Industry conferences are, by design, a place to reach key stakeholders. But standing out from the noise requires a bit of strategy. Too often, companies will spend anywhere from $50,000-$250,000 on a major event for booth space, a sponsorship, giveaways, employee travel and press release wire costs, without taking that one extra step to truly maximize their investment: PR. Think about it: some company at the event will have a bigger booth, a cooler giveaway and more prominent signage based purely on having more budget than you. But what is in your control is the ability to set a solid PR strategy around an event and out execute a bigger-coffered competitor.
For cleantech companies in solar and green building, a few of the most important cleantech conferences of the year are coming up—Intersolar North America, Solar Power International and Greenbuild. At Schwartz MSL we are working with clients to help leverage these events to launch news; reach key prospects, reporters and industry analysts; and raise their visibility in meaningful ways.
Here are a few tips to help your company and your executives gain more mindshare around a cleantech conference:
- Timing is Everything: Create a surround sound approach at a conference by preparing the right set of media coverage to pop during the event. From the case study in Renewable Energy World to the Q&A with Greentech Media to the bylined article on Forbes.com, getting these stars to align means planning out at least 8-12 weeks before the show. If you tie it together by offering reporters rich content during the event, such as a video or infographic, you’ll be generating buzz before you even step on the tradeshow floor.
- Get a Jump on the Competition: If you’re planning on issuing a major announcement, take a step back and consider moving it up a week or two. Big companies can swallow up a lot of the attention at a show, and by launching early you won’t have to compete as much for reporters’ attention. In addition to generating solid coverage leading up to the show, you’ll also have some relevant, timely news in your back pocket to interest reporters.
- Get Tweeting: Many B2B cleantech companies undervalue the power of Twitter, Flicker and YouTube. These channels are powerful social media outlets that industry influencers such as reporters, analysts and policymakers rely upon for industry insight. Events offer tremendous opportunities to boost a following. Use the show’s hashtag to share booth activities or sessions; capture video interviews of your partners or demos of your product. We’ve even used these channels creatively to engage with conference audiences—such as setting up Twitter-based surveys and contests.
- No news? No problem. Just bring your perspective: Having a new manufacturing plant coming online, a big new investment round or a great new customer to showcase is always great PR fodder for a conference. But, even without the “hard” news, developing an interesting perspective strategic to your PR goals can create for a compelling interview. Got an opinion on how to improve the LEED system or thoughts on the solar anti-dumping tariffs? Your PR team can leverage those thought leadership positions to your advantage.
These are just a couple of high level tips that hopefully are some food for thought as you get ready for the shows. Good luck and see you there!
Wait A Minute is a multi-media series providing 60 second insights, analysis and suggestions on how to approach and manage today’s PR, marketing and communications challenges. Wait A Minute is published weekly by Schwartz MSL.
The opinions expressed via “Wait A Minute” are of the authors and not necessarily of Schwartz MSL or MSLGROUP.
Posted by Erin DelLlano on July 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM