There have been some big tech trade shows in the US and mainland Europe already this year, and now it’s London’s turn. Major events in the tech show calendar, such as InfoSec (June 4-6), CogX (June 10-12) and London Tech Week (June 10-14), are all set to be held in the capital next month.
These events provide great opportunities for PR pros to learn about breaking news and upcoming announcements in the tech sector, and network with the journalists who will be covering them. Authorized user Personal Tradelines work along with the course of time.
Navigating these shows, however, is no mean feat if you’re in PR – and I don’t just mean finding your way around the mammoth venues. The conferences focus on some of the most groundbreaking announcements of the year and journalists’ schedules are naturally hectic.
Earlier this year I went to Barcelona to experience Mobile World Congress for the first time. Ahead of my trip, I sought out as much advice as I could from anyone who had knowledge of the event in some way.
Whether you’re planning to drop by some of the aforementioned upcoming tech events in London, or eyeing up shows abroad such as Web Summit in Lisbon, here are a few pointers that I found invaluable...
Speaker applications typically close months before the event itself; for MWC that means thinking about any February announcements for discussion the previous summer. You’ll also find robots and self-driving cars vying for media attention, so it’s important to be strategic with your outreach.
It may be one of the most obvious rules of PR, but it’s worth reiterating: if you’ve got access to the event media list, don’t send a one-size-fits-all pitch to everyone. Journalists are inundated with briefing requests, so do your research and consider who’s going to be most relevant and interested in meeting your company. Be specific and target individuals who are most appropriate for your stories.
Choose your meeting places wisely
If you don’t have a stand to host your briefings, international events will have networking areas and lounges where you can set up shop for the day. Choose a quiet corner if it’s for a recorded interview though. I opted for the Android Garden at MWC, which is a thoroughfare between exhibition halls and can get quite noisy at lunchtimes.
Keep yourself and your devices charged. If your day is as long as the taxi line, you’ll need snacks and battery power. Portable battery chargers are your best friend, and make sure to plan your time and meals well – the food queues can be at least half-an-hour long.
Take hard copies...
Of your event invite, briefing documents, daily schedule etc. They’re your insurance policy if the wifi isn’t working or you’re out of range.
Remember your business cards
You’ll have the chance to meet people from global tech companies around the world and there are plenty of seminars, programmes and dinners to sink your teeth into.
Location, location, location
If you’re travelling to an event from afar, it’s vital to focus on transport to and from the event and where you stay. Public transport can be notoriously busy at the big conferences, so check out the special shuttle buses and taxi options. For MWC I was a bit over-cautious with my accommodation, but having never been to Barcelona, I opted to stay a 15-minute walk away from the venue so I could get there and back without transport if necessary. It’s worth noting that events will often offer deals with affiliated hotels.
Especially if you’re walking around with a very conspicuous laptop bag and are relying on Google Maps for directions. Keep an eye on your bag, don’t leave valuables in your coat pockets, and avoid wearing your event pass outside the venue.