By: Todd Walter
“Belly to belly” trade show PR is one of the most effective ways to build editorial relationships and increase your exposure.
I first heard the term “belly to belly marketing” about 15 years ago from a client sharing one of his most effective marketing tactics: personal engagement with customers at special events. Whether it was a hands-on lunch and learn or a personal booth tour at a trade show, he said it was hard to beat face-to-face communication to convert prospects and build brand loyalty.
The problem is, special events can be expensive. A flagship trade show can often take up a large portion of the marketing budget for booth space, shipping, graphics and traffic generation. However, one way to help recoup some of that investment and increase your brand awareness is through “belly to belly” PR (B2B PR).
Just like face-to-face interaction with customers, B2B PR follows the same type of engagement, but with trade media at the show. Done properly, it’s one of the most effective means to build editor relationships, create news and generate exposure beyond your immediate booth presence.
Here are several ways to leverage B2B PR at your next big trade show:
1. Meet with Editors.
Most flagship trade shows attract a good number of journalists covering the industry. And because you’ve already paid for the space and established your booth, take the extra step and invite them to visit your booth for a face-to-face briefing.
2. Publicize Your Products.
Chances are, if you’re launching a new product at a show, you’ve probably invested resources to show it off to customers. Why not invite journalists to the booth and show them your new products, too? Their job is to report what’s new at the show, and most journalists would welcome an invitation to visit for 15 minutes.
3. Tell Your Story.
Even if you don’t have new products to introduce, many journalists enjoy writing about new or interesting applications. Beyond new products, their job is also to keep up with industry trends. They’ll usually carve out some time to stop and meet with you as a learning experience and perhaps talk about a story idea.
BONUS: Discuss Future Story Topics. Journalists are responsible for developing huge volumes of content and are constantly seeking new story material for print and web. Belly to belly PR is a great way to introduce your subject matter experts in the booth and mutually discuss potential story ideas that can help generate publicity well beyond the life and investment of the trade show.