It’s the height of the Spring conference and trade show season and marketing teams are humming. In April, for example PAN had teams working on HIMSS in Chicago, RSA in San Francisco, NAB in Las Vegas and BIO-IT World in Boston. A host of other conferences, including adtech, are around the corner. We thought it would be useful to identify a few winning PR strategies to maximize their presence at conferences and trade shows.
Engage Early. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin engaging media and influencers. These should be relationships your brand fosters long before the start of an event; the event is the opportunity to connect socially, but it should not be the first and cannot be the last (until the next event). And make the meetings you do have worth their while—supply news tidbits, ideas and research—and even information that may be tangential to your brand but relevant to your industry. Do the media a solid-they know you want something from them—give them something in return. And be ready for them-assign a person in your booth to be the facilitators of meetings with the media and influencers. And definitely don’t ignore the bloggers—they may be small, but their influence can be mighty. Treat them as a valued connection.
Image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cydcor/ used under CC license
Breaking Good. If you have news to break and the conference is the appropriate time to publicize it, go for it. But don’t get lost in the din. Realize others can overshadow your news. Prevent this from happening by tying your news into a larger breaking news story or trend that is being discussed at the event. This makes you a more compelling “get” for media and influencers to talk to.
Everyone Get Social. Take advantage of social media, pre, during and post an event. Find out if there is a hashtag associated with the event and use it. Post relevant observations, research and news that supports your brand’s efforts. Attend the keynotes at the event and live tweet using the hashtag. Encourage visitors to your booth or speaking events to engage with your own brand’s Twitter handle. Ensure your company—both those attending and those not—know about the hashtags and encourage them to share content. Consider a platform like HootSuite to help manage your Twitter engagement.
Blog Early and Often. Pre-event, create blog posts on subjects pertinent to the event and share them over your social channels. Do this several times during the weeks leading up to the event to create excitement about your company, and among your customers, influencers and media. It also gets you out on the offensive vis’ a vis’ your competitors that are attending the same event.
Video and Survey. Quick, down and dirty videos and surveys represent some of the most digestible types of content your brand can utilize. Assign a few people at the conference to conduct spot video “man on the street” interviews about subjects related to your brand and the conference and then post them on social media channels. Also consider live surveying customers in real time on subjects being discussed at the conference and issue the results in real time across your social channels. Customer surveys can also be used to strengthen the connection with your customers.
It’s never too early to build relationships and start new conversations. Experiment with different channels for exposure to different targets. Now, all there is left to do is get out there and start getting social!