Are you planning for a shining debut at a startup conference, something like Korea Blockchain Week 2019 perhaps? Great. Undoubtedly, participating in a conference can be an opportunity for startups to let the crowd know about your brand. 

However, far too many go without a plan. Meet, drink and talk? That is not what a conference is for. Well, not entirely.

First thing you need to keep in mind is the ultimate goal ─ exposure. Whether it’s from potential investors, partners, new hires or customers, exposure is the main reason startups attend conferences.

The most important exposure of all is the press. Journalists are born to be attracted to interesting stories, often found at conferences. Grab the golden opportunity to share your story with potential audiences. For free!

So, what exactly should startups do to get the most out of conferences?

Here is a step-by-step guide. Follow these 6 steps to maximize media exposure at conferences!

If you need help to perfect your PR strategy, check out our Content Services!

BEFORE THE CONFERENCE

1. Targeted invitation emails

The simplest way to maximize press exposure is to send invitation emails directly to the journalists. Have a compelling story ready, and write up a concise yet powerful invitation email. A personally tailored version of this should be sent to relevant writers who are attending the conference.

Invite journalists who are most likely to be interested in your product or service to drop by your booth and offer an ‘exclusive interview’ with your founder. Don’t forget to indicate where your booth is located, and your availability for an interview or product demo during the event.

Most startup conference organizers offer a list of writers who have press passes. As an exhibitor, you can ask for that list. There could be thousands of names on the list at a big conference, so sort the list by the publications where you would like to be featured. Be realistic and stay focused!

Make and keep your own spreadsheet, with contact information like email addresses and Twitter handles for future reference. It’s also useful to include a photo of the journalist if you can find one, so you can recognize them at the event.

2. Press kit

When sending out invitation emails, it would be great if you could provide a link to your press kit.

A press kit includes a brief tailored for the press about your company, products, and services, or a press release. This document should include all essential facts that you’d like to highlight to the press, so that if a journalist decides to write about your startup they have the basic information they need in order to get started. Typically, a press kit also includes the company logo, the key product image, executive bio, and team photo.

A well established press kit comes in handy not only for conferences, but also for general press outreach. So make sure to prepare one along with the launch of your project.

If you need help to perfect your PR strategy, check out our Content Services!

3. A dazzling product to present perfectly

If you are attending a startup conference, you must have a product or service to pitch to the visitors. Otherwise, why waste your time?

Find the best way to present it to the crowd. It has to grab the attention at once, no matter when the journalist passes by. For example, if you’re developing a mobile game, get a dozen of mobile phones to hand over to the visitors. Or bring a monitor or TV to show the live demo at the booth.

If your product is not impressive enough or not meant to be visual, make sure to deliver the perfect pitch. The loud doesn’t always win, but always makes heads turn.

(Not as fancy as this, but you get the point.)

AT THE CONFERENCE

4. Shout out in social media

Once you arrive at the event, let the world know you’re there! Take great pictures of the booth, and the team actively participating in the conference. If possible, take a photo with the ‘celebs’. Post them on social media channels with the official hashtags of the conference, sponsors and partners to drag in as many people as possible.

If you have spare time or member, filming a video can be a great idea. Try Facebook Live or Instagram Live to communicate with your followers directly. All the footage becomes resources and assets for a future promotion video to bring even more people to your social media and maximize exposure. 

If you need help to perfect your PR strategy, check out our Content Services!

5. Onsite Media Wrangler

Writers are very busy during conferences. It’s highly likely that you will not get responses from most journalists you reach out to via email. But, it’s too soon to give up!

In your spare time, grab a demo product and go to the press center to look for the writers from your target media list (this is where those photos of journalists in your media list come in handy). If they seem to have time for a quick chat (or not), push yourself to introduce your project and put your elevator pitch to use. 

One thing to keep in mind is that there’s a very thin line between being proactive and being annoying. Tricky, eh?

And make sure to collect business cards from every journalist you run into at the conference. This will help you enrich the media list for future use.

AFTER THE CONFERENCE

6. Follow Up Email Template

Ah, all the fun! Once you return to the office, gather all the contact information and send out a thank you email to follow up.

Sending an email to the journalists you met at the exhibition to politely ask if they plan to write about your startup will often mean the difference between free press and no press. They probably won’t remember you without a follow up and they may just be digging for a great story from the event. Remind them of your project with the press kit (again) and hopefully, you’ll get the exposure you aimed for. Bam!

We hope these tips will help you get the exposure your startup deserves. If you’re in need of content and PR experts to prep you for your next big conference appearance, get in touch

Looking for help to develop your press kit for your next conference? Contact us and we’ll set up a free initial consultation.

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