Trade shows are a hard way to develop deep media relationships.
Every typical trade show I’ve been to as an editor/reporter over the last decade place typically translates to a 25 minute briefing, starting when the show floor opens, then running off to the next meeting until the show floor closes. And I’ve been to more than my share: CES, (classic) VON, IT Expo, VoiceCon, InterOp, NAB, plus some others left out for brevity.
Twenty-five minutes is just enough time to say hello, go through a briefing deck — if it is carefully prepared — and wrap-up.
By the end of the day, especially if it’s a bigger show in Vegas, I’m feeling run down, footsore, and trying to figure out what I’m going to write and/or post for the evening and I’ve packed in at least a dozen meetings.
More intimate hospitality events, such as small group dinners, are a decent way to get quality time with media. Larger parties tend to be more crowded, loud, and more networking focused; hard to do a deep dive on issues with techno or the best of the ’90s blaring on the speakers.
If you want to really get a story across, have a good story (step 1) and make the time to tell the story in a comfortable, non-pressure environment. It gives the time for both the message and the messenger to soak in… sometimes literally.
Inviting a senior editor (preferably editors, might as well deliver the same message to a dozen or so people all at one) to visit you on your home turf gives your company the chance to showcase its strengths (facilities, technology, tech support) and people. Done correctly, it leaves a lasting impression.
“Home turf” can be either your headquarters or your user group meeting. A user group meeting with a dedicated press track can provide the opportunity to provide face time with senior executives, intro media to key clients willing to provide customer testimonials, and provide some depth to an editor/reporter’s understanding of your company.