After almost two decades in the industry, I’ve seen the fast-paced world of public relations change drastically. I’m not even kidding that I used to fax press releases and media alerts to my clients’ entire media list. My team doesn’t believe me, by the way. But it’s true…our discipline has evolved considerably. However, one thing remains— face-to-face time with the media is one of the most effective ways to build trust, get stories placed and provide value to your clients.
Emails, phone calls and social media correspondence is still (and probably always will be unless someone invents teleportation soon) an efficient and productive way to pitch and get stories placed. But if you want to develop a good rapport with the media you pitch on an ongoing basis, get your butt to a trade show!
Industry trade shows and events bring everything and everyone to one convenient place for you to do your business. Tell your stories, set-up interviews, inquire about upcoming needs, introduce your top people-persons, show them your pizzazz and (in your most helpful way) offer up your assistance to get the job done, and done well. It’s pretty simple—do what PR folks do best and steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go.
Overall you need to prove your worth, and from my experience trade shows and events can be filled with opportunities if you know how to set the stage (prior to the event), where to be, when to be there, how to provide value and how best to follow-up.
So I basically just gave you the secret code for PR trade show success. Here it is again in case you missed it:
- Plan ahead, reach out, provide story ideas and set up interviews
- Be on time, be professional, come prepared
- Have ideas ready to share, suggest content based on audience, know the proper timing, offer to help
- Follow-up with additional story ideas and interviews based on your meetings, ask for deadlines and be helpful (and not annoying)
Doing trade shows and events right can bring an abundance of PR joy. From new friendships and trusted relationships with the media to happy clients, feature stories and ongoing content placement. It’s a win-win.