Four tips to help you cut through the SPI noise and get your brand some media love.

 

Ah, yes. It is that time of year. Summer is ending. Football is kicking off. The kids are back in school. And Solar Power International is just a couple of weeks away. And you, the enthusiastic solar marketer that you are, have a hot new product that will revolutionize the industry and basically change the world. It is obviously a no-brainer for a flurry of media coverage.

About 20,000 other attendees feel the same about their products. The question is how you can stand out from the crowd and get the biggest bang for your marketing and PR buck.

At Antenna, we don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to plan your media strategy. And we certainly don’t recommend going at it alone without the expert counsel of a PR and marketing firm.

But since you are here, we assume you are looking for some quick hacks to help you with earned media in Las Vegas. Here are a few tips that you can do pretty easily to maximize your chances for success.

1: Find your audience

We don’t mean identify your target customer segment for your new product. No, we mean find out which reporters will be at SPI. If your company is exhibiting at the conference, you will be allowed to get the official media list from SPI organizers. That’s the easiest way to discover which media outlets and reporters will be there.

If you are not sponsoring, there are other ways to get a good sense of who will be reporting from the daunting exhibit hall. Spend some time on Twitter searching relevant hashtags to see which reporters have covered SPI previously and may be talking about their plans for this year’s show.

2: Know your audience

Once you have a list of reporters you are confident will be at SPI, arm yourself with as much information about them as possible. Connect with them on LinkedIn or engage with them on Twitter and take a mental picture of their face. You never know when you will find yourself in a conversation with a reporter at one of the many social events.

Be sure to know what your targeted reporters are writing about. Read their last few months of articles to get a sense of their areas of interest and the general tone of their reporting. 

 

Social media updates from sponsors and media
    are a great way to keep up with the latest SPI news.

Social media updates from sponsors and media are a great way to keep up with the latest SPI news.

 

3: Feed them and give them alcohol

A reporter’s most valuable resource is time. And at SPI, time is a scarce commodity. If you are reading this now, it is likely that reporters have already filled up much (if not all) of their day-time calendars. But towards late afternoon exhibitors begin offering up free booze and snacks, and reporters have to eat (and drink) too. If you are exhibiting, consider hosting a happy hour that will attract potential customers and even reporters. Spread the word on social media and give out small flyers or other takeaways to get word out. Trust us, reporters always know where the next happy hour will be.

Now that you’ve enticed them with the promise of food and drink, be sure that you have a clear, concise message about your company and product. Don’t get hung up on specific characteristics of your product. Talk about why it matters, why it is different than anything out there and what impact it could have on the solar industry.

4: Keep an eye out for reporters, but don’t be pushy when you find them

There are a few places you will likely spot reporters. Some media outlets have exhibitor tables and their reporters will be spending time there, others will be working on stories in the press room or in a quiet hallway, some might be taking notes during a keynote session or just curiously roaming the exhibit floor. Luckily, they have dedicated media badges and can usually be spotted if you’re on the lookout.

When you see one of your targeted reporters coming or going, casually introduce yourself, give your 15-second elevator pitch, give them a business card, and offer to chat further if they have time. Don’t be too insistent about chatting right then and there. Reporters have jobs to do too and nothing will guarantee negative coverage more than a pushy marketer peddling their product when they are on a tight deadline for another article.   

There you have it. Nothing can guarantee good coverage. Even if you have the best product since the iPhone, you still have to find a way to cut through the noise to gain the media’s attention. Hopefully this guide helps you stand out at SPI this year. For SPI 2018, start planning earlier and consider bringing in the support of an agency to help you map out a comprehensive PR strategy. 

Ready to increase your PR + marketing firepower? Meet with Antenna Vice President Jake Rozmaryn at SPI or schedule a complimentary PR audit after the show. 

 

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