informative showcase page about your trade show products, exhibits, speeches, and interactions can prove to be valuable marketing collateral in the run-up to the event. You can use this exclusive page URL for all show-related correspondences.
Do remember to supplement the page with enough facts, engaging content, and marketing materials to keep audiences interested. Lastly, do ensure that you are linking this page back to your main website and social media pages for drawing in more leads in the long run.
Back-Up Your Claims
Audiences love facts, and so do journalists. The same can be said about surprising statements, provided they are honest and traceable. Dig deep into business intelligence and research to grab some eye-catching numbers and statements to compliment your PR spin and make a compelling case. The trade show will give you the platform to portray these hard facts.
Secure Speaking Engagements
Trade shows usually have some empty slots for speaking opportunities that interested individuals can pitch for. Try to secure one, either as a keynote speaker, on the exhibition floor, or as a panelist in group discussions. You will have to extensively plan out the theme of your speech based both on your target market and the expected trade show audience. Make sure your presentation is creative enough to initiate discussions, impact decisions and generate publicity around the brand.
Effective PR for trade shows is all about creating the buzz and excitement that the media is seeking. This makes it important for businesses and marketers to prepare themselves well in advance, leverage every publicity tool and opportunity they can get at hand, and remain involved not just pre-event, but also during and after it. Well-crafted and thoughtful PR can help you make the most out of your trade show participation with the right tactics and support.