I spent a day in a trade show booth at #cmworld and ….

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

I’ve been to Content Marketing World in Cleveland for four years and in 2017 was the first time that I spent an entire day-12 house -inside the booth on the exhibition floor.

Typically, when I speak at conferences I often ignore the exhibit room area and focus on doing my keynote, catching up with attendees after or beforehand and maybe sneak in attending a few sessions myself.

So I didn’t quite know what to expect from the day on the floor so to speak. The team at ScribbleLive, the content marketing platform company where I work as VP of content marketing, had a good plan in place and a handful of people attended to discuss the numerous services that we have to offer.

One piece of that included a landing page to invite people to sign up for one on one meetings with me:

We promoted the landing page on a number of different channels and I added an image to the bottom of every article on this blog-using the WP insert code plug-in.

That image then linked back to the landing page where people could set up to meet with me. It looks like that approximately 40 people clicked on that image to check out whether or not they could book an appointment with me. Overall, I had about 6-8 meetings that were scheduled through my calendar sign up from that landing page.

The day of the event, I basically showed up at the booth at 7 AM and I didn’t leave until after 7 PM. People kept stopping to discuss and ask questions about content strategy, content creation and of course the various software tools that can help them create and distribute better content.

There were times during the day where I would literally give overviews of how to set up a content marketing strategy, how to tie it into the right tools and talk about planning.

To a large degree it was still somewhat of an educational and consultative discussion and presentation. And then of course people afterwards gave me their cards if they wanted me to follow up with them for a specific product or interest that they wanted to discuss further when it came to their content marketing strategy and implementation.

So overall it was a very positive experience for me. I was able to help people think about their content marketing work and how to view problems and issues differently and see if I was able to offer them a solution to move forward more efficiently and effectively.

I also liked the idea of presenting while in the booth. That’s actually an idea I got from the IBTM conference in Barcelona last year when I spoke there. Many booths gave presentations. They talked about what are some of the highlights of visiting Sweden, the cost of a vacation to Denmark and other tourist-related topics

So I tried a similar approach at the conference in Cleveland in 2017. As people were gathering at the booth and had similar questions I would start a little presentation on content strategy and content planning. Since it was a little bit more organic and not necessarily scheduled sometimes people would jump into the presentation and ask questions as it were going on. A couple times I caught myself finis and starting it basically over for the people that showed up halfway through. Did I say this yet? LOL.

Other times we just had conversations -one on one. The whole day really circled around how can we help each other be a better content marketers. It was quite interesting and worthwhile. In fact being helpful and friendly is really a big part of doing good content marketing

The whole day was quite educational and relation ship building. That makes sense since we are content marketers and that’s how we build our communities. We shared knowledge with each other and learned from each other.

If you are looking at working in a trade show booth for the first time here are some of my tips to consider:

  • Be present. I was on my phone from time to time but for the most part I was present and ready to talk with people as they brought questions.
  • Smile. It’s OK to smile at people when they look and smile at you. It makes you more approachable.
  • Know your story – even after you’ve said it 5000 times today.
  • Don’t put your back to approaching visitors. Always look out from the booth. It’s about inviting them in.
  • Pay attention to the person in front of you. This can also be a problem when you’re speaking and you have a line of people waiting to talk to you afterwards. Here there might be a line of individual people who have questions for you. Give the person in front of you the full attention until their questions are answered-of course within reason-and then move onto the next person.
  • Get people’s business cards if there’s something to follow up with for them and make a quick note on the business card for what you want to follow up with later on.

I’m not going to declare myself a booth expert here after day one but those are just some of my stories and tips that I tried. Overall, spending the day in a trade show booth with people stopping by can be a very valuable content marketing tool.

More from Content Marketing World 2017 in Cleveland: