Planning and orchestrating a trade show or industry event is fraught with details at every level of participation. Whether your company is exhibiting, speaking, sponsoring or attending and networking, adding one more very important item to your lengthy to-do list can positively impact ROI: Plan your media relations strategy.
Most major events and trade shows have a media component. When you’re doing your event due diligence, look for a media registration link on the event website. If one is available, that confirms media will be in attendance. The next step is planning your wrap-around media relations strategy, which should include:
- Pre-event PR outreach to media to set up meetings, interviews or invite them to attend your speaker’s session or press conference
- Event media outreach in which you follow-up on-site with media in-person immediately after your speaker or press conference concludes; having press materials on easy-to-hand-off USB drives, including photos; distribution of a timely news release
- Post-event media outreach to follow-up on press releases, as well as meetings and interviews, to check with reporters on information or assets they may need
- All-event social media outreach; remember to include all media outreach initiatives in your social posts and repost coverage from media outlets
Things move fast at industry events, and most people’s brains are full of details and to-dos. The following are tips to maximize media encounters – planned or on-the-fly:
Prep spokespeople. Identify your company’s spokespeople for event PR and prepare them for possible interviews with product, company and industry messaging, as well as strategies to optimize media interviews. While an immediate story might not result from trade-show media encounters, they are beneficial in introducing your SMEs to media and building relationships for future outreach.
Plan for media encounters. Check with show organizers and ask if you can obtain a list of names for registered media for the previous year’s show. If they release it, the list will give you a good idea of which media to target. If the show organizers decline, research top industry media outlets that cover your industry for past coverage of the event.
Build your target media list. If you’re lucky enough to obtain last-year’s media list, or your research for prior event coverage bears fruit, you’ll still need to build your own targeted media list. Use the yields of your media research as the foundation and add to it. Even if reporters from an important industry publication are not planning to attend the event physically, they may participate virtually. Also, check the event website to see if the event has media partners or sponsors. In general, media that have committed marketing budgets dedicate reporters to covering the event, and these reporters would be on the hunt for stories.
Once you have a solid media list, reach out to reporters to inquire if they’re attending the event, and offer a meeting. Even if they’re not attending, this inquiry may open the door to a post-event interview.
Have a reason to contact the reporter. Each invitation for a meeting or an interview at the event needs to have substance, for example, meeting a key executive, sharing news or breaking news, expressing an opinion on an industry issue, etc. This approach will help you secure meetings with reporters at, or around, the event.
Connecting with reporters on the fly at events can be effective in making introductions and securing interviews and for event PR. However, most reporters are booked solid at least a month before an event. Banking on on-the-fly meetings is risky if securing media interactions and coverage is your goal.
The next time you or a member of your company plans to attend or participate in an industry event, remember to maximize your presence by incorporating wrap-around media relations into the overall event strategy.
For additional information or for support in optimizing event participation with media outreach, contact The Quell Group, Detroit’s premier media relations agency, to speak with a member of our media relations strategy team.