Conference season is upon us and each business is competing with hundreds of others for attention. A strategy is needed, or your business simply ends up as part of the noise everyone fast-forwards through – media and attendees alike. So, how do you break through the “noise” barrier and actually get attention? Here are some tips:
1.Press Releases – While press releases no longer have the SEO value they did in the past, they still have their use. The first component is to create a compelling story that both the media (and your audience) will be interested in reading. Don’t send a press release without good reason and be careful not to use too much hyperbole as this can quickly turn off an editor. Don’t send a press release that “Brand X is the first to market with the coolest most innovative product ever!” Unless you have the best thing in the universe (which most people don’t but almost every company believes they do), the press release will fade into the background and be ignored by the media.
Do send a press release that “Brand X has released a product that solves X problem and here are the results with Client Y.” There is a fine art to crafting press releases that get attention and it involves great storytelling which creates interest. Not simply shouting about how great your product or service is – because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Lastly, when you tell your story make sure you get a clear message across. State your point simply and don’t get so clever in your writing that your audience cannot understand what the release is all about. And, don’t get too clever with your language, use terms that are at the level your audience can understand.
2.Content marketing – Sometimes, a product or service gets overlooked for a very simple reason – the prospective customers don’t understand what it is and why they need it. Content marketing with blogs and articles planned out and released on a regular schedule prior to the conference can help the industry audience better understand why the technology is valuable and how it can help them accomplish their goals. If done properly, it can also position the company and executives as thought leaders.
3.Social Media – It’s surprising how many businesses fail to take advantage of social media to engage with conference attendees. Most conferences use hashtags which allow businesses to monitor conversations, share messages and engage with attendees. Through the use of Facebook ads (which offer an incredible ROI in terms of cost per reach) and Twitter ads (which do the same), you can have a presence in these conversations and, perhaps, attract some attention and booth traffic.
4.Case studies, White papers and e-Books –These assets provide your audience with real-life examples of customers successfully using your products and services. Most dealers want to see results and hear about what other successful dealers are doing. Providing real-life data from other dealerships can help gain their attention.
Lighty-blinky swag may cause someone to stop by and collect it for their kids at home. But is not very likely to motivate anyone to do a demo or engage in conversation other than the polite kind (hopefully). Even throwing out a $50 per demo offer usually isn’t enough to make most attendees blink these days. A free month of service? Not unless they already know that they need your service.
A well-planned strategy should help improve your conference ROI. Simply shouting “Come buy my stuff!” at the top of your lungs, places you at a disadvantage and you may just come away from the conference feeling as if you got the short end of the stick.
Author: Sara Callahan
Sara Callahan, Carter West Public Relations Founder & President
Sara Callahan is the Founder and President of Carter West Public Relations, one of the top agencies that specializes in retail automotive public relations.
Born in the United Kingdom, Sara Callahan re-located to the United States over twenty-five years ago and held executive positions in several marketing/communications firms before founding her own agency, Carter West Public Relations, in 1990.
Ms. Callahan’s particular strengths include community and media relations, content development, social media, campaign strategies, trade shows, special events, print and broadcast media placement.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org