By: Scott Emerine

Have you ever exhibited at a trade show and you feel like a small company in a sea of large companies?  Have you ever felt like your press release is one of a million?  You are not alone.  That isolated feeling is one that many companies experience when trying to tout their brand message at international trade shows.  Strategic public relations can help alleviate that feeling.  Over the past decade Branding Iron has found three strategies that enable clients’ messages to be heard at trade shows.

The New Product Introduction

Editors and writers are hungry for new content.  New product releases may sound cliché, but it is how you present the message that matters most.  Introducing a new widget is not a big deal.  Introducing a new widget that no one else has or that does something that no one else’s widget can do is important.  Deadlines are always tight, so give the media advance notice that you will have a release about a product.  Let them know what it is and why it is important.  Prepare high-resolution images and video if possible in advance of the release.  Your goal is to make the member of the media’s job as easy as possible. Be sure you know their deadlines and help them not feel the crunch of tight schedules.  Sending embargoed release months in advance of a show can help obtain coverage before the deluge of releases that are issued during a show.  Sending the press release in advance of the show can also prove useful if you let readers know that the NEW product will be at the show for attendees to see.

The Milestone/Event

Company milestones can also be a source of interesting news at tradeshows.  If a company has sold their 500th unit to a specific company or overall, make a big deal.  Hire a photographer.  Prepare statements from company executives.  Have a formal recognition award made and present it to your customer’s customer.  Photos always help.  Scheduling a time when members of the media can ask their own questions and take their own photos at a booth during a show can also enhance media coverage.

The Contract

Announcing contracts is another cliché at tradeshows when it is not done correctly.  Not every company signs deals for $40 million or 500 units etc.  So how do you overcome the cliché? Timing is critical.  Instead of waiting to issue a release at the tradeshow where coverage can be engulfed by larger companies’ announcements, send it a week prior to the show.  End the release with your booth information at the show.  Supply the name of the person that will be at a show for people to talk with.  It sounds simply, and it is.  Top of mind awareness is always good prior to a show.  Attendees often go to a customer’s booth and say, I just read about your new contract last week, or I heard about your new deal with company so and so.  For more PR tips and tricks be sure to visit our blog in the future.