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How to make the most of industry events

Trade Show PR - 5th March 2024
How to make the most of industry events

Industry events and trade shows are a staple of any PR agency’s calendar, and no more so than in the aviation industry post-pandemic, where the desire to engage face-to-face with colleagues, business contacts and journalists has never been stronger.

This January, 8020 embarked on Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Dublin, a leading conference for the airline, leasing and aviation finance community. Attending an event you’ve not been to before can be daunting, so we’ve put together a list of top tips to maximise results for your clients.

Know your journalists

Beginning media outreach early to understand which journalists are attending the event and when is key. Diaries can get booked up long in advance, so we recommend reaching out to journalists 4-6 weeks ahead to pitch interviews with your clients and to find out which days they’ll be in town. Some event organisers will supply an attending media list, but where this is not possible due to GDPR, you can always research who reported on the event the previous year. Similarly, media partners of the event are also sure to have journalists in attendance.

Offer an ‘early’ exclusive

If your client has news to share during the event, consider offering it under embargo to one publication first as a way to strengthen a media relationship. Trade events are extremely competitive places to announce news, so it can also be worth considering doing away with your trusty press release all together, in favour of more targeted advance outreach to those publications where you know your client’s update will make the most impact. Follow this up with a company announcement on social media for increased awareness.

Have something to say at industry events

It’s not a given that a particular deal or milestone for your client will coincide with the exact week your industry conference is running. When this happens, think about the commentary your client can provide on broader industry issues. Do they have an interesting take on the market that you’ve not heard anywhere else? Or in-house data identifying an upcoming trend? Then shout about it – ensuring your media pitch spells out the uniqueness of what your client has to say.

Don’t get too hung up on coverage

A journalist will often conduct multiple interviews at an event, but not all will result in an article or broadcast clip for your client. While disappointing, when this happens remember that getting your client facetime with target publications is all part of the long-game. If on this occasion they don’t see the press coverage they were expecting, next time around the increased familiarity and rapport built with that journalist will surely pay off.

Network, network, network

As well as meeting journalists, industry events and trade shows are a great place to connect with your client’s industry partners as well as potential new business leads. The long days can be tiring, but it’s important to make the most of your time on location, accepting every invitation you get to networking events, drinks and dinners. It will pay off.


If your client is based in the Americas, Asia-Pacific or Africa, chances are you rarely, if ever, meet in person. Industry events offer a fantastic opportunity to get together so use this time wisely, scheduling PR meetings with the team, or booking a crew to capture social media content. Being able to coordinate filming on-site for your clients is invaluable, and helps ensure those agreed key messages make their way into your video marketing.

Book ahead

Finally, a point on logistics. Where a trade show or conference spills out in the city, as we found in Dublin, it can be hard to find a ‘quiet’ corner where your client can meet with a journalist. We recommend booking a table at a nearby café or restaurant weeks in advance to ensure you carve out space for important meetings, and create a relaxed atmosphere where conversation can flow.

With more than 30 major trade shows under our belt, check out our 8020 Services page for further information on how we maximise brand exposure for our clients.  

Ali Gibson