For Voxus PR, this is a particular busy time of year for conferences, conventions and expositions. Trying to organize briefings for your client with journalists on the show floor is no easy feat. But as a former tech journalist, I can offer up a few little pointers, from a reporter’s point of view, on how to maximize interactions with the media and leave a positive impression.
Keep Your Appointments. Nothing is more irritating to a show floor reporter than tracking down a client’s booth, only to find that no one is there to help you. That’s time the reporter could have spent more productively. Also, it’s preferred if an actual executive from the exhibiting company is present, as opposed to just the PR rep. (Nothing personal, but reporters want to hear from the horse’s mouth.)
Have Something Ready to Announce. Make sure you have an actual message to communicate to the reporter. Preferably a case study. Or maybe the launch of a new product. Or even the hiring of a new CEO or CIO. On the other hand, don’t lead with the fact that you have all these great clients, but can’t publicly talk about any of them. I’ve been through briefings where the exhibiting company simply reviewed old news and products, and they nearly put me to sleep. Sometimes the only purpose of the meeting was to ask me what kinds of stories I was looking for. It’s not a bad question, but you could have asked me that in advance and then had something to tell me at the briefing.
Don’t Make the Reporter Stand for 30 Minutes. Covering a show floor all day can be exhausting and unnerving. Reporters often end up accruing tons of materials and “tchotchkes” to stuff into their increasingly heavy bags. So make sure you have a table and seating area dedicated to media briefings. And also be sure nobody else at your booth commandeers that area for other purposes. If you plan on leading journalists on a walking demo tour of various products, that’s fine. Just try to make them as physically comfortable as possible (i.e. find a safe spot for them to put their bags down).
Go Paperless & Condense Your PR Materials. Again, journalists have a lot to carry and organize. If at all possible, put your release materials on a CD or flash drive. Lighten the load, keep it simple. It will be appreciated.
I just hope I follow my own advice when I set up my next show briefing as a PR rep.