Trade shows are a staple in the PR world. At some point in your PR career, you’ve participated in or attended a trade show and seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Each show is filled with long hours on your feet and countless trips back and forth to the showroom floor.

TV coverage is still king so keep these tips in mind when you’re trying to secure coverage at a trade show:

  • Research and understand each station’s programming—Do they have a morning show? Do they do live remotes or just hard news?
  • It’s all about great visuals for TV. Show and tell is the key. Limit talking heads.
  • Make sure talent has TV experience and advise on proper attire for the interview
  • Provide key messages when available and don’t forget to brief talent on the station and reporter’s background
  • Remind talent to always mention website and/or any other product or subsequent information
  • Remember things change quickly in the TV world
    • Segments make get cut or substantially reduced because of breaking news

When responsible for a trade show’s press room, it is key to target the right press for your trade show and recommend the following:

  • Understand your market
    • Know who the big players are and the key outlets
    • Create targeted media lists
    • Become familiar with the journalists and their work
      • Understand their beats
    • Don’t rely completely on generic media lists
    • Develop and foster relationships with the media
    • Utilize the quiet room with a step & repeat banner for one on one interviews
    • Provide B-roll, photos or any resource material for journalists
    • Set up any follow up interviews, etc. and provide quotable sources

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to attend many different tradeshows and manage their press room. In doing so, I’ve found a few things that should help you establish the ultimate press room:

  • Be organized! Have a streamlined process to check-in media quickly and efficiently
  • Take the opportunity to really connect with members of the media to develop long-term relationships for the future
  • Be a resource for the media
    • Provide list of speakers/times, sponsor and exhibitor information and trade show maps
    • Provide access to talent via press conferences, one-on-one interviews or another format that fits the tradeshow format
    • Assist top tier media in securing on-site interviews
      • Provide exclusives when available
    • Provide an area for members of the media to conduct one on one interviews (Step and repeat banner for photos/videos)
    • Provide a workable press room that includes:
      • Plenty of workspace areas
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi
      • Water, sodas and snacks
      • Charging stations for laptops and cell phones
      • Extra materials like pens, notebooks, jump drives
    • Provide press materials from sponsors, exhibitors and speakers

Keep in mind everything is a learning process. Some things may work better than others. It’s important to be flexible and always look for ways to up your game. Be sure to debrief at the end and establish valuable key learnings. Happy trade show season!