As the industry transitions back to in-person events – even if they are not quite the same as before – getting the most from your tradeshow investments is crucial. You’ve paid for your space, designed your booth and briefed your sales team… but now what?

Tradeshows are a great opportunity for highlighting your company’s products to potential customers; they’re also a useful platform to network, make announcements and launch the ‘next big thing’ – not least because key trade events attract industry, national and often international media.

Here are Starscream’s Top Ten Tips for getting the biggest bang for your tradeshow buck – click on any image to see our work too…

1. Define your goals

How do you define successful PR? What media do you want to speak to? What news announcement(s) do you want to distribute before your tradeshow? Do you want to host an attention-grabbing activation to generate a buzz?  

Metro visits Brooklyn headphone maker Grado in New York

2. What’s your story?

If you’re planning your new product announcements around major trade shows, it’s worth considering that journalists will receive hundreds (often thousands) of press releases competing for attention in the weeks leading up to such events. You need to STAND OUT. Position your news announcement to be of interest to the media and their readers by keeping your story concise, compelling and relevant.

Meze Audio event at SXSW with Licks Magazine and BBC British Music Embassy

3. Media Outreach

Once you’ve determined your story and key messages, it’s time to reach out to the media. Don’t just fire out a press release and hope for the best… Offer one-on-one appointments to ensure journalists have access to key people in your business to ask about developments and new products. These quality interactions help strengthen links between your brand and the media and make for long-term relationships – so they are absolutely key to your PR strategy.

It’s also imperative to ensure your media newsroom is up to date so visitors can get instant access to your press release and images. We create a newsroom for every client to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and nothing gets in the way of a story – the inbox of a journalist is packed with show emails which makes it hard to stand out or find images.

TOP TIP: consider whether your target media are interested in being sponsored to attend the show and your demo. Eventbrite and Whatsapp are your friends – use them to register RSVPs and communicate with your group of guests.

Product launch for Cambridge Audio at CES

4. Get Involved!

If your CEO has a great story to tell or your executive team are industry experts – look to secure speaker/panel opportunities at the show to highlight their expertise and knowledge base and to establish your company as an authoritative voice in the industry.

TOP TIP: Your most media-friendly person might not necessarily be the CEO – make the most of your wider team to maximise media opportunities.

Nile Rodgers being interviewed at South by Southwest

5. Make Some Noise

If you’re planning to make a big announcement, trade shows provide the perfect platform with a highly targeted audience, in one place and at one time. Consider an on-site meeting room to hold a news conference and invite the media that matter. Don’t clash with another reveal and don’t rely on a single splash to make some noise – a convention has many avenues so building something and hoping that the show will push visitors to you won’t work!

Launch of Kygo headphones at CES

6. Step away from the show floor

The tradeshow floor is often busy, noisy and crowded – hardly the ideal circumstances in which to effectively demonstrate products and have valuable conversations with the media. Consider hiring a private suite or room at a nearby hotel to conduct private media interviews or product demos with key journalists – after all, during the show, they are your biggest customers.

These micro-events provide space where members of the media can feel relaxed, access wi-fi and enjoy some refreshments. It makes their job much easier and provides an opportunity for them to really listen to what a company has to say.

It’s also worth creating an evening event plan for shows, gigs and meals which attract media and also benefit your team after all that hectic daytime work.

We did exactly that at CES 2022 with Cambridge Audio, resulting in over 34 pieces of coverage in 3 days, reaching an audience of 335 miliion.

TOP TIP: provide complimentary transport to/from the show to your event.

A woman with blonde hair stood in the foregrund listening to music through headphones.
Launch of Marshall headphones at Phonica Records

7. Engage BEFORE and DURING the Show

To get the most out of your outreach, it’s important to engage in conversations before and during the show as part of your wider marketing communications plan. Do your research and see which media, bloggers, and influencers are talking about the show and the relevant hashtags and links they are using. If you send a newsletter to your subscribers, make sure to include your booth number and details of what you’ll be showcasing too.

You should also make use of your social media channels before, during and after the show to showcase the highlights from your booth. And you can document visits from media with a professional photographer – or take your own high-quality images throughout. It’s all part of your story and inspires other media to cover your products and announcements.

Vic Santoro album launch with Focusrite at Samsung KX

8. Brief Your Team

Your on-booth team will most likely be the first people to interact with journalists arriving for a specific appointment or a walk-in with a specific question, so briefing them to handle media enquiries is crucial. Designate one or two media-friendly people (media trained or otherwise) to be the primary media contact and ensure they’re armed with all press materials and key talking points. Instruct your booth staff to direct anyone with press credentials on their badge to the designated person(s) so you don’t miss any opportunities.

It’s also worth investing in quality ‘swag’. Goody bags are tried and tested but offering something useful and unique will help you stand out, for example, personalised slip mats for turntables. No one needs another mug (and they’re not easy to carry home on a flight either!).

TOP TIP: Always ensure you have a photo/video-friendly set-up for when the media turn up to conduct impromptu interviews or if they want to share social media snaps!

Becky Roberts from What Hi-Fi? chatting to Benoit Rebus from Qobuz

9. Follow Up

Within a few days of the show, don’t forget to follow up to thank the journalists that took time to visit your booth, responding to any requests for extra materials, samples or interviews. Be sure to also contact anyone who didn’t make it to see you and offer additional information or set up a post-show interview. The follow-up is arguably as important as the show itself to build new (and nurture existing) media relationships.

Metro visits Brooklyn headphone maker Grado in New York

10. Track, Track, Track!

Don’t forget to track where your brand was featured before, during and post-show. By tracking your PR, you can easily measure its success against your pre-show goals and determine what worked and what didn’t, and amend your strategy accordingly moving forward. 

Following our 10 Step Guide will help you gain visibility and take advantage of PR opportunities surrounding trade shows. Need support? Starscream’s expert team regularly helps clients to create PR strategies that align with their sales, marketing and branding efforts, at key industry events and beyond.

Get in touch to discuss your needs! Contact

Artists trying out Meze headphones at SXSW