The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is associated with innovation, excitement and the future. I would have also have added nervousness to the list, because thatís how I felt when I found out that Iíd be attending this yearís show for the first time.† †
In addition to calming my nerves, I had to create an effective media outreach plan that would generate results for my client at the largest consumer electronics trade show of the year. Even though more than 1,000 reporters attend, securing interviews is a big challenge. After months of planning and days of working the show floor, I offer the following advice to new attendees charged with the same media-centric mission:
The Media Will Answer During Off-Hours
History has shown that journalists will often deny a publicistís call after 4:00pm. When it comes to a trade show like CES, this rule goes out the window. With the sea of CES-related emails that reporters receive leading up to the show, publicists need to be aggressive in conducting follow up outreach to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Calling reporters late in the day for the largest consumer electronics show of the year can cause anxiety. I remember picking up the phone during my initial outreach, and feeling a rush of nerves as I dialed a key contact. I kept asking myself, ďAm I going to burn a bridge by calling so late?Ē or, ďDo I really have all of the information that I need to effectively pitch?Ē
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when a number of reporters expressed their gratitude for the call. Since many journalists are producing CES preview pieces, they are often working up until deadlines to find sources and fill in the blanks before filing their piece for review. In fact, I had a reporter share her frustration with finding a credible source to discuss television technology at CES, and that my client may be able to solve her problem.
Embrace the CES Badge
CES is an information and sensory overload. As I walked through the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), I almost felt claustrophobic in a sea of reporters, vendors and show-goers. What made it worse was that it was almost impossible to tell who was who. Thankfully, when speaking with a reporter on-site, I found a solution. I noticed that the reporter was wearing a badge with a purple label. Then, as I started speaking with show attendees about their CES experience, I recognized that they were wearing orange labeled badges.
While walking through the LVCC North Hall, I noticed that Mercedes was wrapping up a major announcement. As soon as the final Mercedes representative finished speaking, I was able to spot purple badges and knew that this could be my chance to schedule interviews. The next thing I knew, I was speaking with reporters from major outlets about coming by my clientís booth for a 10-15 minute chat.
Podcast Broadcasts Can Lead to Success
Traditional media dominates the CES landscape. However, their presence at the show is changing. During a lunch break, I walked down to the lower levels of the LVCC South Hall and saw three publicationís booths lined up against a wall. I thought that the booths primarily served as stations for reporters to connect to the Internet and file their stories. It turns out that these were broadcast booths for podcasts from these print publications.
Podcasts are a hidden gem at CES. Theyíre often hungry for content as they need to produce multiple episodes of their program over an extended period of time. This provides tremendous opportunity to have your client test their interview chops and receive quick and valuable coverage. Podcasts also allow for publicists to make inroads with reporters at top-tier publications that they may have not thought about originally pursuing.
CES 2017 can feel like a mental maze, however, if you close your eyes, take a deep breath and stay confident, you can secure exceptional media coverage for your client and gain a valuable learning experience. Even better, publicists can take lessons learned at the show to sharpen their skill set and improve long-term strategy for their client.