If you haven’t heard anyone describe what CES is like and this is your first time heading to the show, allow me to sum it up in a few words:
It’s an absolute madhouse.
I’ve been to Vegas many times for personal occasions but the city completely changes for the week the Consumer Electronic Expo takes over. You can’t take a single step on the strip without bumping into a tech reporter or executive, and the show floor becomes a giant amalgamation of tech innovation. From giant supervillain-sized yachts to innovative new smart home products, the show floor is littered with so much to see but so little time. Imagine putting yourself in the shoes of a reporter who is tasked to cover the event… how are you going to be able to report on it all?
The unfortunate answer to that question is that you’re not. As one of my reporter friendlies have told me, “it’s a clusterfuck.”
It’s a challenge to stand out in a sea of consumer innovation and products. However, with the right approach and planning, there are quite a few things you can do to ensure media are talking about you. I’m here to share how you can cut through the noise so you can have one of the most successful PR campaigns ever at CES. Here are a few tips to employ before, during and after the show:
Before the show:
- Target key reporters for pre-briefs under embargo – Let’s face it – while reporters may love to see your product, they have very little time to see everything at the show. Sometimes they have no choice but to pass due to their editors prioritizing other things to cover. However, many reporters are willing (and appreciative) to take a pre-briefing interview/demo under embargo. It’s great for you as you’ll have more personalized attention with the reporter and perfect for them as they have plenty of time to review and write the story before the show even starts! Select a handful of key publications to make their lives easier and ensure you’ve got stories live as soon as CES is in session.
During the show:
- Participate in CES Unveiled/Pepcom – While you may struggle to grab media on the actual CES Show Floor, there are a number of other pre-shows that occur ahead of the actual start of the show. Consider CES Unveiled or Pepcom, which are bite-sized opportunities for you to get ahold of hundreds of top-tier publications including The Verge, Tom’s Guide, Digital Trends, TIME magazine, Wall Street Journal and more. Have the perfect elevator pitch ready and it’s likely to secure a story from one of the writers in less than 24 hours!
- Prep Your Team and Hustle – If you only rely on scheduling journalists to visit your booth to see your products, more often than not, the results will be underwhelming. The show floor is buzzing with media opportunities and all you have to do is ensure you and your team are on the lookout for them. Keep an eye out for CES press badges, and don’t hesitate to just politely stop reporters to see if they might be interested in learning about your products. Many will say yes! Of course, ensure all your team members are prepared with key messaging and talking points too.
After the show:
- Remember to Follow Up: CES is absolutely exhausting and it’s no surprise many reporters tend take some time off once the show is over. They’re more than likely to miss your email the first time around, so don’t hesitate to pass over another follow up a week or two after the madness dies down. It’s a great way to give them one final check-in and see if they want to cover your product or news.
CES media outreach isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits all solution, but using the tips above will certainly help you stand out from the crowd. Don’t just take our word for it, check it! We employed many of these tactics for our clients at CES last year, including Targus who noted it was one of their most successful shows ever.