Trade shows offer your business the opportunity to raise brand awareness in several different ways. One way that many companies neglect is media coverage. While leveraging social media to generate buzz is commonplace, it’s no longer as common to use press releases and other former staples of public relations. That’s a shame because a trade show press release is a quick and simple writing job. Send it to the right people at the right time, and you can generate free publicity that brings more visitors to your trade show booth.
Should You Hire a Firm?
If you want to maximize the amount of publicity you generate, it’s always possible to hire a public relations firm to take care of the job for you. They’ll craft press releases and media kits for your upcoming appearance, and they’ll handle most of the work of getting the word out. If you have the budget for it, this is a great option, as it leaves you free to focus on other aspects of preparing for the trade show. This option isn’t available to every company. While there are advantages to hiring a PR firm, it’s not a must-do.
Don’t Be Intimidated by the Task
If your company has a marketing department that takes care of press releases, this is a simple job. But what if you’re running a start-up or small business and don’t have PR experts on staff? Crafting a press release may seem intimidating, but they have their own format, making it easier than you think to write one. Stick to the format and plug in all the right information, and they almost write themselves.
What Should a Press Release Include?
The essentials for a trade show press release include:
- Company information – Name, product or service, business location
- Why you’re attending the event
- The event name, date, and location
- Your booth number and what’s happening at your booth – For instance, are you launching a new product? Holding a press event? Welcoming a special guest?
- Any events you’re participating in or hosting at the show
The ideal press release is no longer than a page: around 400 words. The short length is important because a busy editor or reporter may receive dozens of press releases in a day and may not take the time to read the entire release. That means you need to grab the reader’s attention quickly and get the important information across with as few words as possible.
Sending out a press release doesn’t guarantee you any coverage, even if it lands in the inboxes of the right people. Give yourself the best chance of success by writing a release that’s as interesting and informative as you can make it.
Press Release Template
There’s no special formatting needed to craft a trade show press release. It’s typically just a series of paragraphs, with a centered headline. This makes it easy to draft one, once you know what you’re going to say. A basic press release template includes:
- Headline: A short, centered headline to indicate what the press release is about. Try to avoid a standard headline such as [Company] to attend [Trade Show]. Instead, inject some more specific language into the headline to make it more interesting and eye-catching.
- City, state, and date of announcement: If you’re sending the press release prior to the event, use the city and state of your company headquarters. If you send it while at the event, use the city and state of the event.
- Lead paragraph: Include the main points you want the reader to know, like your trade show attendance and the location and date of the show. Also provide the reader with one or more specific reasons to visit your trade show exhibit.
- Company paragraph: Next is a paragraph about the company. Include whatever facts are needed to support the first paragraph. For instance, what kinds of products or services the company provides, and the industry your company is a part of.
- Expert quote: The next paragraph is a quote from a company spokesperson, explaining why you’re exhibiting at the show.
- Optional paragraphs: If necessary (and you have room), add one or more paragraphs to further describe what the company will offer at the show.
- Summary paragraph: End with a call-to-action. What do you want your readers to do next? You could direct them to your company website or to an online press kit, or both.
- Closing quote: If you have room, you can add a second shorter quote to wrap up.
- About [Company Name]: Add your company’s boilerplate, or craft a short paragraph that describes the company. This should be evergreen information suitable to add at the end of any press release. You can also include your company’s web address and social media accounts.
- Contact: Tack on contact information for press or sales enquiries, including names, phone, and email.
Optional: Press Kit
Once you’ve finished the press release, you have two options:
- Send the press release on its own.
- Create a digital press kit that provides more information.
A press kit doesn’t need to be over-the-top. Include the press release, FAQs about your company, and one or two relevant images. Another useful addition is an invitation to the recipient to come and visit your trade show exhibit. Offer an interview with your company spokesperson.
If you want to go the extra mile, include video product demonstrations, infographics, and similar content. These formats are popular with online media, so including them can help you get noticed.
When to Send Your Trade Show Press Release
Once you have your press release written, it’s time to send it out, along with your press kit if you have one. But when is the best time? Many companies make the mistake of waiting until the day before the show, or even the day it starts. This doesn’t give recipients enough time. They have to wade through a mass of emails every day and especially right before an event. Send it then, and for each individual sender, your chance of being noticed decreases.
Instead of waiting until the last minute and becoming just another in the avalanche of emails, send your press release and media kit out one to two weeks in advance of the show. Each recipient has more time to read and consider what’s worth following up on.
There are some exceptions to this. For instance, if an industry giant has just sent out a press release, it may be prudent to hold off on sending yours out. If the press is busy chasing up a big announcement, you’re more likely to be overlooked. Instead, wait until the next day to send yours.
Media Coverage Can Help You Meet Your Goals
Whatever you trade show goals are, the better you are at getting the word out, the more successful you’ll be. Writing a great press release can get you some free publicity and help you get your message out to the leads you want at your booth!