For many PR practitioners, there seems to be a love/hate relationship with trade shows. However, it goes without saying that trade shows represent an important opportunity for clients to showcase their wares. Depending on the industry, a key trade show can take over a city. For example, each year the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) completely takes over the city of Las Vegas. Another prime example is New York Toy Fair. While historically a buying and selling showcase, February Toy Fair has elevated into a true media moment in time. 

Culled from our years of experience, we would like to share a few simple tips to ensure you and your clients are ready to go for your next trade show. 

  1. Pre-Show Support: Planning is paramount to a successful show.  Here are a few things to consider:
    1. Determine and develop all appropriate press materials (e.g. press releases, fact sheets, media invite, etc.)
    2. Consider leveraging broadcast opportunities (e.g. satellite media tours) to help advance the client’s product and message
    3. Get information to the key industry influencers so the clients product(s) are top-of-mind when they are called upon by the media for interviews 
    4. Procure the media attendee list from the previous year and develop a plan to book one-on-one media appointments with key trade, consumer and influencer outlets
    5. Create a media briefing binder including Q&A and a key messaging document to ensure all stakeholders within the organization are on the same page
    6. Develop an ongoing dialogue with the trade show PR team to leverage any organic media opportunities 
  2. On-Site Support:  This doesn’t just mean showing up to your booth. This is when all of the hard work pays off and it’s time to really shine as you showcase your products to the media.  Here are a few things to consider while on-site:
    1. Support one-on-one media tours
    2. Keep track of all of the appointments
    3. Note questions and requests from editors
    4. Maintain open lines of communication with show organizers for breaking media opportunities
    5. Coordinate product samples for various media opportunities that develop over the course of the show 
  3. Post-Show Wrap-Up:  Phew, it’s over…not quite!  Here are a few things to consider when wrapping up your trade show work:
    1. Follow up with all media attendees to determine and finalize story opportunities
    2. Distribute press materials to relevant media that did not attend the show or come to your booth
    3. Develop a final recap report, outlining all trade show event activities

Trade shows are unique in their own right. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be one step closer to orchestrating a successful event. After all, one can’t argue with the energy that fills the exhibit halls of a trade show. Many times, it’s pure adrenaline that helps us get through the long trade show days. However, once all of the coverage starts rolling in and your client is smiling from ear-to-ear, you know all of your hard work has paid off.

Brian-Murphy_preso Susan-Murphy_presoBrian and Sue Murphy are Co-Directors of Toy & Juvenile Products Practice at Coyne PR