It might be close to the holiday season, but what is also around the corner? Tradeshows!
Whether held in person or virtually, tradeshows allow an exhibiting organization to introduce a new product or service to its key audiences. Once you’ve determined the key message you want to tell your customers and the media, the next step is to make and confirm booth appointments with media.
As mentioned in a previous blog, according to PR Newswire Online, “There are 6.2 [PR] pros to every journalist.” So there’s plenty of competition on booth appointments.
Below are four tips to help connect with the very-much-in-demand media.
1. Develop your media list early
Tradeshow planning should begin several months ahead, and that applies to both your PR team and your agency. Your agency will reach out to the media about two to three months before a show. Most tradeshow organizers will provide pre-registered media lists to exhibitors.
After receiving the list, you will see many editors in your industry. Do not reach out to every single one. Instead, focus your time and effort on editors that can help tell your story. Below are some tips to help you identify the right editors:
- Focus on their audiences. Can the editors help to get your message to their readerships and your key audience?
- Have they covered your brand in the past? Have they published articles about your company online or in their print or digital editions? Have they posted a recent press release? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this would be a publication to target.
- Have they come to your booth in past years? Check your notes from the previous year and follow up with that editor. They may not attend that tradeshow, but a colleague might, and they can introduce you to a new editor.
As you get closer to the show, the pre-registered media list will continue to grow. It’s essential that you continue to receive this list and update your own lists accordingly.
2. Create an invitation
You now have a solid and well-organized media list, and it’s time to pitch. Most brands will have an agency create a custom, eblast invitation targeting attending media. This invitation will answer who is exhibiting, what products or services will be there, where exactly the booth is located on the show floor, and when its product experts will be there.
It’s critical to give the editor all these important details at once, but save the actual story you want to tell for the booth visit. Think of it like smelling your favorite meal in the oven, but waiting to enjoy it till it’s finished cooking.
It’s also important to think about what day you should distribute the invitation. It’s impossible to know everyone’s schedule, but Mondays and Fridays are usually the most challenging days to pitch. Some editors are extending their weekends, while others are starting their weekends early. So send the first round of invitations during the middle of the week and resend to non-openers within 48 hours.
This helps your invitation stay at the top of the journalist’s inbox.
3. Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!
Congratulations! You sent out the e-blast, and you might have received an appointment or two. You think, “I’ll keep sending out the invitation repeatedly, and that will be enough!” But in reality, sending the e-blast is only half the battle. Now it’s time for the hardest part… Follow up!
One email does the trick if you know the editors well. However, if you’re targeting a new journalist, you must make your story stand out. When reaching out to an editor, reread their magazine, and understand their readership and what topics they cover. Tweak your pitch to match the types of stories they publish.
For example, If the publication focuses on sustainable products and your product saves an installer labor, make sure you mention that in your pitch. This will show the journalist that you understand their focus, and it will make the booth appointment more successful.
It typically takes multiple tries to schedule a booth appointment. The best way to get an editor’s attention is to be constantly in their face, not literally, but figuratively — and always pleasantly. A method that has helped GreenHouse Digital + PR successfully secure appointments is this four-step process:
- Send an eblast the first week of the month.
- Follow up with the same editors in the second week with a personalized note.
- Send an eblast on the third week and follow up with a phone call a day after distribution.
- Start the process all over again.
This process can be very time-consuming, but committing your time and energy will help secure appointments.
4. Be organized before, during, and after the show
Start by creating an inactive calendar for your agency and the client to collaborate. Here at GreenHouse Digital + PR, we use Google Sheets to help keep track of appointments.
Your calendar should have the day of the meeting, the time of the appointment, and the editor’s contact information. Always ask for their cellphone number. Schedule only one booth appointment every 30 minutes as much as possible. You want to avoid crossing over between appointments. You also want to make sure each editor enjoys their one-on-one time with subject matter experts.
Most appointments will be secured two to three weeks before the show. Another way to confirm appointments is to create online calendar appointments for you and the editor. Make sure you include the booth number and your contact information in this electronic invite. This will help you and the editor coordinate communication if lost or running late.
Most appointments last between 20- 30 minutes on the day of the show. During this time, your agency representative will be in the booth. They are responsible for introducing the editor to the expert, taking note of any questions and comments during the booth tour, and possibly securing an editorial opportunity.
Remember, you are the liaison between the publication and the client. So always be aware of their readership and inform your team which parts of the booth they should discuss more thoroughly. This is the best way to respect the editor’s time and build a mutually productive relationship.
Lastly, the notes you took after the show should be converted into a report for the client to review. This will help the organization understand how to market to different audiences. This report should be with the client within 48 hours after the event to help maintain the momentum you have established.
This blog covers a lot of information, but tradeshow media relations support is one of many services GreenHouse Digital + PR provides. If you are seeking tradeshow assistance, please contact us to book a discovery call to learn more about how we can help.