Publicity Hounds have tips for Melissa Pagan of Tequesta, Florida. She works for a performing arts troupe that specializes in children’s entertainment. Their live shows have an education component that focuses on literacy, and some of their school programs address test-taking tips and techniques for relieving the anxiety of the high-stakes standardized testing. They will be attending several trade shows to promote and get bookings fortheir national performances in school-based programs. She wanted ideas on how how to create booth traffic.
From Peter Bowerman of Atlanta, Georgia:
For some reason, this image of the “statue” performers one sees on the streets of Europe comes to mind. You know, the white-painted actors/mimes who stand motionless on a box or pedestal in the middle of busy pedestrian traffic. I’m picturing you positioning someone in two poses and setting them in strategic places throughout the exhibition hall. The first is some student sitting in a chair reading, very melodramatically, turning pages, laughing out loud (or miming loud laughter), showing surprise, etc. The other of a student sitting at a desk taking a test, again melodramatically sweating through the questions, scratching their heads, chewing their pencil, etc. They’d be wearing colorful costumes (I’m guessing you do when you perform…), plunk themselves down in one place for no more than a minute, then pick up and go somewhere else. On the back of the chair or somewhere prominent, you have a big sign that briefly and prominently describes what you do: (i.e., School-Based Performance Troup; Themes: Reading Appreciation, Better Testing, _______, _______. Visit Booth 1234). You might even do regular brief performances at the show (they often have performance venues at these things) and add “Next Show: 2:00” to the sign.
From Anthony Ingram of Knoxville, Tennessee:
Have actors in the troupe put on a short skit involving members of the audience, or have them mingle with the crowd and give out tickets.
From Wendy Florian of Long Beach, California:
1. Have the children in costume and accompanied by an adult, distributing an invitation to specific professions to visit booth number ___.
2. After a mini-show, distribute question cards, each with a different trigger that may intrigue your potential market.
3. Students love “Where’s Waldo?” Either they may dress as Waldo or they may simply be on a “treasure hunt” of sorts for certain professions. They could cheerfully inform attendees that they’re looking for a director or a seamstress or a school teacher or a publicist. The student who sends the most people to the booth can be rewarded.
4. Students can be warmly received in ways that adults are not. With that in mind, they can approach people and be direct, “Are you interested in _____ at my school? Would you like to come hear more about it and see how you might get involved in our success?”
Dan Janal has dozens of ideas on how to generate publicity at trade shows. He even knows how to track down journalists who are covering or attending the shows, and how to get coverage in the show dailies. He shared his tips during a one-hour teleseminar that we recorded and offer as a cassette tape or CD. Read more about what we discussed.