I’ve worked with many startups that want to talk about news or tell me that they are going to an event in a similar time frame to major milestones or news. When I suggest that they take meetings at the event, many times they don’t even realize that you can strategically plan to use the event as a way to not only meet the media face to face, but also secure media coverage for their news and/or participation in the event. Here are 5 tips on how to leverage events for media:
- Try to align news with your event – Your story is typically more powerful at any event and stands out more if you align news with the event. Have you reached recent milestones? Shipped product? Closed funding? All of these are excellent ways to catch the eye of media that are attending the event.
- Get the pre-registered press list – If you are an exhibitor to any event, you typically get access to the pre-registered media list about 3-4 weeks in advance. Don’t be shy to ask for it from your sales person. In some cases if you’re not exhibiting you can request the previous year’s press list to get an idea of what press may be in attendance. Sometimes there are also media sponsors that are listed on the website who will also send their editorial team to cover stories at the event.
- Offer up your executives for in-person AND phone briefings – Try to secure briefings on-site to meet the media and develop relationships in person. If their schedule is full, you can always request a pre-show briefing to at least get on the phone so that they don’t miss your news.
- Reach out at least 3 weeks in advance – While its never too late to get coverage, reaching out early to secure a meeting is the best way to get media aware of you at the event. Set aside some time for media interviews at the event when you are at your booth to showcase your news/product/executive. If you don’t secure briefings beforehand, don’t fret, you can still keep an eye out at the event and identify media at the event for on-the-spot interviews.
- Keep an eye out for a different colored conference pass – Something that media people keep tight to the vest is the “how” of identifying media at events. Typically media badges at events are a particular color, identify it early and keep an eye out. Pro tip: Try not to look to creepy when you’re scoping out badges at your booth ;).
- Follow up with a press kit – Before going into any event, you typically prepare marketing material. Well same is true for press interviews. Less marketing and more factual, prepare a press kit that includes the background of your company, a press release (only if you have news), an overview/detail of your product, and any relevant images that press may be interested in using.
Now realize while I make it sound as easy as 1-6, the key to a successful event for media coverage is persistence and follow up. It takes a lot of hard work to get the media that you want, but it will be worth it to develop media relationships and most of all…get coverage that will take your startup to the next level.