Here at BLASTmedia, we handle press relations at numerous trade shows for our clients on a yearly basis, with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas being our biggest, baddest trade show annually. We begin preparing for CES in October, even though the show doesn’t take place until January.
Why start three months in advance? Because there’s a lot of prep work for a PR agency that goes into preparing for a trade show as large as CES, or any trade show for that matter.
One of the most time consuming aspects is scheduling face-to-face media appointments for our clients with key media outlets during the show. Perhaps one of the lesser talked about aspects of trade show preparation, but a crucial one, is creating the perfect press kit. A press kit is your chance to give media contacts everything you want them to know about your company, product, announcement, etc, and provides them the tools they need to write a story after the event.
There are five key must-have items to include on your press kit:
- Press release – Include a copy of the press release announcement you are making at the trade show. Even though you will be distributing the press release to your media contacts or over a newswire, it is still important to include a copy of the release in your press kit. By doing so, media contacts who receive your press kit at the trade show have your company’s press release readily available, instead of having to dig through their email to find your pitch, searching online for the newswire announcement or rummaging through their bag to find the hard copy.
- High-res images – Including high-res images (at least 300 dpi) with your press kit is a MUST. When editors write about your company or product, they’ll most likely want accompanying images (unless they take their own photography). So, be sure to include high-res images of your company logo and product shots in your press kit. These images should always be on a plain white background so they are easy to incorporate into any page layout, whether that is print or online.
- Fact Sheet/Corporate Backgrounder – A fact sheet is a 1-page description of your product and a corporate backgrounder is a quick look at facts about your company. The fact sheet should highlight all of the important key details about your product, such as pricing, availability, product specs or about your company, such as employment, office locations and accomplishments. Some members of the press prefer a quick reference sheet versus always having to look through a press release.
- Biography – If you have one key person at your trade show booth who will be speaking with media, such as the company president or CEO, include their biography in the press kit. Their bio will be a great quick reference for media contacts that write about their interview with your client during the trade show. A basic bio is NOT a resume, rather it highlights his/her role within the company, accomplishments and previous positions.
- Contact Information – Finally, include a 1-sheet document in your press kit that contains the PR person’s contact information and any other relevant contact info at your company. Even though the press release should include the PR rep’s contact information, it’s more convenient for media to open a document labeled “Contact Information” and find the phone number and email address readily available for the PR rep, IR manager, internal contact, etc. versus having to search through documents or emails for that info.
Ok, great–you now know what to include on your press kit…But there are also a few other key tips and tricks to keep in mind when preparing a press kit.
Firstly, press kits have evolved over the years, from bulky folders stuffed with cardstock papers of company info, to concise electronic versions on CDs or USB devices. Besides the fact that many trade shows aren’t allowing paper press kits anymore, we highly recommend creating electronic versions of your press kits for several other reasons:
- Environmentally Friendly – Creating the traditional press kit kills trees! Think of how much paper is used (and wasted) on a traditional press kit. Each document included in the press kits is printed on one piece of paper and then stuffed into one paper folder or binder – multiplied by the hundreds of copies you’re going to create in order to have them on hand for the trade show – it adds up! Not only are you using tons of paper to create traditional press kits, you’re also spending tons of money having them created and printed. Which brings me to my next point: Creating an electronic press kit version is…
- Cost Effective – It’s much easier and cost effective to burn all of the press kit information onto a CD or USB device, versus having the press kit printed. It’s cheaper to ship CDs or USB devices to trade shows rather than paying to ship hundreds of bulky press kits (and then having to ship them all back when you have leftover kits from the show.) You also spend money having these beautiful hard copy press kits created, only for them to end up being outdated as soon as the trade show is over.
- Lighter / less space – Press kits on CD or USB take up less space at your trade show booth and also in a media contact’s backpack or bag. Media spend all day traveling from booth to booth and end up weighed down with trade show SWAG and press kits. By creating a press kit on CD or USB device, media contacts are less likely to turn you down on taking your company information.
And lastly, when creating the perfect trade show press kit, don’t forget to:
- Make sure your press kits CD or USB device is clearly labeled or branded with your company name. If there’s room on the CD, you might also chose to include the company Web site and the name or description of the product you’re announcing at the trade show.
- Clearly label each document on your press kit CD or USB device e.g. “High-res Images” or “Contact Information Sheet”.
- Do not include PDF versions of your press release, facts sheets, etc. If you include the original Word versions of those documents, media contacts can easily copy and paste the information about your company or product into their story. Remember, one of the main points of creating the prefect press kits is to make it as easy as possible for media contacts.
- Do not include prior press mentions! While this is a great thing to include in sales and partner presentations, media does not want to see that a bunch of other press have already written about your company or product – it defers them from writing what seems like a story that’s already been told.
Now you know our tips and tricks for creating an outstanding trade show press kit. Do you have any additional suggestions to share?
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