By Jill McCubbin

Tradeshows and conferences offer an abundance of well-hidden PR opportunities – opportunities for which participation can reap business benefits over and above the standard “show up at show with press release in hand” that is all too typical of today’s under-staffed tech company.

market2world clients rely on us to ensure they don’t miss value-added opportunities at these made-for-PR events. We’ve learned that many tradeshow opportunities are free, but to realize a business benefit from the free offer requires proactive planning, filling out many forms and adhering to strict deadlines that occur not days, but often months in advance of a tech tradeshow. Yet these marketing opportunities – at dozens of shows we’ve worked including “the bigs”, such as Macworld 09 in San Francisco, International CES 2009 and Interop 2009 (both in Las Vegas) – translate to increased public relations and media attention and, of course, to sales leads.

Standard tradeshow PR services include the creation and distribution of a company or product launch news release as well as pre- and post-event media outreach. market2world offers these services and also ensures our clients are not “passive tradeshow exhibitors”. We coordinate interviews between pre-registered media contacts and CEOs on the tradeshow floor, and we submit our clients for every available type of tradeshow-based PR and product award opportunity. And we don’t miss deadlines.

Below is market2world’s schedule for the PR opportunities available at Macworld 09 this coming January. Macworld is the Apple industry’s premier annual tradeshow and conference that introduces all the best and newest Apple-related hardware, software, wireless and gadgets. We’ve won two Eddy (Macworld Editor’s Choice Awards) for our clients, as well as Best of Show honours – to learn more about market2world’s specific PR expertise for companies working in the Mac industry, click here. Macworld 09 posts a PDF PR kit online and has a few other exhibitor manuals and guides for attendees, but we’ve boiled down the information glut and set an achievable, clear PR schedule. Please note, however, our planning started this summer – discussing what products we’re brining to the show and how we’re positioning them, plus contingency plans in case a given piece of software isn’t production-ready.

Schedule for Macworld 09

27 October – market2world orders Virtual Press Office (VPO) press kit for Macworld 09 for our client ($575 minus 10% for ordering before 31 Oct)

31 October – market2world submits PR contact form to Macworld 09 coordinating team

3 November – deadline to submit products to Macworld 09 First Looks – choices are made from submissions to be included in a free news release – a product and show preview release – distributed by Macworld 09 one week in advance of the tradeshow

17 November 3 PM EST – deadline for submitting company description to the Macworld 09 program guide and reserve time slot for free press conference room

21 November – confirm press conference time with Macworld staff as well as client

24 November – create (and begin booking into) our client CEO’s five day, hour-to-hour Macworld schedule

1 December – Macworld 09 pre-registered press list available (although another Macworld 09 guide states date as December 5th – we’ll check on both days!) also check Macnn-affiliated Ilene’s Machine for Macworld 2009 event information

8 December – deadline for Macworld to receive five empty product boxes for product inclusion as part of the on-site First Looks Product Walls. Note: If unable to submit product boxes to be affixed to wall, may substitute an ad/product picture/product description, approximately 8 1/2 x 11 in size

12 December – deadline for 2009 submissions to Macworld 2008 Best of show and market2world begins placing product review copies in the hands of early reviewers and targeted bloggers – reviews to be embargoed until Macworld 09 launch

19 December – confirm logistics of hotel and hotel room numbers for CEO and his Macworld team, confirm cell numbers for key team members and confirm meetings with key customers, retailers and reseller partners currently booked to CEO’s Macworld schedule

22 December – deadline to submit a contact and info for media reference guide (contact will be client company CEO)

29 December 12:00 PM EST – deadline to submit a 100-word exhibitor profile for FREE inclusion and distribution by Business Wire for Macworld 09

2 January – market2world’s internal target deadline for uploading files to VPO (Macworld is not allowing paper news releases in the Media Room)

5 January – first day of Macworld 09 and market2world client’s Macworld 09 product is launched in the form of a press release and PR outreach

6 January at 2 pm PST – CEO delivers 45-minute press conference in the free Macworld pre-booked onsite conference room

5-9 January – Macworld 09 conference and trade show – market2world is on-call for CEO interview follow up, ongoing outreach for media attention for our client’s newly launched products, media requests and coordination between media and our client’s trade show team

Remainder of January – Follow up with established and new media contacts, supply reviewers with new product to review, answer new product feature and pricing questions, supply product graphics for all requests, wrap-up last interview requests, send our thanks and create a final comprehensive PR report of the activity and results from our tradeshow efforts

Approximately a month after any tradeshow in which market2world has participated, we schedule a post-tradeshow post-mortem to discuss – with our client – what went right and what needs to be improved before the next tradeshow event and/or for the following year’s show

If you are investing in tradeshow marketing and see value in proactive PR planning, we’re here to help and get you the articles, reviews and awards you deserve.

(Jill McCubbin is a conversation architect with market2world communications inc., Ottawa, Canada's tech PR and product marketing agency.)