5 Tips for Navigating Trade Show Press

Participating in an industry trade show can be an excellent tactic for getting your company, product or service in front of a targeted group of key influencers. While trade show participants most certainly understand the importance of having a presence on the show floor, many feel at a loss when it comes to interacting with the dozens of industry media who attend these shows.


To ensure that your company is a hit with media at your next trade show event, try following these five tips for navigating trade show press.

  1. Ask the event organizer for a list of confirmed media one month prior to the trade show: When reporters attend a trade show, they are tasked with squeezing in dozens of interviews, events, and other related activities into a span of just a few days. Needless to say, their trade show schedules tend to fill up rather quickly. In order to make sure your event or announcement gets on a reporter’s radar before it’s too late, start reaching out to them with details one month prior to the trade show. This will not only ensure that you get on their calendar, but it also gives you an idea of which media outlets are interested in your product/service/event before the trade show even starts.
  2. Spend time researching the attending media you are not familiar with: An important factor in navigating trade show press is understanding which reporters are actually interested in your announcement or product. Trade shows can draw media from a variety of industries and locations, so be conscious of who you are sending an invitation to, and whether or not it makes sense to do so.
  3. Consider hosting a media Q&A session: While the success of this tactic is dependent upon your reason for being at the trade show (e.g. you have an important company announcement to make), hosting a media Q&A session with your company’s spokesperson(s) is an excellent way to get multiple media outlets to your trade show booth at one time, and to provide them with the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about your announcement.
  4. Consider NOT hosting a media Q&A session: If you are at a trade show because it is an important event in your industry but you don’t actually have a new product to unveil or an announcement to make, do not host a media Q&A session. Instead, try scheduling one-on-one interviews with reporters while they are at the trade show to get them some face time with your CEO or update them on what’s to come from your company. This also applies to larger trade shows, such as CES and SXSW, which draw hundreds of members of the media who are usually swamped with appointments. Finding a time to speak with reporters that works best for their schedule, rather than allotting a specific time for a Q&A session, is the best way to ensure coverage at these large-scale events.
  5. Remember to follow up: Just like any form of media pitching, never let one announcement at a trade show be the end of your communication with a reporter. Following up via email with extra media materials (e.g. press release, photos, etc.) and a quick ‘thank you’ note is the key securing placements following your trade show event.

Preparing for trade shows can be stressful, but with these tips (and some help from a professional media relations specialist), navigating trade show press doesn’t have to be.