Conference Season – Don’t Check Out Even If You Couldn’t Check In

Mar 12, 2014 admin


Apparently this is an all-guy conference

 It’s that time of year. Whether you’re living in the polar vortex (me) or enjoying the sun and sand of Southern California (people I don’t like right now), if you’re in tech PR, you know it is all industry shows, all the time.

You haven’t been able to log into Twitter over the past three months without seeing a hashtagapalooza* (*I made that up) from CES to HIMSS to RSA to SXSW and back again. And for many of us, our clients are there and we’ve set up the meetings, developed the social plans, and put out the press releases to try and make the most of the show. But what about clients who aren’t there? We know that these shows attract some of the top reporters we’re trying to reach, but does that mean they are all out of office and unreachable? Not necessarily. But maybe. It pays to pay attention when it comes to conference time and even if your client isn’t there, all is not lost.

Here are a few tips to try and make the best of not being at some of the industry’s biggest shows, or at the very least, not waste your time, your clients’ time, and most importantly, a key reporter’s time when his or her only brief respite may be a snowy delay or layover in Chicago.


  • Know who is attending. I know it may seem simple, but people still mess it up. Pay close attention to show media lists and be sure to look on Twitter to see if folks are tweeting about going (or complaining about PR people pitching them for meetings even though they aren’t attending.) Now is not the time to send these reporters trend or evergreen stories when their inboxes are swamped with embargoed news announcements, party invitations and meeting requests.
  • Even if you're not there, you should still know what is going on. Be sure to stay on top of news coming out of a conference and try to be a resource for reporters who are covering it from the show and may need quick commentary as it is breaking. See if you can bring value to a story by sending along a compelling quote about something major said in a keynote to a reporter who is on deadline. If your client has a perspective, share it, even if you’re not in the audience to hear it said live.
  • So you know who is there, which means you should have a good handle on reporters who are not there. Use news coming out of the shows to reach out to reporters in the space on the potential impact of big news or announcements. This is less about the breaking news, and more about the second-day story on what this can mean for an industry as a whole. Use these big stories as news hooks to encourage a topic to be covered right now or at the very least, be filed away for future reference.

So all is not lost if you’re not hitting up the season’s biggest shows. You may have to log out of Twitter every once in a while so you’re not constantly bombarded with live tweets and Instagrams of things you’re missing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some value from your desk. And if it makes you feel better, wear nametags around the office and have your colleagues pretend to scan your “badges” with a stapler or something. You know, whatever it takes.

Topics: Media Relations, Press Releases, Public Relations, Twitter, Client Relations, PR, Social Media

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