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How PR and media relations can boost tradeshow results and ROI

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Tradeshows can be a golden opportunity to launch new products and services and to showcase your existing portfolio. These events are attended by a genuinely engaged audience and provide some of the best opportunities throughout the year to connect with your key customer groups and prospects. However, tradeshows often consume a significant proportion of the marketing budget and require a lot of manpower and resource to make them successful. Therefore, it’s critical to secure a good return on your
investment (ROI).

So, how can you make the most of your next life science tradeshow?

To capitalise on the full value of these shows, it’s necessary to go beyond engaging with the potential customers, influencers or distributors that you meet at the event itself. Crucially, you can also use the show as a platform to connect with key life science media who can share your news more widely with their audiences. With this approach, you’ll be able to reach many potential customers who haven’t even attended the event.

In order to achieve this, you’ll need a PR strategy that includes defining your key audiences, how you will reach them and with what messages. Importantly, this strategy will also align your show activities to your broader marketing and commercial objectives. With such a plan in place, you can develop powerful tactics to help secure media coverage around the tradeshow. To succeed with this, you’ll ideally need a strong news hook, such as a product launch or significant company announcement.

This guide aims to help you develop and implement your tradeshow PR plan, by summarising the important considerations, steps and tactics that will help get you the best results. Follow these tips to make the most of your life science tradeshow attendance to raise awareness of your product or service and ultimately boost your commercial success.

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Before attending the life science tradeshow: How can you prepare most effectively?

Identify where you can provide industry insight

A key consideration when developing a PR strategy is to gauge the most interesting and engaging elements of your offering:

  • What are the challenges in your marketplace and how are you addressing them for customers with your new product or service?
  • What industry trends can you comment on? What does the future hold for a particular application, and where do you see the market going?
  • Do you have customers or early adopters who can provide an end user’s perspective?

By developing clear answers to these questions, you’ll be able to identify where you can offer expert insight that will interest your audience. This will help you communicate with your media peers, as you’ll be well-prepared to explain how you can deliver real benefit to their readers. In this way, you can build positive media relationships.

Prepare a compelling press release

While PR continues to evolve, a press release still remains one of the most effective tools you can use to tell relevant media contacts about your latest announcement. Written well and including all the relevant information, it will enable your media contacts to easily and accurately report your news to their communities. Make sure the link to the tradeshow is clear by adding the event details to your dateline and highlighting your booth number and location, as well as referring to any scientific sessions or user workshops that you have scheduled.

Select key publications to receive your press release

The life science media sector is ever-changing and complex. To ensure your press release reaches potential customers, it’s important to send it to media contacts who have an active interest in covering your topic and who are writing for the relevant audience. Targeting your distribution in such a way will also be appreciated by your media peers, as it will show them that you understand the needs of their publication. Ultimately, this will help to strengthen your media relationships.

Harness the power of social media

If your company uses social platforms, it’s well worth crafting fun and engaging social posts that will draw attention to the fact that you’ll be at the show, and give your prospects and media contacts a taste of what they could expect to gain from visiting your booth or attending your presentations. To extend the reach and value of your pre-show posts, it helps to use the official show hashtags and link to a dedicated event page on your company’s website. Also, to really stand out on social channels, you can get creative and schedule posts with different kinds of multimedia – for example, you could give a preview of your posters, or provide a video introduction to your activities.

Schedule media training and briefings

Given that the tradeshow floor can be a hectic environment, it’s essential to hold a briefing session so that you can share key messages and priorities with your company representatives (and onsite booth team) before they arrive at the show. This will help ensure your team is well-prepared and able to deliver valuable information during conversations with the media. In addition, media training is an excellent investment to help spokespeople be more confident in communicating your news and key messages enthusiastically and clearly. With focused, personalised media training sessions, your spokespeople can perfect their skills for the next show as well as the months ahead. These sessions typically cover:

  • Answering product- and application-specific questions, and highlighting how your new offering solves customers’ challenges
  • Exploring key media contacts’ plans for editorial coverage, and suggesting company experts as knowledgeable sources for future stories
  • Responding to requests for further company or product information without mentioning sensitive details that the company isn’t in a position to make public yet Importantly, allow plenty of time for your spokespeople to familiarise themselves with the messages they’ll be delivering and to rehearse any presentations so that they can be delivered clearly and confidently.

Offer exclusive media interviews before the show

Pre-show media interviews can be invaluable if you want to make a big splash about the launch of a new product or technology. By scheduling these meetings before the hectic rush of the show, you can make sure that your media contacts have enough time to gather all the information they need to write a powerful story. If you don’t want your news to get out before the show, consider employing an embargo to request that publication is delayed until a specific time. However, it’s important to use embargoes sparingly and only with publications that you can trust to respect this guidance.

Organise a press conference

If you have a major announcement to make at the show, such as launching an entirely new product line or a next-generation advancement, a press conference will offer media contacts the chance to hear more about your innovation and to have their questions answered by company experts. Here, early planning is essential to help secure the availability of key spokespeople and a venue (ideally one that is in or close to the tradeshow convention centre). To maximise attendance by relevant media, it’s best to send out invitations in advance – ideally a month before the event.

