As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to start planning for the year ahead. For healthcare PR and marketing pros, that often entails building a strategy for getting the most out of industry trade shows and events. In this three-part blog series, we’ll identify 10 critical milestones to check off as you work to effectively engage attending media, analysts and influencers and show return on your investment.
MILESTONE 1 – CAPITALIZE ON EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS
Your planning timeline will ideally begin six months out from any given trade show, and it’s marked by efforts to capitalize on existing relationships. Journalists and other industry influencers have by this point decided they’re attending, which means you can start inquiring about their plans. Start by asking what sessions they’re attending or assigned to cover. If you can get a sense of what they’re setting aside time for, you’re in a good position to get on their schedule just from casual conversation.
MILESTONE 2 – SOLIDIFY NEWS PIPELINE
Start thinking about what news your company can publicize a good three months out. Most companies need something new and timely to pique the interest of journalists attending trade shows so it’s important to dust off old messaging and brainstorm something fresh. Often that means holding a big customer win or product launch for leverage when pitching meetings, and sometimes it means getting creative to manufacture your own news. Surveys and white papers are great fodder for seeding stories and can be enticing lures for press.
MILESTONE 3 – TAP THIRD PARTIES TO BUILD CREDIBILITY
Two months out is the time to start lining up support for your company and its offerings. This is especially important for vendors as many publications pride themselves on delivering peer-to-peer-geared content. To get on the schedules of journalists from those publications (e.g. HealthLeaders and Fierce Healthcare), vendors need an end-user in tow who can speak to how they’re using the technology or service the company provides. This is a great opportunity to make customers the heroes of your stories and you’d be wise to tell them as much when reaching out.
Look for the next three milestones on your trade show planning timeline in part two of our series in January. If you can’t wait, you can listen to our recent webinar on the topic here
If you have questions about trade show planning or are interested in connecting with our team about HIMSS, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.