CES is one of the biggest opportunities you’ll have all year to make your product and your company known.
The only trick is standing out among more than 4,000 consumer electronics companies all vying for the media’s attention.
With about 3,000 reporters attending CES 2018 (a lot of them with fully booked schedules), earning their attention is tough.
After 10 years of attending CES, I’ve seen a lot of different strategies for earning media coverage at the show. Here are five of the best ways to get noticed at CES and earn media coverage.
1) Give the media a great visual
Everyone always says the same thing when I tell them I’m at CES: What are you seeing? Show me some cool photos!
The media knows that the best way to bring CES to consumers is to show them cool stuff. Sure, they’ll also need words to describe what viewers are seeing, but for the most part, they want to take the photo or video, and run with it.
If you exhibit your product in a visually interesting way, have a device that’s unique (what some media like to call wacky or weird), and you’re attending one of the CES pre-shows, there’s a good chance you’ll capture the media’s attention early.
2) Know how media manage the show and make the most of your time
Day one is always about central hall. All the big companies are there: Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic. It has all the gigantic and razor-slim TVs, smart appliances, 360-degree action cameras, VR headsets, drones, and voice-enabled gadgets.
But some media like The Verge and CNET send dozens of reporters to cover the show, creating more opportunities as they fan out to all the halls. So while you might think the media would be tied up in central hall, be ready for influential reporters to drop by at any time.
Note also that while some media are looking to cover every gadget, others will spend their time going in depth on just a handful of interesting products.
— Digital Trends (@DigitalTrends) January 8, 2018
If you find yourself with downtime at your booth, and the media’s not around, be the media yourself.
Break out your smartphone and snap some photos, then post and tag to social like the media would. Create Snapchat or Instagram stories each day at the show.
Take photos and video that you can use for the rest of the year on social, your website, and other marketing materials.
Use Twitter to identify media attending the show who are looking at your space and recommend they stop by.
3) ABD: Always Be Demoing
One year I came across a booth with some interesting looking speakers. After chatting with an exec from the company for a few minutes, he was nice enough to demo the product for me. Or at least he tried.
There were probably 30 Wi-Fi-enabled speakers in the booth, each with its own network. When he opened his phone settings to select the Wi-Fi for the speaker he was showing me, he had difficulty remembering which network belonged to which speaker.
I waited patiently for about 10 minutes, then excused myself. Hey, stuff will go wrong. Luckily I wasn’t a reporter or important buyer.
Always triple check that you and the tech are ready when your number is called. First impressions, right?
Also be prepared to talk about the tech behind your product – some media will be looking for a deeper dive on what’s driving a trend, like the standards behind wireless charging or USB Power Delivery, for example.
4) Don’t stop at the 5 o’clock whistle
Looking for new partners? A VC? Key media? Look for networking events in the evening, parties to attend, and events that focus on your space or industry.
Evening events give you an opportunity to meet people you may never see on the show floor. Take advantage. One year I attended an evening VR event and 20 or so companies were there demoing their technology and gadgets to anyone who would take the time to learn more. Their day didn’t end when most others’ did.
If you aren’t looking at evening events, you may be missing out on a major part of CES. One caveat: Make sure you read the event description. Some events are open to any CES attendee with a badge, while others are invite-only and some might be too late to sign up for.
5) Have help on the homefront
It’s impossible to see everything at CES, and it’s important to keep tabs on stories about your products in the media, how competitors are doing, conversations in your space, and other takeaways.
Having someone back at the office scouring the web for the latest, as well as identifying relevant media and conversations on the social web is vital in our efforts helping clients.
This allows the team on the ground to act and react as opportunities arise, and in some cases, set up appointments on the fly or later on during the show.
How to get attention at CES
Put these strategies into action this week to up your visibility. But don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. CES is just the beginning. While there’s often a focus on getting the immediate hits and making a splash at the show, don’t forget to play the long game.
Keep in touch with the media contacts you make at the show, following up when the product you demoed at CES comes to market, for example. CES can set you up for the entire year if you approach it with the long game in mind.
Have questions? Need help? I’ll be on the show floor. Get in touch on Twitter and I’ll try to stop by your booth.