One-to-one conversations may identify future opportunities for contributed editorial features.

Create a press kit

Life science editors and journalists have very busy schedules, especially when they’re writing stories between sessions at a tradeshow. By taking all your relevant information, such as press releases, company profiles, brochures and fact sheets, and collating it into a press kit, you can create a handy information source that will help media contacts write their stories more easily and accurately. To save your contacts having to carry heavy printed materials, consider providing the press kit digitally through an online newsroom or resource centre, as well as distributing it onsite on a branded memory stick.

Consider arranging coverage in show dailies

Some tradeshows and publications produce daily magazines that are available to all attendees at an event. Securing paid media placements in these dailies gives you the opportunity to spread your word to potential customers even if they don’t make it to your stand at the exhibition hall. For large events, it’s not unusual for more than one daily magazine to be available, so research your options to ensure that your news appears in the most widely read publication. Space is usually snapped up well in advance, particularly on front pages of the most popular magazines, so it’s worth planning your campaign early to avoid missing out.

Arrange to take photos and videos

A picture is worth a thousand words, so take photos and videos at the event to enhance your marketing efforts both during and after the show. Using these visual materials alongside blogs and social media posts will help draw attention to your presence at the show and highlight the features and benefits of your new products. When you’re making your arrangements, it’s important to think about how you’re intending to use your photos – in the right hands, a smartphone camera could be all you need for social media pictures, but for other purposes, you might prefer to arrange for a professional photographer.

To save your contacts having to carry heavy printed materials, consider providing your press kit digitally through an online newsroom or resource centre.

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During the life science tradeshow: How can you boost media engagement?

Keep track of all your media interactions

To make sure you’ve got all the information necessary to conduct follow-ups after the show, it’s critical to keep a record of which media you speak to and what you’ve discussed. In order to easily keep track of who you’ve met, it’s worth asking editors for their business cards and writing any follow-up actions on these cards for your future reference. With this approach, you’ll also raise the opportunity to provide editors with your own card, so they’ve got easy access to your contact details in case you can help them in the future. Connect with them on LinkedIn soon afterwards.

It’s critical to keep a record of which media you speak to and what you’ve discussed.

Stay on top of social media

As well as promoting your attendance before the tradeshow, social media can be a very valuable tool at the event itself. By interacting with posts from the media and other attendees at the show, you can engage with even more people and encourage them to visit your booth if they haven’t already. In addition, posting updates from the show floor can remind attendees where to find you and help boost traffic to your booth, while also raising awareness of your offering amongst customers who aren’t attending. Again, it’ll be most effective if you use the official hashtags and link to your product web pages.

Establish a smooth booth flow

Bottlenecks can happen even with the best booth designs, especially if a large number of customers or media contacts are interested in a demonstration of one particular product. To avoid this issue, your team canlead attendees around the booth and, for example, offer to introduce the  to spokespeople ahead of the demonstration. By planning your booth flow in advance, you can streamline traffic and also maximise the impact of the news you want to highlight.

Discover the latest industry trends

Tradeshows provide an excellent opportunity to keep up to date with recent developments in your industry. As such, if you take some time to walk around the show floor and attend relevant presentations, you could gain valuable insights on which stands are attracting the most attention and why. Ultimately, with a greater understanding of the market and your competition, you’ll be well-placed to determine what factors could affect your success and update your strategy accordingly.


After the life science tradeshow: How can you gain even more value?

Follow up with your media contacts quickly

After the show, you’ll probably be busy approaching new leads and catching up on other work from your time out of the office. However, the media you’ve spoken to will need to write and publish their news reports quickly in order to hit editorial deadlines. Therefore, if you can follow up promptly – ideally within a week – you can help answer any questions that might have arisen since the show and increase your chances of being included in any post-show features.

Personalise your approach to your media contacts

If you’ve kept a thorough record of your interactions at the tradeshow, you’ll be able to tailor your follow-up messages, building on the discussions you’ve already had. For example, if you committed to providing a media contact with a specific image or piece of information, you’ll improve your relationship with them if you do so without them having to remind you.

Actively pursue editorial opportunities

In your onsite media conversations, you probably discussed whether there are upcoming editorial opportunities that your company could contribute to. After the show, a short email to the editor will confirm your interest and start a conversation about the next steps needed to secure your contribution, such as deadlines and editorial guidelines. If the show is in the autumn when publications are still planning their editorial calendars, it’s important to stay in touch with publications as these plans take shape. In this way, you can identify new opportunities before other contributors do so.

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Making the most of your life science tradeshow

Hopefully, this guide has inspired a few ideas for maximising the value your company gains from a life science tradeshow – by engaging not only with attendees, but also with key media contacts. Once you have developed your PR strategy, consider which of the tactics discussed will be the most powerful in helping you achieve your goals and secure a good return on investment.

If you’re looking to make the most of an upcoming life science tradeshow and want to make sure your strategy is fully optimised, contact our team of PR specialists for a free consultation.

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Book a free, one-hour consultation to learn more about how BioStrata can help you make the most of your next tradeshow by raising awareness of your product or service and ultimately boosting your commercial success.