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CES Planning Guide: 10 Steps to Securing a Ton of CES Press Coverage

By November 24, 2013May 13th, 2019Strategy

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.

CES planning is in full swing and companies all over are busy preparing to descend on Las Vegas in January for the largest tech tradeshow in the world and the biggest event in Vegas all year.

CES planning is stressful and it can easily seem like there are a million things to do (primarily because there are), but it’s all worth it in the end.  All of the up-front planning goes a long way when it comes to show time.

One of the most important areas to work ahead is with press strategy.  After all, you want that CES buzz to grow legs, not to mention what a packed press event and an article from Anand Schimpi of AnandTech, or coverage on CNet, Tom’s Hardware, PC Mag, Engadget and other top publications can do for your brand.  We are excited to have secured all of that and more for one of our technology clients last year.

So, without further ado, here is a quick guide to maximizing your CES press exposure.

1.    More News = More Coverage – CES is all about news and there is a frenzy of competition among outlets to have the best coverage.  The more announcements you have, the more you’ll get covered.

2.    Identify Your Influencers – Build a power-ranked list of all of the outlets and journalists that cover your industry.  You should have a short list of your top 25 and then a big list of the next 100 or 1000 journalists that you would like to cover you.

If you don’t already have your list, shoot me a message and I will pull a list of your top 25 media influencers to get you started.

3.    Start Early – Send Embargoed Press Releases – How would you like to get sent 1000 press releases per day for a whole week?  Well, that’s what happens to journalists during CES.  We try to get our press out to selected outlets by mid-December with an embargo, or an understanding that they will not publish until a specified date during CES.  It just gives them a chance to work ahead and cover you properly.  And if it’s top secret, don’t worry, they’re usually open to signing an NDA.

4.    Start Early – Make Appointments – Journalist’s CES schedules start to fill up quickly in early-December, so make sure to get in touch before their schedule is overflowing and it’s too late.  

5.    Start Early – Secure Product Reviews – Journalists are looking for the scoop on CES news. To have an exclusive or semi-exclusive product review to go along with a show announcement – now that’s scoop.

6.    Build Relationships – If you have longstanding media relationships, then you already know this.  Build relationships with the media throughout the year and keep them up after CES. Next year, they will remember you, and when you have that next announcement, they’ll be happy to cover you.  A little bit goes a long way.

7.    Send a Pre-CES Announcement – Send out a press release announcing what you’re going to announce.  It helps to get some pre-show coverage and starts the ball rolling to set up interviews, meetings, and event coverage.

8.    No Big News? Create some. – No big news to announce? Don’t go to CES without it. There is always an angle or a story to capitalize on.  And product announcements definitely have the most pickup at CES, so if you don’t have anything current, announce pipeline products that will be launching later in the year.
9.    Put on a Press Event – Depending on the size of your organization and the gravity of what you have to announce, press events can be as simple as a small, targeted gathering or a press breakfast, or as extravagant as the major events put on by the big players, complete with rock stars.  Pick the level that’s right for you and go for it.  Remember, press schedules start to book up in early December, so make sure to lock it in early.

10.  Send a CES Wrap-Up Release – Things quiet down considerably after CES, but that doesn’t mean that you have to shut it down.  A post-CES recap can ensure that you get that last bit of coverage after most of your competitors have turned it off.

Hope that gives some helpful ideas for the show.  Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions or comments on the article.  And I’m always happy to provide information on our PR and CES-related services.

We’d love to help you pull together a great show.  Have a great CES!

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.