Helpful Tips for Small Businesses to Stand Out at Tradeshows

 By Dan Janal, Small Business PR Expert

Trade shows and conventions are great places for small businesses to get publicity. But with so many companies vying for attention how can you stand out from the crowd?

Here are five ways to break through the noise level at shows so you get the attention you deserve.

  1. Contact the editor of the show daily weeks before the event. These periodicals love to promote companies that exhibit at their shows. But their reporters will write about the ones that make themselves available. Let them know you are interested in either talking about your products or discussing trends in your industry. Chances are they will write about you.
  2. Have a press conference. Trade shows usually set aside time and rooms for exhibitors to hold press conferences. You can tell the press your story and build relationships with the media. You’ll also get extra publicity help from the show organizers because they will promote all the press conferences to the media.
  3. Set up appointments with reporters before the event. This takes a bit of work, I’ll admit. You have to get a list of the reporters attending the show – which the trade show PR people should be happy to give to you. Then you need to email or phone them. Your chances for success improve if you are introducing an exciting new product or making your top executives available for interview. Be sure to ask the reporter what their focus is. And be sure to brief your executives so they give that specific info to that reporter. For example, a trade publication might want to know about the product while a business publication might want to know about company financials. Consider creating a media briefing book that describes the publication, its audience and its focus. It can help an executive get a quick lay of the land.
  4. Send out press releases before, during or after the show. Press releases continue to be a great way to get the word out to reporters and to search engines. Be sure to use the name of the show as well as the name of your company and product name so reporters who are searching for news can find it easily. For example, a reporter who is covering a convention might not have heard about your company. But if they search for news at that convention, they’ll find your press release because the name of the convention appears in your press release.
  5. Follow up with reporters. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how few executives or PR people follow up with reporters to send them what they promised, whether it be a product for demo, statistics or sources they mentioned during the interview, or even a press kit! At the very least, every company should send a Thank You letter or email to the reporter thanking them for their time, providing the info promised and a friendly message saying they are available for more information. If you do this one tactic, you will probably stand out from all the other exhibitors at the conference.

If you follow these tips, you’ll have a great trade show experience that can help you get visibility in the media and build rapport with reporters.

Dan Janal, author of "Reporters Are Looking for YOU!" helps small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products. His clients get terrific results from my coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to

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