Whether you’re headed to Dreamforce or SXSW, exhibiting at a trade show provides the unique opportunity to surround your tech start-up or scale-up with industry leaders and media who are looking to grow and share their insight. Which begs the question: How do you make sure that your company hits their radar?
As a B2B PR agency that specializes in media relations, our team frequently works with clients to help them get more out of their trade show experience. Before you book your next event, make sure you’ve reviewed these tips for a successful B2B trade show:
1. Establish your reason for attending
Before making the decision to attend or exhibit at a big trade show, establish what you’re looking to get out of the event. Trade shows can be used to help build relationships with media and analysts, preview or launch new offerings, build thought leadership through speaking opportunities, and generate new business leads. Whatever your goal may be, make sure that the event is the right fit and determine how you will measure ROI post-event.
2. Coordinate and connect before the show
Don’t go into this experience blind! Be informed as to what events and speaking sessions are taking place on the days or times you are attending. When exhibiting, research the exhibitor list so that you know your placement and surroundings. If you’re hoping to speak with members of the media or to give them demos at your booth, work with your PR team to request a list of press attending the show (pre-registered press list) from the event organizer at least a month prior to the show. Use that list to select media you absolutely want to talk to during the show and reach out as soon as possible to get a one-on-one meeting scheduled at your desired location.
3. Be proactive with awards or speaking engagements
While you may get the perfect opportunity to pitch your tech company or product to an ideal prospect at your booth, another opportunity to stand out from the crowd and increase visibility is through speaking engagements or awards. Lead times vary for different events, and sometimes opportunities to submit to speak at events close as far as a year in advance. As soon as your team registers or otherwise makes plans to attend, research award opportunities and what the speaking nomination process entails to make sure you don’t miss out.
4. Keep tabs on social media
Wondering what products, people or events are causing buzz at a trade show that you’re attending? Many events designate an official hashtag for use on Twitter — find it, monitor the hashtag and use it in your communication at the show. This is a great way not only to connect with guests and industry leaders and share relevant news or updates about your own booth, but also to see what the media is talking about in terms of trends and announcements from the show floor.
5. Don’t forget to bring your PR team
While attending a trade show is an exciting opportunity to network, learn, and grow, it can also be a bit intimidating — especially if it’s your first time exhibiting. Your PR team, those same people who are likely to set meetings ahead of the show, should be prepared to coordinate face-to-face editor meetings, make introductions to analyst and media contracts who may be having their first experience with your brand, engage with journalists who may have opted not to set a meeting and give demos or overviews of your company’s offerings to both press and show attendees.
They can also offer immediate media relations feedback while monitoring and maximizing the press coverage each day of the show. This coverage can run pre-, during and post-show, so having a PR contact follow-up with all members of the press and provide them with press kits, high-res images, products for review will help your company stand out.
Exhibiting at a trade show is a big investment, especially for tech start-ups and scale-ups, but the proper communication, planning and execution can help make these events worth your while.
About the Author
Jake Doll is an account executive at BLASTmedia, a national B2B technology PR agency specializing in media relations, content creation and thought leadership.
These articles have been curated by our friends at BLASTmedia, a national PR agency focusing on media relations for B2B technology companies.