public relations just for big companies at large shows that have a
dedicated PR consultant? When Steve Jobs or Bill Gates speak, everyone
listens, but donít let the size
of their budget discourage you. The
media is constantly on the lookout for interesting stories, and not just
the ones everyone else is covering. Being big is not the panacea
Being prepared with a well thought-out plan is.
are a great place to initiate a PR campaign. Whether it is the major news
outlets that will attend large international shows or regional publications,
cable or local
media at a regional or community show, the media will be there.
One word of
caution; there are no guarantees with the media. The best made plans and
promises can be easily derailed when an earth shattering global issue suddenly
and captures the headlines. But with a little planning and
execution, your chances of landing valuable PR will rise dramatically.
online encyclopaedia Wikipedia defines public relations as ďthe
practice of managing communication between an organization and its public.Ē PR
therefore provides corporations
and associations an opportunity to build and
maintain rapport with various stakeholders including employees, customers,
investors, voters, and the general public. There is a lot at stake.
steps to set your PR efforts on the right path.
- Piggyback onto the PR that your show
organizer is arranging. At some large shows there might be a media room where
the media meets and browses corporate literature. At smaller
shows the media may
be invited to participate in a press conference, opening ceremonies, or
hospitality breaks. Whatever the case, talking to your show organizer to learn
media plans will give you insights into ideas that can be initiated in
conjunction with the show organizer or on your own.
- Massage your message. The media is not
interested in spending hours leafing through all of your corporate literature.
You need to focus on issues that their readers/viewers will
be most interested
in learning about. Each media contact may appeal to a different audience so its
important to ensure your message is appropriate to the media person you are
sending it to. Often they are simply interested in reporting a new product or
- Create a news release. This one page
(typed, double-spaced) document is what the media will read first. If your news
release captures their attention they might be motivated to
learn more, if your
news release falls flat it will be discarded.
Your news release should be structured to include the following:
- The headline. This one line statement
should get to the point quickly and stand out from the rest of the copy.
- Answer the questions: who, what, where,
when, and why in the first few paragraphs. Donít try to write the story for the
journalist, rather give enough information for them to
make an informed decision
as to whether they think your story is worth telling.
- Include a photo when possible.
- Donít forget to include contact
information. They need to know who to speak to and where you will be situated in
- Create a media kit. This kit will include
your news release as well as photographs, company literature, and detailed
product information. The completed kit can be sent ahead of
time to specific
journalists and placed in the media room at the show. Also keep a supply at your
- Focus your media contacts. If you can
obtain a media list from your show organizer or have developed one on your own,
pick those journals, web sites, newsletters, magazines, etc,
that attract your
- Personalize your approach. There is nothing
wrong with calling first to let the contact know that you will be sending them
some information about a new product or service and that
you will be
participating in an upcoming show. After you have sent information to those
media personnel that you have chosen, follow up to make sure they received it
and to see if
you can gain a commitment from them to stop by your booth.
- Develop a relationship with the media.
Media personnel are like everyone else, they donít want to be pressured or
hassled so walk that fine line between good follow-up and
The other issue is to become a source of information. They may ask you questions
or for contacts that may have nothing to do with your PR objective.
If you can
become a source of information, you may not have achieved your short-term goal
but a solid relationship has excellent long-term benefits.
- Keep vigilant. Train your booth staff to be
on the look-out for media as they pass-by your booth. They will be wearing a
designated media badge.
A public relations campaign is
an important tool for most companies and organizations. Trade shows offer an
amazing opportunity to sharpen your PR skills and develop relationships
media. The investment in developing a PR approach is relatively small and the
payoff can be huge