So, what exactly should startups do to get the most out of startup conferences?
Ultimately, the main reason startups attend conferences is to gain exposure – this could be from potential investors, partners, new hires or customers.
You can achieve these connections speaking to people in the event halls and late-night networking events, but there’s more to it!
Conferences are also magnets for the press. Journalists attend to discover interesting stories to share with their audiences. That’s a golden opportunity for you to maximize exposure for your startup, for free.
Here are six things that startups absolutely must do in order to maximize their media exposure at startup conferences.
If you are attending a startup conference, you must have a product or service to pitch to visitors. (Otherwise, why waste your time?)
The next step is to think about how you to best present it to the press. Journalists are slammed at events, so your product and product pitch has to be appealing to grab their attention. Make sure your product pitch pops, or lose out!
Once you have a compelling story, you should write up a concise but powerful invitation email. A personally tailored version of this should be sent to relevant writers who are attending the conference. A version for Twitter will also be useful as many writers still search for stories on this dying platform. Invite journalists who are most likely to interested in your product or service to drop by your booth and offer an ‘exclusive interview’ with your founder. Don’t forget to indicate where your booth is located, and your availability for an interview or product demo during the event.
Top Tip: Most startup conference organizers offer a list of writers who have press passes. As an exhibitor, you can ask for that list.
There could be thousands of names on the list at a big conference, so sort the list by the publications where you would like to be featured. Be realistic and stay focused! Take your target names and put them into a new spreadsheet, along with contact information like email addresses and Twitter handles. It’s also useful to include a photo of the journalist if you can find one, so you can recognize them at the event.
When sending out an invitation, you should also attach a link to your press kit.
A press kit includes a brief tailored for the press about your company, products, and services, or a press release. This document should include all essential facts that you’d like to highlight to the press, so that if a journalist decides to write about your startup they have the basic information they need in order to get started. Typically, a press kit also includes the company logo, the key product image, executive bio, and team photo.
Writers are very busy during conferences. As a result it’s possible that you will not get responses from most journalists you reach out to. But, don’t give up!
In your spare time, grab a demo product and go to the press center. Look for writers from your target media list and if they seem to have time for a quick chat (or if they don’t), introduce yourself and put your elevator pitch to use.
Top Tip: Photos of writers in your target media list is so handy because then you’re much more likely to spot them in the crowd.
Once you return to your office, gather all press contact information and send out a thank you email to follow up.
Sending an email to the writers you met at the exhibition to politely ask if they plan to write about your startup will often mean the difference between free press and no press. They probably won’t remember you without a follow up and they may just be digging for a great story from the event. But don’t be pushy or overly aggressive about it.
Here are the list of upcoming startup conferences in Asia. Remember, only action brings results!
Organized by the team behind Web Summit, this year’s RISE conference will be held July 11 – 13 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Last year RISE welcomed more than 8,000 people from 88 countries, connecting 400 investors, 500 media personnel, 435 startups and 220 speakers. In 2017, RISE will once again serve as a meeting ground for the world’s biggest companies and most exciting startups.
Echelon will host several conferences this year, kicking off with Echelon Central Asia at Almaty, Kazakhstan. They’re back in East Asia later in the year, including stop-offs in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. Startups will have the opportunity to share invaluable information, make new connections, find top talent and forge new partnerships through these conferences.
Tech in Asia Tokyo conference will be held September 27- 28 at BelleSalle Shibuya Garden. Tech in Asia estimates 2000+ attendees and 50+ investors will participate this year. Both events are a great opportunity for startups to highlight their brands and products, test and validate their idea, and broaden their network.