You’ve worked hard on your game, secured a spot at a trade show, and now, you’re ready to get it out in front of the media. While trade shows and events are great ways to get consumer feedback and wish lists, you’ll also want to capitalize on the media attention these events garner.
But how do you get people from the media to your booth? Here are a few tips you can use before, during, and after a trade show to make sure you generate press and influencer attention and get them to visit your booth.
6 Tips for More Media Attention During a Trade Show
The key to getting more media attention during a trade show is planning! We’ll explain what you need to do in six simple steps.
1. Have Something New to Show
While having the best version of your game will be fine in terms of attracting consumers, to get media attention, you’ll need something new and fresh to write about that they can only see at the event. If it’s a new game yet to be announced, great! But what do you do when your game has already been announced?
When developing your demo for a game that has already been shared, consider building a playable demo around the following:
- A soon-to-be added feature
- New DLC
- A new character that will soon be added
- A new gameplay mode coming to the game
- New chapters or episodes
Keep in mind that your demo doesn’t need to be a huge piece of the game, so long as what you have showcases the core features of your game, such as characters, maps, gameplay mechanics, etc., that will be enough to interest the press.
2. Generate Interest Before the Trade Show
During a trade show, media and influencers will receive dozens of emails a day related to the show (never mind the normal deluge of emails they get in general) – so your invitation needs to stand out. They’re likelier to click on your invitation to check out your game at the trade show if they’ve heard about it before the show. Here are some steps you should take before sending out your invites:
- At least two months before the trade show, introduce your game to media and influencers. You can do this in a few different ways, such as media outreach or participating in a digital event or showcase (such as Steam Next Fest and having a trailer for your game featured).
- Leading up to the event, provide regular updates about your game over social media, Reddit, Imgur, ko-fi, your Steam or Itch.io page, your website — anywhere and everywhere you share information with your community. Your goal is to invite interaction and amplify your presence at the trade show. You can also supplement this with additional media outreach at regular intervals (once every two weeks is a solid cadence to follow).
- Send a “Save the Date” invitation to press and influencers about a month before the event. This can be a short note that lets the media know that you’ll be at the event and where to find you (be sure to include your booth number in all communications).
- As soon as you get the list of attending press from the trade show, send out your official invitation asking them to book a meeting time with you for a game demo. The sooner you do this, the better; press and influencers quickly book their meeting space leading up to an event.
- You can also post your availability over your social channels and invite media to book an appointment with you via DM. Make it easy for them to book a time slot with you. For example, apps like Calendly make it nearly a one-click action to set up a meeting.
- Send follow-up emails to ensure your invitation is noticed — but be careful not to overdo it and annoy them. One follow-up a week leading up to the event is appropriate.
3. Use a Tool to Keep Track of Appointments
When you send your invitation, make it as frictionless as possible for the press and influencers to book a meeting time with you.
Coordinating a time with back-and-forth emails will build initial relationships with some media. However, it becomes time-consuming for others (especially top-tier outlets), and the conversation can be easily forgotten or dropped.
Having a link to a calendar booking platform such as Calendly, ScheduleOnce, or something similar, takes the guesswork out of the equation. You can also follow up with a reply email that provides appointment attendees additional information about your game before the in-person meeting.
4. Ensure Appointments Are Kept
Your schedule is booked solid on paper — but will everyone show up? The reality is not always. Prior appointments can run long, people can get lost looking for your meeting space, or sometimes they forget. To make sure you get the best possible turnout, do the following:
- A few days before each meeting, send a reminder email to all your booked appointments, recapping their meeting time, what they’re going to see, and the location of your meeting space. If show floor maps are available digitally, download one, mark where your booth is, and attach that image to your emails. If you can include landmarks such as “it’s the booth right beside the food court,” that’s even better because sometimes trade show floors can be confusing.
- Do this again the day before the appointment. It’s always helpful to have reminders; they might miss the first one.
- If you’re using a tool to book appointments, you can automate an “hour before” email or text reminders with the same information.
5. What If You Don’t Have Many Appointments During the Trade Show?
If you don’t have many appointments during the trade show, all is not lost! Here are a few tips you can use to gain attention while you’re at the event:
- Keep an eye out for media and influencer badges. If you see one, don’t be afraid to say hello and ask if they’d like to check out your game (respectfully, of course). Remember, they’re there to work, too. If someone looks busy, hounding them to check out your game will annoy them.
- Actively post about your booth on social media throughout the weekend. Share pictures of the setup of your station, the game in action, fun things happening at your trade show booth, and anything that shows that your space is ‘the place to be.’ Remember to ask permission before you post if someone is playing your game in the picture.
- Send an additional follow-up invitation, letting media and influencers know they can book an appointment to see you throughout the event.
6. The Trade Show Is Over — Now What?
When the trade show is over, send a thank you email to any media who came to visit your booth. Keep your game fresh in their minds with a personal message letting them know you’re happy to answer any follow-up questions they might have. In your email, include links to your store pages, website, one-sheet, social channels, and your press kit so that they have everything they need to share your game with their audiences.
Trade shows are great places to connect with consumers and a prime way to get more media attention for your video game. Try out the tips this article shares, and make your time at trade shows more productive and valuable!