9 Ways To Hook The Press At Your Trade Shows

Attendees at trade shows aren’t your only audience. You can reach many, many more people! How? Get the press to pay attention to what you’re doing and what your company offers.

We live in a highly digitized era and everyone is looking for their fifteen minutes of fame. That makes the bar higher for you to reach in meeting, informing and persuading members of the press.

Here are a few tips on how to make that easier:

Re-configurable Custom Exhibit -- 10 ft. inline, 20 ft. inline, and 20 ft. Island

Re-configurable Custom Exhibit — 10 ft. inline, 20 ft. inline, and 20 ft. Island

1) Plan to schedule a press appointment

A chance meeting could result in a great piece of press coverage. But don’t bet your trade show investment on that!

Plan for success instead, and schedule that meeting or press conference.

Then invite the people you want to cover your story.

2) Still, be prepared for that miracle

People do win the lottery! Reporters can sometimes be found looking for story ideas.

So follow the Boy Scout motto and Be Prepared for that chance meeting.

If you’re prepared, you can take advantage of these few minutes you have with a member of the press to convince them that you’re newsworthy.

If you’re not prepared, the opportunity is missed forever.

3) Start with a press release

Don’t wait until the show begins. It will already be too late to get started.

Instead, prepare and bring a couple of compelling press releases with you. You’ll be prepared to suggest story ideas if given the chance.

Having a visual to go with them makes it even better.

3.5) Have a Good “Face” in your trade show booth

Be darn sure to plan to have someone in the booth that can speak to the press.

They need to have the experience and knowledge to talk clearly and plainly about what you offer.

If they use quotable chunks, that’s even better!  The same tired pitch you use on everyone who passes by isn’t going to get you the attention you want.

A member of your upper management that can be quoted as an interesting and reliable source is a perfect solution!

(I once had the good fortune to work with a small company whose manager, the owner’s son, was tall, smart, knowledgeable, and intimately familiar with how the most complicated machining tools in their factory worked. He had started working in their factory machine shop in his teens, learning how to run the machinery, before heading to college. That was a great asset!)

4) Research is essential

Prior to show time, find out which news agencies will be covering the show. Check the editorial calendars available on their websites.

This way you can see what stories they’re planning for. Look for ways to combine your message with the story they’re already planning to tell.

Some industry publications publish special editions around specific trade shows. This is a great opportunity; be sure to get your message included.

Nimlok 100 x 90 custom rental trade show display

100 x 90 Custom Rental Trade Show Booth

5) What’s your hook?

Every good story has a “hook”—a concept or idea that draws readers in.

If you can find a good hook for your own story, you’re doing the reporters’ work for them, and they’ll be happy for that.

The hook can be about some impressive results. Did your product or service help a specific client? (Be sure to get the client’s approval before doing this.)

The hook could also be a notable award bestowed on your company or its products, or even a “celebrity endorsement.” (I mean someone who’s known to readers of the magazine or in the industry, not necessarily a Hollywood celebrity!)

6) Who they gonna call?

It’s not enough just to offer a press release or a person to be quoted.

Many publications have fact checkers who need to check the information in their articles, so make sure you include something to the effect of, “For more information or to schedule an interview, contact _____.”

Make sure you pick the right contact person. They need to be is well versed in the information a reporter will be looking for. They need to be available and waiting for their call.

7) Nobody cares about you

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true—especially so in the world of news making.

Reporters don’t care about you or your company. What they’re interested in is helping their readers.

If your product or service can do that, then they will pay attention.

When talking about your company, don’t do any chest thumping (bragging).

Instead, talk about how your product or service solves problems.

8) Invest in media training

Talking to reporters isn’t easy.

They’re not easily impressed. They talk to people every day.

Get some of your staffers some training:

  • Teach them how to effectively answer a reporter’s questions.
  • Teach them to simply and succinctly describe your product or service.
  • Tell them not to use industry jargon or acronyms.
  • Tell them to verbal pictures that describe the results, not the process.

9) Be proactive

Pretend that you’ve gotten some media interest at your show. Reporters have stopped by.

Maybe they picked up your press kits or talked with a representative, or even floated an idea of how they want to cover the story.

That’s all great, but it’s not enough. Don’t assume that a reporter will call you to get the most mileage out of your story.

Instead, wait a day or two and call them:

  • Ask if they need more information.
  • Offer them some added photos or videos.
  • Ask if they’d like to speak to a tech with particular expertise.

Reporters don’t like to ask for help, but if you offer to make their job easier, you just might get the coverage you’re looking for.

Trade shows are all about getting attention and capitalizing on it.

In addition to getting noticed by the press, get the attention of show visitors with a trade show booth design that helps you tell your company’s story.

Do you need help with a new trade show booth design, or banner stands, trade show carpet or other trade show supplies?

We’re happy to help you put your best foot forward; just call us at (425) 556-9511 or email [email protected].