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Trade Show PR. How to Use Public Relations at Trade Shows and Events.

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

Trade shows and special events are excellent opportunities not only to promote and sell but to build awareness and positive reputations, connect with key industry leaders, and share your business or brand’s story.

Whether you’re planning on investing in an exhibit at a trade show or you hope to host a special industry event, PR plays a crucial role in its execution, whether your intention is to gain exposure or network with relevant consumers, competitors, and industry representatives.

To conclude this comprehensive book on the fundamentals of public relations, we’ll be sharing how YOU as a consumer brand or business can succeed and thrive in a trade show or special event environment.

Tips for Using PR at Trade Shows & Events

Whether digital or in-person, trade shows and special events require a tremendous amount of effort and due diligence; the preparation alone can be seen as a full-time job at times.

What you’ll learn, however, is that PR doesn’t only occur before these shows and events. Instead, they’re a requirement before, during, AND after such events.

In any case, public relations, when executed effectively, has proven extremely beneficial for building brand reputation, sharing positive stories, networking, and reaching desirable targeted audiences.

The following are several invaluable tips for using public relations tactics at trade shows and special events. This advice goes for those working in the electronics, technology, and consumer products industries or otherwise.

Set Clear Goals

Walking into a trade show or special event blindly is a recipe for disaster, or at the very least, failure. By setting clear goals, however, and defining what PR success looks like to you, you’ll have a much better strategic approach, ultimately becoming more prepared than you otherwise would have been.

Whether through social media engagement, the buzz generated, or contacts gathered, identify your goal(s) and proceed accordingly.

Create a PR Strategy

Once you’ve identified the attendants of the trade show or event, both from a consumer standpoint AND from a media personnel standpoint, it’s important to curate a PR strategy comprising scheduled meetings, client outreach, media pitching, branding, sponsorships, and otherwise.

Whatever your strategy, be sure to have one. Not only will this strategy prepare you for upcoming conversations, but it will help you curate the intended messaging for your booth should you have one.

Begin the Conversion Far in Advance

Whether organically on social media, communication outreach via email/text/call, paid advertisements, or website promotion, beginning the conversation surrounding your news announcement or brand message far in advance of the event will set your PR strategy up for success.

Similarly, once the conversation gets started, be sure to engage with the media outlets, influencers, and consumers alike. Not only will this help you create more buzz around the event, but it will help you reach a wider audience than you would have otherwise.

Gather Contacts and Follow Up!

Finally, once the event is underway, it’s important to remain active. In other words, while you might be tempted to finally sit back and allow your booth and past preparation to do the talking, it’s imperative that you use that preparation to springboard in-person conversations.

Network, gather valuable contact information whether it be from bloggers, journalists, media buyers, influencers, or reporters, schedule a follow-up, and be sure to follow up with each and every one of them! While not all will translate to being a convertible lead, even if a small percentage does, the trade show or event will have been a success.

A Final Word

Trade shows and events, whether in person or virtual, are both extremely opportune moments to capture new leads, generate greater awareness, reach wider audiences, and network with valued media personnel.

That is if you approach it with the right PR strategy.

By preparing ahead of time to thrive before, during, and after the trade show or special event has occurred, and aligning your approach with sales, marketing, and branding tactics in mind, your PR will play a fundamental role in your success.

In short, PR efforts are an effective means of maximizing your efforts at trade shows and special events; don’t allow the moment go to waist!

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