This is a guest blog post written by Tom Groenfeldt
As a reporter covering finance and technology, I get to my share of trade shows. I am often surprised at how unprepared exhibitors are for writers who might get them free press.
|Photo by Tom Groenfeldt|
Quick follow-up pays offSo I step up to a trade show booth and identify myself by whichever publications I am writing for at the time and the most that the exhibitor has at their booth is a product brochure (you can improve a booth pretty easily today with video displays, or even just an iPad). I swap cards with a sales guy and often two or three months later I get a call, as has happened with HP a couple of times.
I am sitting in my home office with a MacBook Air in front of me and a couple of dogs for company, and the telephone sales rep asks if I want to buy a server. Yeah, most days I am not in the market, and I wonder if they can’t read the information on the card I gave them. And, of course, I never do hear from the PR people.
I know trade shows are a pain and preparations often run right up to opening -- I have seen the booth people at Kinko’s running off the promo materials that didn’t get approved until an hour before. And I realize that in tight budget times it’s not going to be possible to take a press person along for every show.
How about having one or two booth people with some basic instructions – like knowing how to take a business card and jot a note on it about specific interests so the PR team has something to work with. Maybe have some press packs with the latest news, preferably on a USB stick. And take a look at press and sales followup. That should get done within a week or 10 days after the show’s end.
Don't get cheap about your trade show giveawaysReporters are just as keen on trade show giveaways like T-shirts, stuffed animals or travel mugs as any other visitor, and they have the potential to give you some good coverage. You’ve paid a lot for your participation in the show, try to get some new press contacts and fresh coverage out of it.
financial technology at Forbes. He's a regular contributor to the Peninsula Pulse, an independent newspaper in Door County, Wisconsin.