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How to Connect to Media and Influencers at CES This Year

October 26, 2021

Rahat Rashid

We’re Back in Vegas Baby

After spending CES 2021 in the digital realm, I can’t deny that I’m pretty excited to be able to experience CES back in Vegas. There is just something that makes that in-person show undeniably exciting – maybe it’s because it’s the perfect place to get a glimpse of what the future could look like in the coming years, or maybe it’s the innovative conversations you can find at the various keynotes and speaking events.

What I’ve always loved about the show is the people I’m able to connect with. It is the one stop where I’m able to be face to face with my clients and my colleagues, as well as the plethora of media friends that all congregate to this trade show from all over the world. It’s what makes CES so amazing, and it’s also why you need to start thinking about engaging with press sooner than you realize.

CES Outreach Starts Sooner Than You Think

While this year’s show is expected to be smaller than its predecessors, getting started on CES media opportunities is a lot easier if you start now. I can’t highlight how many times I’ve had reporters share their token of appreciation when I’ve contacted them about my clients at the show as early as November.

Locking in those important pre-briefs

Let’s be real – not every reporter is going to have time to drop by your booth, and knowing that, it’s best to connect with your key media targets ahead of the event. Pre-briefs are the name of the game here and if you’re able to provide your select VIP targets an early preview/hands-on demo ahead of the show, there’s a strong chance you’ll be able to drive coverage as soon as the show floor opens in Vegas.

With that in mind, keep your top-tier targets to a handful of key reporters whose time you know will be tough to grab during the event. It’s well appreciated by media and it also may get them excited to swing by to see your product or innovation once they touch down in Vegas.

Invites invites invites

Regardless of having pre-briefs, it’s still important that you share invites to press before the show even begins, whether it’s for CES Unveiled or a drop-by to the show floor. Once you’ve vetted through CES’s massive media list and identified all the right publications/reporters (don’t ever just mass mail the whole list unless you want to piss people off along the way!), it’s essential that you offer them the opportunity to swing by so you can share what you are planning to showcase and why this is worth their time and attention.

More and more reporters attending the show try to keep their schedule flexible, so it’s unlikely many will commit to a time. However, invites ensure that you stay on their radar, and I’ve had plenty of reporters drop by because of those invites we send out. It’s always best to start sending these a few weeks before the show begins as well as right before people start walking around the trade show.

On and Off the Show Floor

Always keep an eye out for media

The most success I often find on securing media opportunities is while being on the show floor. These days, reporters are constantly walking around the trade show with no specific agenda, so it’s essential you keep an eye out for media badges while you are manning the booth. Don’t ever be afraid to stop and say hi, or possibly even grab a reporter along the way to give them a quick elevator pitch and why they should check out your booth. More often than not, they might take you up on your offer or swing by at a later time to see what’s up. This is especially effective with broadcast media, who are just scouring the CES trade show to highlight what’s hot and exciting.

Get personable – take them out for drinks, dinner or lunch

My favorite part of CES is being able to connect with people I don’t get to see often, especially with reporters who live on different sides of the coast. I encourage you to set up some one-on-one time with your favorite media people just to catch up and connect with them. And while these catch-ups are less about what I’m showcasing at CES and more about just hanging out, it’s a great way to learn more about each other and how I can serve them. Plus, its Vegas! I’m sure there must be a place out there you’ve been dying to check out – so why not bring someone along?

I’ve made some great relationships and even a few amazing friends from casual one-on-one meetings, and it’s helped me figure out how best to pitch and offer what they are looking for in the long run. Even better, it gets me excited to work with them in the future and ensure I can stay connected way after the show is over.

So don’t be shy – find a reporter you’ve always wanted to meet and connect away! And if you’ve got any media pitching questions or concerns you’d like to discuss further, feel free to drop us a line at marketing@hotwireglobal.com.