The Definitive “Don’ts” For Good Public Relations at Events
There’s no point in sugarcoating it: Stress is inevitable at any tech event. More often than not, unwelcome surprises will force you to throw your original strategy out the window and scramble to reorganize.
But event planning doesn’t have to be akin to preparing for war. Rather than adopting a battlefield mentality on the show floor, keep a positive attitude and your eye on the prize to collect the spoils you set out for. Most important, though, you need to avoid becoming your own worst enemy once you’re at the event. There will be plenty of outside forces that will get in your way, and your greatest asset at those times is your composure.
While there’s no one-size-fits all strategy for event management, there are certainly mistakes you should avoid so that you best represent your company and don’t lose your cool.
- Don’t just attend every event you can get your hands on – Take a strategic approach not only to the tech events you choose to invest in, but also the events you ask your agency to support with media outreach.
- Don’t assume you have to spend big on booth swag or press kits – In our experience, a small, memorable piece of swag pulled together on a limited budget can be more impactful than all the branded stress balls and complex media materials in the world. Don’t spend all of your time or money on this tradeshow prep and instead focus your energy on the next ‘don’t.’
- Don’t leave your media outreach until the last minute – Many journalists’ dance cards fill up a month or more in advance for some events. So, as soon as you know you’re planning on attending, work with your agency to jump on the event media coordinator and get your hands on the list of media attendees, and expect that the list will be updated at regular intervals.
- Don’t be shy on the event floor – Media are there to scoop good stories; be sure to look active and approachable, and make an effort to engage interested journalists in learning more about what you’re promoting at the event. The bird that doesn’t hang out at the booth chatting with colleagues or looking at its phone will catch the juicy media worm. To get the attention of media at events, a 10- to 15-second elevator pitch works wonders in these scenarios to build your confidence and give you a clear story.
- Don’t have too much fun – With important events taking place in exciting locales like Barcelona, San Francisco and Vegas, there’s definitely the temptation to go a little OTT in the evening once the show floor closes. But do yourself a favor – take in the local atmosphere, spend valuable time with key contacts, and make sure you’re drinking a lot of water and getting a good night’s sleep. Nothing’s more depressing than being faced with an event show floor when you’re feeling, shall we say, delicate.
While there are certainly many more PR event faux pas that we could dive into, the gist of our message is to not let your own emotions get in the way of success – which, of course, is much easier said than done. Stay organized, communicative and positive, so that when the unexpected happens you’ll still be on your toes.