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Trade Show PR Checklist

By February 1, 2017 March 30th, 2017 No Comments

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

When launching a new company or product at a trade show, PR can be extremely helpful in getting the attention of the media in a way that generates buzz and booth traffic. At the same time, at large trade shows journalists and publications are bombarded with press releases, making it more challenging to get their attention. It’s important to start your PR planning early in order to make sure that your message gets to the right journalist at the right time. Below is a checklist and timeline for a successful trade show PR campaign.


12 weeks prior to showPrepare preliminary media listCreate a list of journalists that cover the space your product or company addresses.  (See How to Build a Media List with Meltwater.)
10 weeks prior to showFinalize media listSearch news to validate media list with actual articles written, adjust list accordingly.
8 weeks prior to showSend preliminary emailLet journalist know what you’ll be announcing and invite them to do a pre-show interview, receive an embargoed press release, or schedule a meeting at the show. 
8 weeks prior to showCreate interview calendarBegin scheduling interviews
7 weeks prior to showDraft press releaseFirst draft. (See How to Score Big with Your Next Press Release.)
6 weeks prior to showFinalize press releaseRounds of edits vary from company to company, but you should be able to get it done in a week.
6 weeks prior to showSend reminder emailSend a reminder email to those that didn’t open the preliminary email.
5 weeks prior to showBuild journalist phone listPhone journalists that still haven’t responded to your preliminary email.
4 weeks prior to showSend embargoed press releaseSend press release (embargoed with date when it will be public) to those that requested it.
3 weeks prior to showCreate press presentationYou should have a script or presentation of what you will say to journalists you meet with. Do this earlier if conducting pre-show interviews.
3 weeks prior to showBuild press kitHave a folder or thumb drive with materials you will want to give journalists you meet with. Will include press release, presentation, background information, product spec sheet, company fact sheet, etc.
2 weeks prior to showProduce press kitPrint or copy to thumb drives for distribution at show.
1 week prior to showSend reminder email to interviewersConfirm interview schedule will all journalists.
1 day before showSend press releaseEmail press release to media list. Issue on wire service if appropriate (See 5 Reasons NOT to Issue a Press Release.)
1 week after show—————————-Send thank you email 


Send “thank you” email to all interviewers.
2 weeks after showCreate PR report


Document all interviews, coverage, social shares of articles to assess impact and success of campaign.

Even though PR at trade shows is competitive, it can be successful when done well. It is important to remember that journalists have a job to do–to keep their readers informed about important developments in their fields. If you set out to help writers do their job, giving them important news to share, they will welcome your efforts.

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

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