August. Peak summer. The weather has been glorious and school holidays are well underway. But, at Missive HQ we are looking ahead to events season and an incredibly busy second half of 2018. Trade shows, conferences and events offer a chance to increase brand exposure, to ultimately raise awareness and drive leads. So, if your marketing team has decided to invest in event sponsorship or a stand, it is likely you are starting to give some thought as to how you can help your company stand out.
But with every other exhibitor and your competitors vying for the same end goal, can you do? How do you drive business results through PR at industry events?
At Missive, we help tech companies plan and execute communications strategies to maximise exposure at events.
Here are some top tips to secure impactful PR results at industry events from the Missive team:
1. Start planning now
It’s 32 degrees outside and the sun is calling you away from your desk – we get it. But the sooner you start planning your big event, the better chance you have for success. For larger events like Sibos, MWC and CES, journalist schedules book up three months in advance, so it’s important to get in early.
If you’re not sure what to expect from MWC, you can read Louisa Merrett’s, post rounding up this year’s Mobile World Congress. Louisa outlines the standout stories from the event and reflects that the smartphone race is increasingly one of marginal gains.
2. Consider your news pipeline
What do you have coming up in your corporate news pipeline that you can push back or bring forward to coincide with your chosen event? If it’s big enough news, announcing it at the event will give you access to some of your industry’s most prominent media. If your story isn’t big enough, however, consider distributing the week in advance with a view to following up with journalists during the event. This approach makes column inches achievable while still giving you something to talk about on the big day.
3. Work around journalist schedules
Tech journalists are in hot demand at big industry events. Think about how you can fit in seamlessly with their schedules to offer something useful in exchange for that all-important interaction. Hosting your own ‘event within the event’ can be a good way to do this – with cocktails and canapés at your booth in the afternoon a classic example. Other tactics we’ve found work well include taking chosen journalists out for a high quality breakfast in the morning before delivering them in a chauffeur-driven vehicle to the event in time for the 9:30 keynote.
4. Have fun
Think creatively about how you can engage with delegates – and no, we don’t just mean a raffle for an iPad (although that can work surprisingly well). Anything that engenders a sense of fun or humour breaks through the conference floor monotony, acting as a welcome relief that can do wonders for your brand. Clients have implemented conference floor treasure hunts, and ‘buzz word bingo’ via Twitter using branded bingo cards, all to great success. Think about what you can do to add to the event experience.
5. Think from afar
Just because you don’t have a physical presence at an event, doesn’t mean you can’t use it for your own, personal gain. Sibos in Sydney this year is a long and expensive trip. Events are a platform for the great and good from your industry to discuss the biggest trends of the day, offering plenty of fodder to fuel your thought leadership and content. Comment and news hijacking opportunities will be in abundance: do you have an opinion on that big industry research piece? Do you disagree with statements made by the show keynote? Think creatively to build a narrative that you can push out around the event.
Industry events are a buzz of activity as delegates rush from one appointment to the next through to the after-show party and then getting up to do it all again the next day. The key to success is planning, planning and then planning some more – down to the smallest detail so that you’re well prepared. Thinking things through in advance will also give you the ability to step outside the booth-shaped box to do something different – whether that’s executing a PR strategy or on-the-floor marketing activation – to enable you to cut through the noise.
Exhibiting at an event in 2018 and not sure how to leverage PR and media activity in advance of the show? Get in touch with our award winning PR experts. We would love to discuss how we can maximise your investment through media coverage, content for lead gen or for stand multimedia and brochure content.