Using education PR to promote your presence at BETT

BETT 2015
BETT 2015 with thanks to

BETT is the biggest education technology show in the UK and one of the largest in the world. More than 40,000 people visit the show and hundreds of companies and organisations exhibit each year.

If you’re exhibiting at BETT in January 2016 you’re likely to be starting work on your plans for the show. But, whether your priority is generating new leads, closing sales, or building new partnerships, the big challenge at BETT is getting the right people to visit your stand.

Carefully targeted PR can help you to reach the right people, promote what you’re doing, demonstrate your expertise and reach beyond your existing contacts. And the good news is that it can be a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.

But you need to start planning now if you want journalists and bloggers to write about what you’re doing at BETT.  Here are our top three tips.

1. Have a PR plan

It’s important that your plan for BETT isn’t just about the layout of your stand, the type of chairs, and how many leaflet holders you need. To secure PR and get the right people talking about you it’s essential you know whom you want to reach and what you want to tell them about.

It’s not enough to say, “Hey we’re here at stand 171, come and say hi”. Journalists and bloggers need to have something that’s new, timely and relevant to write about (check out this post for more on creating an education PR story).

There are lots of ways you can do this, here’s a few suggestions:

  • Launch a new product or service
  • Secure a slot as a BETT speaker or run your own seminar programme
  • Publish a research paper
  • Launch something that’s free, e.g. an app or some resources

2. Get the right person to communicate your message

Most of the people interested in reading about BETT will be those planning to attend. And they’re more likely to take an interest and be engaged if they read about people similar to themselves. Here’s a lovely example, which was written by teacher James Holmes and published in the TES as part of our launch of QuickStart Computing.

Journalists and bloggers are also much more likely to be interested in your story if they can interview someone actually involved in education, or ask then to write something.

There are exceptions to the rule and your CEO or Director of Education may well be in demand, but we recommend not putting all your eggs in one basket.

3. Get the timing right

There are three main times to securing coverage for BETT. Be organised and take advantage of them all.

BETT preview publications

Most of the education sector press produce previews about BETT for their readers. These are published in December and January. Editors start to plan these in September and most copy is finalised by the end of October.

The education long leads such as Teach Secondary or Headteacher Update also need to hear about your story in time to publish it in January. So start speaking to them in early October.

A little later on articles for the professional practice section of TES and their blogs will be agreed by the end of Nov.

Post Christmas sell in

BETT 2016 takes place 20-23 Jan. That means there are just 12 working days after Christmas to speak to journalists about your story. We recommend thinking seriously about launching your story in the run up to BETT. This has two advantages:

  1. You can engage your target audience when they’re most likely to be planning their visit to BETT
  2. There is less competition from other exhibitors pitching their stories

As well as pitching your story find out if they’re planning on visiting BETT and send them an invitation to events you might be running.

During BETT

After all the planning you might feel you can just relax and rest once the show starts but there are still opportunities for spreading the word.

  • Share regularly throughout the show on social media platforms.
  • Devise something on your stand where people can have a go. Take photos and share to help create buzz.
  • Get involved with the events taking place: TeachMeet, panels, etc.
  • Be in touch with the journalists that are attending and meet them
  • Update the i2i press team and remind them of your plans
  • Be opportunistic and say hello if you spot a journalist or blogger

And finally…

Good luck with all your plans for BETT! Do get in touch if you want to discuss your ideas or just need some inspiration.