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As a number of our account teams are in the midst of preparing for the upcoming trade exhibitions, I’m working through my own checklist to ensure nothing gets missed or overlooked while juggling these preparations with the rest of my everyday tasks. And, with the start of 2012 especially proving extra busy with a few key shows and other pre-exhibition events, including FESPA Digital, the drupa International Media Conference and drupa 2012 in the next few months to name just a few – having this checklist is proving more important than before.
Our clients are making a substantial investment to exhibit at the specific show in the first place, so from a PR perspective we naturally want to ensure that they maximise their return on investment.
So, what’s on my checklist?
Although every exhibition organiser, as well as its media partners, will offer a range features that we will investigate and follow-up on as appropriate, there are a number of other points which is always a good starting point to ensure the essential PR opportunities are covered:
1. Show preview: Most journalists need this around three months before the exhibition to prepare their preview issues, which visitors often review in detail to plan what exhibitors they would like to visit during their time at the show.
2. Press conference: If a client plans to make a major corporate or technology announcement during the show, the best way to do this might be by way of a press conference or other media event.
3. Technology Reports: A large number of exhibition organisers will commission one of its media partners to produce reports or handbooks on the different technologies exhibited. These reports are often drafted three to six months before the show, so we ensure that we speak to the relevant people in time to discuss our clients’ technologies and how it could fit with the various reports.
4. Daily Newspaper: Although the largest proportion of copy will be drafted the day before publication, the editors are usually planning and commissioning interviews and longer articles months in advance.
5. Conference programme & speaking opportunities for clients: If the exhibition organisers are running a conference programme in conjunction with the show, chances are they might be looking for speakers in the different subjects.
6. One-to-one meetings with the media: In addition to doing a press conference – or in some cases it might even be better to do this instead of a press conference – an exhibition is a perfect opportunity to give a number of journalists a detailed brief on a one-to-one basis within a short space of time. The journalists will need to be contacted a few weeks – if not months – in advance to set up a meeting before they’ve filled their diaries for their time at the show.
7. Press packs: Even if a client decides not to invest in any of the above points, having a press pack is essential as it might be the company’s only chance to brief the media about the company, products, etc. A press pack will also provide them the information and images they need to write a story after the show.
So, while our customers are working through a checklist of their own to prepare for the upcoming shows, I will continue to review the list above and add other opportunities as they arise. And, although the checklist will never be complete, at least I know it sets me well on my way to prepare for the next trade show!