Maximize PR opportunities at industry trade shows
I just returned from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, a biannual event hosted by the Outdoor Industry Association. For retailers, manufacturers and nonprofits associated with anything to do within the outdoors industry – this is the trade show to attend to make connections, enhance relationships and share new product information.
This was my sixth year attending this event. I was able to meet with editors and bloggers I’ve known for years and show them the new line of Costa Sunglasses, as well as tell them about some of the incredible adventure expeditions the company is embarking upon this year.
For Outdoor Retailer – and any other industry trade show – there are plenty of opportunities throughout the event to maximize public relations efforts and build your brand story. I’ve listed a few tips to help you make the most out of your PR program while at an industry event.
Connect with industry journalists: If you’re an exhibitor at a trade show, show management will often share a list of industry media attending the event. Obtain a copy of this list several weeks – if not more – in advance of the show. Use the list wisely to reach out to journalists and schedule one-on-one appointments with them during the trade show.
Please note the use of the word wisely. This does not mean blasting the entire media list with information about the cocktail hour in your booth. It means researching each media outlet and contacting the ones most relevant to your business. You want to develop meaningful relationships with journalists – not spam them to death. If you want to invite them to an event in your booth – pick up the phone and call them, or send them an individual email personalized with information about why they might be interested to attend. One size does not fit all when it comes to working with editorial media.
Be prepared: Once you arrive at the show and you’ve scheduled appointments with journalists most relevant to your brand’s audience, make sure to do your homework in advance. Read a copy (or several) of the journalist’s magazine so you have a feel for the tone and editorial focus. If you’re meeting with a blogger, make sure you’re familiar with their content. (Hint: if they only write about running shoes, they’re probably not going to be interested in your new line of cookware). Be ready to discuss how your new product/service/membership program specifically relates to their audience.
Listen: As with any relationship, this isn’t all about you. Yes, the media sitting with you want to hear what’s new, unique and groundbreaking within your company. But also take the time to listen to their objectives and editorial focus for the year for their magazine, blog or broadcast program. What types of content do they need? How can you best serve as a resource for them? Make notes and then follow up after the show with information they requested.
These are just a few ways you can maximize your time with industry journalists during a trade show. Taking the time to do your research and serve as a useful, credible resource for media can go a long way to building a mutually beneficial relationship.