By Sandra Mason, AEM Director of Public Relations

Media RelationsTrade shows can be a great use of your media relations budget, but only if you fully take advantage of the media presence at the show. At CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 and IFPE 2020, there will be hundreds of relevant journalists on site, and there will be clear opportunities to develop useful relationships to benefit your organization and the new products you will be introducing at the show.

However, in the weeks leading up to the event, they will be inundated with enquiries. If they don’t have a reason to cover you or your client, they’ll most likely just be annoyed by your email, consigning you to the spam pile when you do have something they might want to cover later.

In my 20-plus years of doing media relations for various organizations, there are a few tried and true pro tips that I’d like to share with you to make the most of your media relations budget and get the best return on your investment.

1.  Start early.

As mentioned above, journalists will be receiving hundreds of enquiries in the weeks leading up to a show. So how do you stand out? Start early. Like today…or really next week (after you get your ducks in a row).

A sound public relations (PR) principle is to build goodwill far in advance. An effective way to do that is to build relationships through content before a show even begins. For this reason, it’s a good idea to plan and weave in relationship building content into your editorial calendar to be published in the months leading up to the show.

              Some examples of tasks to consider include:

  • Writing a news release announcing you will be exhibiting at the show and share any insights on the new and interesting items that will be in your booth. This includes new products, demonstrations, celebrity appearances, or other events that are open to the media/attendees.
  • Previewing any presentations your business is providing at the show.
  • Conducting interviews with customers planning to attend the show.
  • Conducting interviews with the people at your organization who have worked on new products that will be featured.
  • Writing a Q&A with your CEO or other key executives with predictions for key issues impacting your business and the industry.
  • Creating bios of subject matter experts at your organization who can comment on various industry topics.
  • Scan editorial calendars of relevant publications for your organization.

In addition to sending this information out to the media you should also post the information to your online newsroom.

2. Prep your spokespeople.

A few key tips include:

  • Preparing five to six key bullet points and supporting materials that help tell your story.
  • Completing a dress rehearsal. Practice as much as you can. Have people ask you questions on the subject matter to practice how your answers will sound. Answer questions out loud using gestures and body language that you would use as if you were speaking in front of an audience.
  • Using words that create a picture in the journalists’ minds and stay away from using a passive tone with your words. Use active verb tenses.
  • Preparing sound bites. Answers should generally be about 15 seconds in length, which will give the reporter sound bites or quotes they are looking for.
  • Remembering that your interview will get edited, so it's important to keep the context of the interviews in mind and craft your answers in as simple and straightforward a manner as possible.

3. Consider Submitting Content to CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365. 

In addition to the traditional media, consider submitting content to the 365 Construction News https://www.conexpoconagg.com/news/ for consideration. While we cannot accept press releases, we can consider bogs or articles on relevant topics. A few tips include:

  • Remaining conversational in tone
  • Providing value to the contractor audience and not being promotional in nature.
  • Taking the opportunity to reach out for more information and answers to questions. 

4. Share your booth plans with AEM. 

AEM's trade show PR and marketing team, as well as its Tech Experience team, are currently soliciting information about your booth at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. This information will be:

  • Shared with the media (who have requested the information) beginning in August and updated monthly until the show. This will help the media better plan onsite stories, as well as additional coverage leading up to the show.
  • Our marketing team is also looking for information for special promotional opportunities.
  • Our Tech Experience team is looking for possibly showcase celebrity speakers at your booth as part of a Tech Talk within the Tech Experience. Your company will be listed and mentioned as a supporting partner.

The form can be found here. And keep in mind, you can update it as needed over the next few months.

5. Dedicate a person to media relations.

If you don’t currently have a person or a team of people dedicated to media relations, I’d strongly recommend doing so. Another good option would be to hire a freelancer or a marketing agency that has a strong background in trade shows or off-road equipment. I guarantee it will be money well spent.

For more information about CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, visit www.conexpoconagg.com. For more information about IFPE 2020, visit www.ifpe.com

Subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor for more news about AEM-owned trade shows. 

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