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August 25, 2016
Exhibiting at a Trade Show? Consider a Press Conference.
Zhana Veleska

Trade shows are usually among the top lead-generation events each year for companies, and it’s important for B2B marketers to take great care with the booth design, events, and pre-, during- and post-show marketing.

When a company is ready to make a major announcement, like introducing a new product, a press conference is another vital trade show tactic.

A perfect example of this was the unveiling of MGP Ingredients’ Non-GMO Project Verified status at the annual Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Conference and Exposition last month in Chicago. More than 23,000 top research and development professionals as well as other decision-makers in the food ingredient, food equipment and food supply industries participated in the show.

MGP, the largest U.S. supplier of specialty wheat proteins and starches, turned to CBD Marketing’s public relations team to create awareness around the announcement, motivate trade media interest in the news and drive traffic to MGP’s IFT booth. CBD and MGP decided hosting a press conference at the show was the best way to build awareness and connect with media.

Based on our experience at the standing-room-only MGP press conference at IFT and many others, here are five important items to keep in mind when planning a media event at a trade show:

1. Reserve a space.

Most industry trade shows provide a designated media conference room onsite where exhibitors can host press events. This space is the best spot to host your press conference because it’s likely much bigger than your booth and is generally equipped with all the necessary items you’ll need: a presentation screen and podium, audio capabilities, and seating. Contact the trade show management team to schedule your event as early as possible to secure your space before availability is limited.

Bonus: By booking your event through the show, they can help you spread the word about your press conference and even help encourage media to attend.

2. Send invites.

Ahead of the show, send a special email invitation to reporters who cover the type of news you are announcing. Entice them by noting that your press conference is the first place you’ll be releasing the news, in addition to press kits and media materials. It’s important to remember that media schedules get jammed quickly. To ensure you’ll get on everyone’s schedule, send an early heads-up about your press conference date/time. When it gets closer to the event, be sure to follow up with additional details.

Pro tip: As a reminder, send calendar invites to media who plan to attend!

3. Prepare your spokesperson.

Rehearse with your speaker(s) to make sure you’re getting your top messages across in a way that’s understandable to media representatives who are looking for the news angle. Make sure you cover all bases and allow yourself time to resolve any problems. You wouldn’t want to show up five minutes before your press conference with no audio/video, right?

4. Document it.

How will your event live on beyond the conference? Get video and photos during the press conference as well as throughout the trade show to develop a post-show recap video. Share the video on your company website, social media and blog to draw additional awareness to your announcement and overall success of the event.

5. Follow up.

Once your press conference is over, it doesn’t stop there. It’s crucial to follow up with media who attended your event to identify editorial opportunities. You can even offer them the chance to speak with your company executives for more information. Be sure to also follow up and send press materials to reporters who did not make it to the event.

Overall, hosting a press conference at a trade show is a cost-effective promotional tool for B2B businesses. Not only is it an effective way to communicate a message with the media, but also a successful tactic for generating news and awareness about your project and company. With trade show season quickly approaching, it might be time to consider what a press conference can do for you. Looking for more ideas? Contact CBD’s PR and Social Media Team today.