In our CES 2017 recap blog, we went over the nitty gritty of preparing for and executing a media relations campaign at the biggest tech show of the year. The time has come again to embrace the preparation phase for how you will attract media attention, where you’ll host them and when to time your news at CES 2018. With that, we’ve put together some tips to help in your strategic planning based on our campaigns that hit it out of the park last year.
Be extremely flexible with press meetings if you don’t have a booth.
Not having a booth can deter media from setting up a formal meeting. It also means reporters cannot stop by when they have a chance. Flexibility is key here. Offer to meet media where they will already be after the appointment they have before the time you are trying to set up. If your technology is particularly visual, spend the time finding various options for best telling the story that are convenient or enticing to them. Our client, Aluma Connect, made a last-minute decision to attend the show, so the team was willing to get the prototype to any location at any time of day to make a piece work – even a 3 a.m. shoot for CNN on the show floor. While reporters have every intention of making a set meeting with you, this level of flexibility can make or break the number of press interactions you have at the show.
Don’t forget about pre-show coverage opportunities.
Showcasing the world’s thinnest and smallest new Bluetooth trackers, our strategy for Chipolo is a prime example of prioritizing pre-show coverage and working with journalists without in-person meetings. Uproar knew that Chipolo’s booth would be difficult to get reporters to visit because they could not see the new products in action. Without an experiential pull, Uproar chose not to embargo the announcement of the new products and made it super easy for reporters to cover Chipolo without taking up their time at the show, resulting in coverage in CNET, Digital Trends, The Verge, Android Headlines, and 40 pieces overall.
Consider a quality over quantity approach if your product is in its infancy.
It is a common strategy for companies to announce new products at the show with only a simple prototype to showcase. It is important to set expectations for editors and reporters you are meeting with in this case. It may be best to focus on a few key outlets and reporters at this stage; particularly if you’re going to need the reporter to be more lenient on you. This strategy is also useful in setting expectations for your founder or CEO for press at CES. Offering exclusivity with the story can be enticing to reporters who know their colleagues are being bombarded with the same story ideas. Aluma Connect, mentioned in tip one, also took this approach. With the goal of 3-5 top-tier meetings, Aluma saw coverage from The Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and CNET. The syndication power of these outlets meant additional bonus pickup with 20 pieces of coverage overall.
Have a dedicated PR rep working the show for you.
Press roams the show, especially in the first couple days. Having a person dedicated to keeping an eye out for press and luring them over to your booth with a quick conversation can be really helpful. A member of the Uproar team was at our client VERT’s booth the entire time the show floor was open, making it possible for the team to continuously ‘hunt down’ reporters in the area and bring them right to the booth for a demonstration. This tenacity and persistence led to multiple broadcast television segments on CNN, HLN, and CNN International. Additionally, VERT saw press coverage in Tom’s Guide, SportTechie, Yahoo! Tech, Digital Trends, Computer Magazine, Complex News and more. With just 16 previously scheduled in-person meetings, Uproar’s determination on the show floor led to a total of 61 pieces of coverage overall.
Use the show as a chance to entice reporters with limited samples.
Not every company at CES has something completely new to announce to press but would still like to find a way to position the company to attract media attention. Mio Global had announced its new activity tracker and metric (Personal Activity Intelligence – PAI) the year before and garnered a lot of press. For CES 2017, the PAI app and SLICE were finally available, but since SLICE wasn’t new anymore, Uproar strategically planned to entice reporters to meet with Mio by handing out the first round of SLICE review units at the booth timed with the retail launch announce. This strategy proved to be extremely successful as reporters were eager to confirm meetings to pick up their review units, resulting in 14 meetings and 20 articles in top-tier press like The Wall Street Journal, CNET, The Verge and Digital Trends.
You can see the strategies above have helped us navigate the waters of attracting press at CES. The good news is that media attends with their full attention on cranking out good tech stories. The challenge comes in making sure you’ve set yourself up to be one of them.