Tips for using conventions as a springboard for coverage

Don’t waste your time booking a ticket unless you thoroughly research journalists you’d like to reach, have a social media strategy in place and are prepared to add value for attendees.

It’s essential to see eye to eye—literally—with your business associates.

We increasingly live our lives online and through screens, but handshakes, eye contact and face-to-face conversations remain a crucial part of doing business.

Conventions, events and conferences remain fertile ground for meeting new customers, winning accounts and solidifying relationships, but you must have a plan to succeed.

Here are tips to make sure you and your team hit the convention hall running:

  • Request the press list . Many shows provide a press list of credentialed journalists who will attend the show. If you can, grab the list so you can identify prime connections.
  • Divide and conquer the press list. If the list is massive, you’d need divine intervention to contact every credentialed media member. Divvy up the list with your colleagues to prevent duplicated effort and to maximize efficiency.
  • Do your research. Do you know anything about the journalists you hope to connect with? How about the publications they represent? Don’t waste a reporter’s time. Read their work, and make sure you’re aware of exactly what they cover.
  • Play to individual strengths. Ideally, you have several spokespeople who can each speak to different areas of the business. If you can, spread the interview wealth so each person can play to their specific strengths and expertise.
  • Make sure you have thumb drives. There isn’t a journalist alive who wants to lug around your press materials all day. Make it easy on them by offering a thumb drive containing your content.
  • The chase is on. Don’t be afraid to chase down a camera crew or photojournalist to make sure they have background info on the footage they’re shooting. Many of these folks are on site shooting b-roll to show on air as the anchors handle the voiceovers.
  • Give them something they can use. Make sure all appropriate contacts and outlets have a copy of your press release. Even if you can’t score a meeting, a journalist might reference your announcement in their event roundup.
  • Be an early riser. One of our clients exhibits at a large pop-culture convention each year. The broadcast crews at this event love us—not because we have world-saving products or because the VP is famous—every year we are willing to get up very early to be on the morning news. The earliest bird often scores the coverage worm.
  • Use social media before, during and after the show. Make sure you delegate beforehand who will be responsible for what. If you don’t, the social media ball will get dropped. Use social media to strike while the iron’s hot and memories are fresh.
  • Follow up. After the event, contact journalists you connected with to see if they require additional information for their stories. Try to be of service—not a pest.

There are many ways to generate coverage beyond the email pitch. Use the tips above to make conventions, shows and events worth your time.

A version of this post first appeared on The Frame Shop blog.

Topics: PR

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