Survey Says … What Editors Think About At-Show Press Meetings

It’s trade show season, and if you’re like most marcom folks in the industry, you’re doing everything humanly possible to book as many meetings with editors as you can. But if you’re finding it harder and harder to get on the editors’ calendars, you’re not alone. As publications consolidate or downsize, journalists are becoming ever more pressed for time, so they’re being more selective about how they spend it.

We surveyed some of the most influential editors in the industry about this very topic. We asked them how they felt about at-show booth meetings, and here’s what they had to say:

  1. Keep regions in mind. For example, only request a meeting with a German publication if you are active in Germany. That means having customers or participating in events in the region. It might help to have your regional distributor attend the meeting. Editors appreciate talking with someone knowledgeable about their country or region.
  2. Make sure you have something new and interesting to talk about. Editors appreciate relationship-building, but at these shows, their time is tight, and if you don’t have something newsworthy for them to publish, they’d rather skip the meeting.
  3. Do your homework about the publication. It’s important to know the markets and topics the publication covers to make sure that what you have to say is relevant. Better yet, take a look at their editorial calendars to see if there is a relevant topic coming up. If that topic is months away, then perhaps a postshow phone call would be better than a meeting — for you and for them!
  4. Keep it quick – 10-15 minutes. Don’t give a product demo. Journalists just don’t have the time for demos at these shows. Make your press kit available on a thumb drive, and when you talk to the journalists, just hit the highlights. Focus on the high-level news rather than going into too much product detail.
  5. If you have a press conference but request a one-on-one meeting in addition to it, then use that extra time to tell the editors something they didn’t hear at the press conference. Give them some news embargoed for a later date or suggest an article based on their editorial calendars.

The takeaway: Respect journalists’ time and be prepared to share something of value to make the meeting worth their while. They’ll appreciate the effort, it’ll be a more productive meeting for both of you, and you’ll be more likely to get their attention in the future.