|You only have 3 to 5 seconds to attract a prospect's attention.
The less text the better. One large image supported by a clever headline or positioning statement works best. If you do not have a central image, there are many websites which sell stock images at affordable prices. This will save you the cost of hiring a photographer.
If you do not have a central image, bullet points are the next best thing.
The display's function is to catch their eye, tell them what you do, and who you are. Details about your product/service should be included in brochures/handouts. Prospects will not stand in front of a display and read paragraphs of copy. The headline should reflect the heart of your offering. Your image should tie into your headline to reinforce each other.
If your target market can be addressed directly use their name, such as Sales Managers, Accountants, etc., use big bold letters to attract their attention.
Define Your Business
Define Your Target Market
You cannot inform others of what you do until you fully understand it yourself. Before speaking to the media, compose a concise paragraph that describes what products and services you provide in a way that a child could understand. Don’t get too detailed because many journalists will only need the information relevant to their particular story.
To successfully sell your product or service, it is imperative to understand your audience. Ask yourself the following questions.
Write a Clear, Concise One-Page Press Release
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- Where do they live?
- How much money do they earn?
- What media do they read, watch or listen to?
- Why do they watch, listen or read these particular media outlets? For pleasure or business?
- What benefit will your audience get by using your product, service or attending your event?
A press release is not only meant to explain a topic, but to entice the media to find out more about your company and its products and services. Don’t overwhelm the media with a long, drawn-out, and tedious read. Secure their interest first, then let them follow up to obtain additional information.
Be Familiar with Your Media
Learn and Practice Patience & Persistence
Know what stories or beats various journalists cover and the frequency of their columns. Put yourself in their shoes and decide why they would be interested in what you have to say. Each media outlet has various story requirements and a different audience. Recognize those differences and tailor your information accordingly. Does this outlet usually include photos, videotape b-roll, Q & A’s or more of an editorial story?
Any successful PR campaign takes time and effort to produce maximum results. It is important to remain patient but persistent. Public relations is a process. Commit to your plan for a minimum of at least six months.
When members of the media visit your exhibit, remember the following points:
DOs of PR
DON’Ts of PR
Introduce yourself, with title
Be assertive, but not overbearing
Make eye contact
Inquire about deadlines
Ask about the story angle or angles
Ask the person how familiar he/she is with your company
Have good visuals at your exhibit
Have background materials on your company available
Reference an article or story that you found interesting that the particular journalist or his/her media outlet ran, if possible
Make sure you follow up with a friendly phone call if a journalist has committed to a story or shown interest in your product/service
Don’t come on too strong and monopolize a journalist’s time
Don’t lie about anything. If you do not know the answer, say you will find out and get back with the answer promptly
Don’t be rude or hasty
Avoid using the phrase “no comment” which implies that you are concealing something
Don’t leave numerous voicemails or bombard media representatives with the same pitch or press materials
Do Your Homework
Find Out If the Person Has Time and How They Liked To Be Pitched
Prior to pitching a particular outlet…research its content and style, target audience, circulation and how often it is published or airs. A member of the media will be more receptive to your pitch if you are familiar with what he or she does. Before pitching a particular journalist, you may want to read a previous story that person has written and comment on the article. Be sure that you have designated a company spokesperson who is fluent about the company and is an impressive communicator with a strong personality.
When you call the media, inquire about their availability by asking,
Do you have a second? Second, find out how they prefer to be pitched. Are they comfortable being pitched over the phone or do they prefer receiving information via mail, e-mail or fax?
Persistence & Various Pitch Angles
Remember that journalists are on a tight schedule with strict deadlines. Pitch your most relevant news first. It is important to convey your message when speaking with the media, but try to save them time. To achieve this, do your homework in advance and present your story well, whether in an inverted pyramid press release or a carefully planned verbal appeal.
When pitching a story to the media, be persistent without being overbearing. Don’t be surprised if a journalist rejects your story or doesn’t see the value in it. Be prepared to pitch the story in various ways or tie it into current trends or other stories as a
Tell the editor what you have to offer that would be of interest for his readers, not necessarily what is great about your product or company.
Building & Maintaining Trust
Building trust with the media involves making good on promises and meeting reporters’ deadlines. Understand their position and they will remember you for it. When a journalist requests that information be sent to him or her, be sure to send it promptly. You may want to consider using an express service such as FedEx.
When conducting interviews with the media, be as descriptive as possible to paint the best and most positive mental picture of your company and the products and services it offers. Always make sure you have your facts, figures and titles of executives if needed before you conduct the interview and try to stick to your scheduled interview if possible, as many journalists are on tight deadlines and may not be able to reschedule.
Be as prepared as you can and do your homework in advance so you know what audience you are speaking to.
- Television Outlets
- Great visuals add to an interview, so be prepared with signage and any other materials that will enhance your presentation. Always answer your questions in
soundbites. Soundbites are the 3-4 second answers that tell the viewer your story or quickly answers the reporter’s question clearly and concisely. Answers of this length are most likely to be used.
- Radio Outlets
- Remember this media outlet is audio only, so keep your listeners interested by sounding upbeat. Try to avoid long gaps and
"dead air" between sentences. Convey a visual aspect to listeners.
- Speak clearly and make sure you answer the question as you would like to read it in print. Journalists may directly quote you from your answers.
Media Contact At Trade Shows
Make sure there is a company spokesperson identified and available for interviews or questions from the media. Have background materials on your company available such as press kits. Have good visuals at your exhibit to entice interest. And ask the person about his or her deadlines to show that you’re interested in helping obtain the information needed for a possible story. Be prompt in getting requested and needed materials to the journalist.
Always make sure your press materials are updated, spell-checked, clean and have appropriate photos/images. You have a better chance of a bigger story with a great picture or image. Always include a contact number or a business card if the journalist should need to contact you again.