It’s finally here, convention season. It’s reminiscent of those days when you were in school and would stare at the clock to strike 3:00 and the final bell of the school year would blare – SUMMER! Once the calendar flips to June it is GAME ON!

Fast-forward to present day…you and your clients have carefully and painstakingly designed booths, chosen spokespeople, created visually compelling areas within the space to conduct interviews. Every detail has been reviewed many times – even down to the minutiae of the dress code and, believe it or not, even personal hygiene. Everyone on the “away team” has diligently read through the press documents and promises to remain on message – fingers crossed!

But, in addition to all of the things mentioned above your job as marketing communications pro doesn’t stop the minute these plans are finalized. There’s still work to be done.

Here are a few tips to make sure you and your marcom team is ready to hit the convention hall running:

  • Request the press list – many shows will supply you with their press list of credentialed media who will be attending the show
  • Divide and conquer the press list – usually the list is massive and you would need divine intervention to contact every credentialed media member on behalf of your client. So, split the list with your colleagues
  • It’s all in the research – you need to do your homework and read the last few articles the editors on the list have written. Even better, check out their site or read the publication too. You’ll need to get a sense of what these outlets and their writers are all about. Nothing worse than scheduling a “hostile” interview with your VP and not being prepared for it
  • Size up the media – in many cases you will have several spokespeople that each speak to different areas of the business. Spread the interview wealth. And, this way you don’t burn out your VP with speaking opportunities when they’re already swamped with meetings
  • Make sure you have thumb drives – there isn’t a media member alive that wants to carry your binder full of press materials around with them all day. So make it easy on them by offering up a thumb drive to pop in their backpacks. Or, if you want to get crazy, you can just email them the docs
  • The chase is on – don’t be afraid to chase down a camera crew or photojournalist and make sure they have background info on the footage their shooting. Many of these groups are onsite shooting b-roll to show on-air as the anchors handle the voice overs in-studio
  • At the very least – make sure all appropriate contacts and outlets have a copy of your press release. Even if you weren’t able to lock in a meeting with them you never know if they can squeeze in a few lines of your announcement in their round up of the event
  • I’m not an early riser – securing media appointments is not a slam dunk. It takes the right pitch and knowing the outlets. One of our clients exhibits at a large pop-culture convention each year where the broadcast crews love us. It’s not because we have products that will save the world or the VP is famous…it’s because every year we are willing to get up very early to be on the morning news. Many companies don’t do that and then wonder why their coverage was underwhelming? You have to be willing to put in the work to get the reward
  • Add me to your calendar – don’t sleep on event/calendar listings, especially if you are holding an “event” or special limited giveaway or have a special guest appearance in your booth.
  • Let’s be social – this one should seem like a “no-brainer”, but utilize the client’s social media channels to keep fans and consumers aware of what is happening at the show
  • Are you following me – Yes, I am. You must follow up with the media members that you had appointments with to see if they require additional information for their stories

There are many ways to generate press beyond the email pitch. Your job doesn’t end once you book your travel. Use the tips above and go beyond expectations and stay on the smiling side of your clients.