25: How to work a trade show, part 1

In the first of a two-part interview, Bill Sell, Vice President & General Manager of Events at Pulvermedia, shares his advice on how to work a trade show. Bill’s been in the events business for nearly 30 years and has managed the biggest of the big: Comdex in its glory days. In this interview, he outlines best practices he’s seen PR pros use and talks about the future of the trade show business. He also talks about the worst of trade show PR, like the dumpster that Comdex organizers used to maintain to hold all the discarded press kits. A lot of PR people work a trade show badly, Sell says. They don’t plan well and their press kits are stuffed with unnecessary information that fails to catch attention. Hear about the best and worst practices for working a trade show.

Download the podcast here. (14:22)

Here are some of Bill’s main talking points if you don’t have time to listen to both parts of the podcast:

1. Talk with the show organizer

  • Role of the show manager
  • Role of the exhibitor
  • Role of the public relations agency
  • Role of the press person

2. Preparing pre-show, at-show and post-show media outreach efforts

  • Pre-show – set goals and objectives
  • Make calls to reporters you know and invite them
  • Prep your press person for show site
  • At-show – who is your ideal spokesperson and who wins the “quote war”?
  • Handling press who visit the booth
  • Planning for follow-up and thank you’s
  • Post-show call to thank them (call, not email, then email)
  • Summarize your show action plan and product announcements and recap for all of the relevant press your missed

3. Save some money – don’t create a press kit

  • Don’t bring a press kit!
  • Work the show press list early
  • Pre-announce your product or service a week before and showcase it for the first time at the show “double exposure”



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