Can you believe another year has gone and we are already planning for Toy Fair 2012 (our client Aurora exhibits there and at over 50 trade shows worldwide each year)? In collectively walking enough trade show floors — to the moon and back — to know the ins and outs of trade show PR, we thought you’d appreciate the following tips… they will help you and your client get better results at trade shows:

1.    Beg, pray and cajole the show’s press people to give you a media list.  It doesn’t matter if its last year’s as most media come every year.  Repeat after me – You need that list.  You need that list.

2.    Once you have the list, draft a press release about what your booth offers and what giveaways you will be providing.  Don’t forget to include the booth location.

3.    Wait a week.  Then pitch media who you have not heard from but wanted to about visiting the booth and doing an interview.  Five out of 10 times the reporter will not show up at the booth at the time you agreed on, so make sure you get a cell phone for follow up at the show.

4.    Since media roam around at the show, it’s important that at least one of the booth hosts can do interviews if asked on the spot.

5.    Provide press materials on a DVD or flash drive – no more bulky materials that reporters have to drag home.  I’m guessing most toss before they board a plane.  Keep extras at the booth and have the same items in your online press room.

6.    If you have big news, stage a press briefing at the booth.  Elaborate press conferences at trade shows go down in flames…unless you’re Apple or Ferrari.  Make sure you put the press release on the wire at the same time.

7.    Contact the editor of the show’s magazine three months in advance and supply a well written article about what you will be debuting at the show.  Almost all associations have one.

8.    Make sure you do interview rehearsals with the client pre-show so they have all the message points down pat.

9.    Roam the hall looking for people wearing media name tags – or hang out at the press room door to nab reporters.  You’re probably not going to get invited in.

10.    When you get home, send out the press releases from the show to key media you missed with a hand written note saying you’re sorry you missed each other and would they be interested in a phone interview.

-Susan, TGPR