At the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville last week, several of our long-held beliefs about trade show PR were re-affirmed. It’s good to know, despite all the dramatic changes in the media landscape, technology and communication tools, that some things haven’t changed:
1) Relationships are still the stock in trade of the PR business … and a good relationship can last a lifetime. PR is, after all, a relationship business. If you haven’t invested in building authentic relationships with key reporters, you’re missing the point.
2) Solutions to problems still trump product specifications. Reporters don’t really want to know about your product features so much as they want to know how your product solves their readers/viewers problems.
3) Murphy’s law still applies to press events – if anything can go wrong, it will – at the worst possible time. It pays to be prepared for Mr. Murphy … just in case the sound system dies just as your CEO steps up to the microphone for his opening remarks.
4) If you build it right, they will come. Maximizing media attendance at your press event requires more than a simple invitation. A solid reputation helps, especially when your company is known for providing real news, access to key executives, insightful industry perspective and compelling images. It doesn’t hurt to hold your event in a setting that is interesting, comfortable or enjoyable. If your event appeals to media on both rational (business) and emotional (personal) levels, you’ll draw the media crowds. It all starts with thinking about the media’s needs as you would your customers’ needs.
5) Media love a smorgasbord. Some reporters want only a quick story. Some want great visuals. Some want catchy sound bites. Others want access to key technical experts or executives for deep perspective. They’re all different, but one thing all reporters do have in common is that they are busier than ever – handling multi-media responsibilities and feeding the 24/7 online beast. So, PR folks who offer something for everyone – and make it quick and easy – will reap more coverage across a wide range of media outlets and platforms.
Speaking of smorgasbords, the Truck Writers of North America (www.twna.org) denies that the phrase “No food, no booze, no ink for yous” – is its motto.
But then again, a little Southern hospitality can’t hurt. So, pass the Jim Beam and the pulled pork sandwiches!