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Top Tips: Successful Show Event PR

01/05/2014

The great and good of the publishing world descended on Earl’s Court this month for the London Book Fair. With some of the biggest publishing companies in the world investing thousands in sparkling stands and endless parties, it’s pretty hard to stand out. Show event PR is easier said than done, but get the formula right and you can really own the show!

Or is it?

The smart companies forget battling it out on the “shop floor” and instead use their marketing strategically to draw eyes towards their brands through focused PR. It’s a story played out through airtime and column inches that the broader audience will remember after the show. But there is an art to getting the PR right.

The most important time for PR is in fact the weeks before the event. It’s this time when you get your story straight, prepare your media messaging for the show and find your news angle. You also need to ensure that you are appearing in media in the run up to the event. Some well-placed stories ahead of time will drive interest at the show.

It’s also about reaching out to your key media well in advance, and pre-briefing them, under embargo of course. So many people make the mistake of trying to book in meetings or coffees with no news. Think about it. When there are hundreds of companies all wanting meetings, which do you choose, the ones with stories or the 30 minutes massaging the CEO’s ego? And with 10 to 15 interviews lined up across the day, which story do you choose to write up? So plan and prepare your story and brief the journalist well in advance so that the 15 minutes at the show is about getting that great interview piece on camera or a strong quote.

Don’t just think about your own trade media for the show

Think about which other publications will be interested in this big event in the calendar. At this month’s London Book Fair, we worked closely with tech media to tell the story of digital innovation in publishing on behalf of our client Mills & Boon. We developed stories ahead of the event with titles like The Independent and BBC Tech.

Why not influence talk at the show by being the big story in the show daily or in the newspaper on the first day? Spend time ahead of the exhibition briefing the show newspaper team to ensure that you are front page. Or working with teams on profiles, commentary and features means that your brand is ahead of the game.

Are you speaking at the event?

Your well-honed speech should be full of great material for the media. Use it by summarising your key points and briefing the media who will be attending. Or popping a copy ‘fyi’ to key media who came to listen. The potential for PR at some of these big shows is endless, but your agency needs to be smart, strategic and focused to make sure your efforts work hard.

By Rebecca Oatley, Managing Director, Cherish PR 

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