CES: How to Knock it Out of the Ballpark

CES 2018 is nipping at our heels – it’s only 10 weeks away. That means we’ve entered a critical time in planning the PR for your trade show presence. If you’re looking for a great PR and marketing partner to guide you through CES, you can’t beat Lages. We have a full spectrum of tech experience working alongside everyone from startups to billion dollar enterprises. Our years of experience will get you the media attention and analyst connections you are looking for. Leave it to Lages to make you the talk of the show!

Below, we’re outlining all the elements you’ll need to make CES a success.

First things first. What do you need help with at CES – and how do get that buzz going? Here’s a list to help you start brainstorming.

  • Product Launches
  • News Announcements
  • Social Contant
  • Pre-show Promotion
  • Awards
  • Media/Analyst Appointments
  • Show Coverage
  • Insider Suite Demos
  • Influencer Relations
  • Campaign Themes

No matter what program components you select above – we want CES buzz to grow into coverage and meaningful relationships with media and analysts. Think CNET, Gartner, The Wall Street Journal, Frost & Sullivan, Anandtech, TWICE, Tom’s Hardware, Forrester, Digital Trends, and more – it’s critical to get in touch with media and analysts well before the show and also beat holiday vacations/shut downs.

Maximize the month of November:

  • Time is of the essence: Ideally, messaging and assets (photos, videos, collateral, etc) should be finalized before the Thanksgiving holiday. This will allow you to finalize your show strategy, begin outreach to media, draft your news release and package materials that tell your story.
  • Media outreach should start this month – the earlier the better. It’s best to pulse media and analysts from your customized database and find out who is attending and get on their radar. Keep an eye out for the CES pre-registered press list as well – to identify contacts that are relevant to your market, product, etc.
  • Do you have a show floor presence? Not every company does – and not every company needs one. Consider affordable media events (approximately $6-12K) such as Digital Experience and ShowStoppers instead. These events are media receptions that enable exhibiting companies to directly meet with more than hundreds of pre-qualified journalists, analysts and key industry influencers.
  • Are you interested in awards? Many have deadlines this month and early in December – i.e. CES Last Gadget Standing, Engadget’s Best of CES Awards, Videomaker’s Best of CES, TWICE Picks Awards, CE Pro’s CTA Mark of Excellence Awards, etc.
  • On-stage or live interview opportunities are also booking this month. If you’re interested in presenting your product, it’s time to pitch these and try to secure an interview spot – i.e. BeTerrific!, CESTV, TWiT.TV, Tech Talk with Craig Peterson, etc.
  • Have you decided on your premium items or giveaways? (i.e. bouncy balls, notepads, bags) – You’ll need these in hand before the show, so make sure you have enough time to order them.

December is crunch time:

  • By now, your news release should be finalized – and you’re deciding on a date during the week of CES to issue it over the wire. This is also an ideal time to offer up advance copies of your news release, so that media can plan their stories. It’s also key to offer an online press kit – we recommend a Dropbox – with the news release, photos, videos, fact sheets, FAQs, etc.
  • It’s time to get on media and analyst’s calendars. Outreach began in November, but now it’s critical to get on their schedules and book appointments. Make it easy for them to know where you are – give the building/hotel you’re in, the hall location and booth number. If you’re at a media event, expect media and analysts to stop-by your table (after all, your outreach let them know where to find you). You’re on their radar, and both ShowStoppers and Digital Experience provide ample time for them to swing by to learn more.
  • Finalize your schedule! It’s time to gather all the media and analysts that expressed interest in one place. A meeting schedule compiling day-by-day booth appointments, stop-bys, interview locations, etc. is helpful to keep your spokesperson(s) on schedule and in the loop. For appointments, creating background documents that include relevant details, recent articles, analyst reports, etc. can make all the difference in building a good relationship face-to-face at the show. It’s best to review this for each media or analyst prior to your meetings.

January is show time!

  • It’s time to make a splash! You’re welcoming the New Year and CES: The show is January 9 – 12, 2018.
  • Your news release is crossing the week of CES – and it’s critical to follow-up with all of the media and analysts who expressed an interest in your news. It’s best to send over a brief note with the link to the news release – and if they’ve booked an appointment, reiterate the meeting details (date, location, time), give your cell phone number just in case they need to connect, are running late, etc.
  • Messaging is key: For those staffing your media event table, hotel suite or show floor booth – run through key messages, master your elevator pitch, review materials, and don’t forget to snag contact information for those you interact with (especially media and analysts).
  • Post-event outreach is a must. CES is massive, so if someone misses an appointment – that’s okay. You got them on the hook and sent them your online press kit, so after the show is over – it’s prime time for post-event follow-up. That also goes for those you met with during CES. Following up with a thank you, items they asked for during an interview, and/or checking in to connect later that month are tactful ways to close the loop on these interactions.

The clock is ticking – and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into CES. With the right PR partner, a custom, tailored CES program suited to your company’s needs can take the stress away. Drop us an email to find out more: beverly@lages.com.

5 Tried-and-True Tactics to Help You Ace that Media Interview

Think about your favorite media outlets. You know, the ones that show up at the top of your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds every day. Now, picture them wanting to talk to you about your latest product launch/upgrade/channel partnership, etc. This is no pipe dream scenario – the right PR and marketing communications tactics will make this a reality. Are you ready? What will you say? Does the thought of connecting one-on-one with influential reporters and editors strike a bit of fear in you? Fear not.

We’re about to give you 5 tips to make your media interviews a breeze – and ensure that your message resonates. First things first, though – it’s important to understand the roles involved in media relations (your company, the PR rep and the reporter) in order to maximize opportunities and learn how to navigate through different inquiries. It’s a quick read, so check it out here.

A little planning can go a long way. Relax. Breathe. You’ve got this. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Storytelling is the most effective form of media relations. Storytelling interprets the news with anecdotes, customer examples, and perspective – it goes beyond facts and weaves your message into a story with context.
  2. Make your message repeatable. Sound bites make a difference.

    “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Johnnie Cochran

    “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
    “Read my lips, no new taxes.” – George H. W. Bush
  3. Make your most important point first and think like a journalist. Use deductive reasoning and back it up with facts or “proof points.”

    “The most important thing to remember is…”
    “I’ve talked about a lot of things. It boils down to these three things…”
    “The real issue is…”
  4. While building a rapport is what we all strive for, don’t get too comfortable and forget your purpose (the media always know their purpose).  Reporters can make you feel comfortable – it’s safe to assume everything is “on the record” even if you say otherwise.
  5. Tactfully block and bridge if you’ve been asked a question you can’t or don’t want to answer. Never say “no comment” – if you cannot comment, explain why.

    “It’s our policy not to discuss [topic] specifically, but I can tell you…”
    “I think what you’re really asking is…”
    “That speaks to a bigger point…”

Employing these tactics will ensure that you communicate clearly and effectively. If something does go sideways (best laid plans and all) that’s where your PR team comes in. We’re on the calls with you to step in as needed and assist you in getting your message across. Don’t worry – practice makes perfect, and your conversations with the media will get easier along the way.  If you have any questions on fine-tuning your media relations, shoot us an email at beverly@lages.com.