Tradeshows are a great way to connect with potential buyers and consumers - but don’t forget about the media. Media outlets are often times attending tradeshows to learn about the latest and greatest products and services from leading companies in their niche industries. Whether your agriculture business is B2B or B2C, tradeshow media relations should be a part of your overall communications plan.
Agriculture companies need to consider setting their communication efforts higher than just setting up a booth and having a few service reps on-site to talk product. Below are a few “Tradeshow Publicity Quick Tips” to ensure that you’re getting the most visibility and outreach out of your tradeshow presence.
Develop a media list of key trade industry media contacts that you hope to connect with at the show. Make sure the list includes print, broadcast and online media outlets – including bloggers and industry influencers. Reach out to these contacts to gauge if they will be attending the show, and if they do plan to attend, invite them to stop by the booth for an interview. Scheduling interviews in advance, or having an idea of who will stop by, will help you better prepare the right information for each media outlet.
In addition to developing your own working media list for the tradeshow, be sure to reach out to the tradeshow communications representative to see if they are willing to provide you with a list of registered media attending the event. This will help you further develop your working media list and customize media outreach. Also, be sure to ask the tradeshow representative if there is an on-site media room where you can lay out news releases or press kits. (See tip #4 about creating a press kit).
Before you and your team jet set to the show, be sure to equip them with key talking points about products and services that will be highlighted or featured. By giving them a list of the latest news and information, and two to three key talking points about each feature, they will be more prepared for the media interview process. Also, it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure that members of your team are comfortable with talking to the media (this could mean an on-camera or live broadcast interview). If there is a team member who is not comfortable with being in the spotlight, don’t put him or her there.
Creating a press kit (or media kit) is an easy first step to providing the media with news and information on your latest products. If you have a significant marketing budget, you may want to consider branded tote bags stuffed with a media tchotchke or gift, a folder with printed hard copies of news releases, fact sheets and media contact information as well as a flash drive with electronic copies of news releases, etc. If you have a lighter marketing budget and can’t spare the cost of tote bags and little extras, a flash drive with electronic copies of news and information or a folder with hard copies is all you need. Be sure to provide the media with the kit as soon as they visit your booth. Also, don’t forget to display a few extra press kits in the media room (if available).
Now that you have the media reporter/editor/broadcaster at the booth, and you’ve given them a rundown on all the wonderful ventures that are going on with your company, offer them the opportunity to conduct a one-on-one interview with your key spokespeople. Setting up interviews in advance should allow you to schedule with your team to make sure the right people are present at the right time.
Hold a press conference at your booth to announce the launch of new products and invite the media to attend. Coordinate an on-site or off-site media breakfast/lunch/dinner to thank the media for working hard at the tradeshow. Look into opportunities to sponsor the media room and/or other areas that are for media only. Hold a media mixer to introduce key members of your team. Create a fun learning environment and allow the media to test-drive your company’s latest and greatest.
Tradeshows are a great way to connect with everyone in your industry, including media. Think beyond the customer handshake. Media relations strategy is a very cost-effective approach and is critical to supporting and sustaining brand, campaign and product awareness and outreach. Work on developing and fostering your relationships with the media. The next time someone is writing a story on weed control or the latest combine, they just might call you.