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Industry trade shows provide great web content

September 16th, 2008

Next week we’re heading to the annual cycling industry trade show to report for our mountain biking website and I thought I’d share this tip with you: trade shows are worthwhile, even for webmasters. Sure, the whole idea of a trade show where retailers place orders with manufacturers seems a bit antiquated what with telephones, email, the Internet, etc. but it’s still a great opportunity to build your online business while creating connections within your industry.

First things first: cost of attendance. Most industry trade show give out free ‘media passes’ to webmasters and even bloggers – in many cases all you need is a website and a business card. Part of the promise to trade show exhibitors is that they will get free media coverage so organizers are motivated to allow as many media representatives as possible into the show. Of course travel expenses can become cost prohibitive but often attending just a single day of a trade show is more than enough. If a trade show isn’t being held in your city, consider sending one of your local readers to report on the show.

Industry trade shows are also great sources of new content for your website or blog. The first time we attended an industry show we were overwhelmed with the number of stories we needed to report – literally a dozen or more for each day of the show. As a webmaster you’ll also be bombarded with press releases leading up to the show along with invitations to speak with company reps. Just be choosy about what you report, keeping in mind what your audience cares about the most.

Finally, trade shows offer an enormous opportunity to connect with industry players who may one day choose to become advertisers on your website. In meeting with company reps remember your conversation is as much about learning about new products and services as it is about introducing your online brand to industry insiders. Be sure to have plenty of business cards on hand and consider wearing a shirt with your web site logo as you walk the floor.

Industry trade shows aren’t just for pushy salesmen and hapless retailers any more – today bloggers and webmasters can gain a great deal by engaging in industry conversations. No matter what niche or industry your website represents, you’re sure to find a trade show worth attending to grow your online brand!

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