#060: A Clever Way to Land a Ton of Work from Trade Shows (Without Leaving Your House)

If you enjoy learning new and clever strategies for landing more work from better clients, you definitely need to check out this episode.

Freelance writer Amy Dunn Moscoso has been using a unique and very effective strategy for landing work from trade shows.

Not just a project or two. In many cases, we’re talking about a TON of work. Enough to keep her busy for months.

The best part? She doesn’t even have to attend the show!

In this episode, Amy explains what this strategy is all about, why it works so well, and how she’s implemented it so effectively.

Get ready to take some notes!

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about yourself

Amy is a freelance business-to-business writer. She understands what marketing directors do and what they need. She translates their tech talk into website pages, guides, white papers, etc.

Before working as a contract writer, she worked as a senior publicist at a marketing communications agency and then a content specialist at a digital marketing firm. About a year ago, she decided to land her own clients. This allows her to make her own schedule, and she gets to choose the clients and projects she likes. The pay is also better.

You have a somewhat unorthodox way of finding clients. Tell us about it

Trade shows need lots of written materials. And they almost always need help from an outside writer.
She starts by contacting the show manager. Show managers have relationships with everyone at the show, making them great for referrals. They’re busy, and they often don’t have the time or resources in house to get everything ready for the show.

Give us an example of a client win you’ve had from these shows

Amy emailed a show manager for a trade show in China. The show manager referred her to a company in France that would be at the trade show. That company was also going to be at a trade show in Canada.

Amy ended up helping the company with their written material for the Canada trade show. At the show, she’ll take photos and interview people for the company’s blog.

Do you only target local shows? Or do you travel to shows?

Amy mostly targets shows in Vancouver and Calgary. She also targets some shows in the U.S. and Europe. She works remotely and often doesn’t meet the people or attend the shows.

She contacts show managers about three months before the show, when they begin to realize they don’t have enough time to do all the writing.

What do you look for when you select a show?

Amy looks for large shows with companies attending from around the world. She looks for sponsors and high-level speakers.

When targeting a trade show, look for companies that are blogging but have gaps in their content.
That’s a sign that they’re trying to do some marketing, but they’re struggling.

Once you’ve identified a show, how do you approach the show manager?

Show managers are responsible for running the shows. They’re under pressure to get sponsors and land exhibitors. They have control of the marketing and PR budget as well as influence and decision-making power.

She offers her services to them in a short, introductory email. She shows up with solutions in hand, such as a suggested press release or a way to feature their sponsors. If a show manager is interested, Amy will schedule a quick phone call and connect on LinkedIn.

How do you make yourself stand out?

Amy identifies two or three problems and offers ways to help. She provides relevant case studies to demonstrate how she’s solved this type of problem before.

She estimates her success rate is 70-percent. She researches the company and the show before contacting them. She doesn’t send out mass emails; she tailors them specifically to that person.

When contacting prospects, it’s quality (not quantity) that counts.
She’ll confirm the time of the phone call the day before and comes prepared with questions. Mostly, she let’s the show manager talk and describe what he/she needs. The call often ends with a request for proposal.

Do you typically get a small project to start, which then leads to more projects? Or do you get many projects from the start?

Amy often starts by offering a high value blog post, such a post featuring an interview with a top exhibitor. The trade show and the exhibitor can share the post on social media. It’s low risk and makes everyone look good. This initial assignment often leads to more assignments.

How do you move from that to getting introduced to other exhibitors?

When discussing whom to profile in the blog post, Amy and the show manager will often end up discussing exhibitors that are super busy and need help. The show manager already knows which exhibitors are easy to work with. Amy rarely has to ask for a referral. It just happens.

When exhibitors see the blog posts, etc., they’ll ask the show manager about them, and the show manager will refer them to Amy.

Do you have to have PR experience to use this approach?

No, but you have to go with your strengths. If you’re a copywriter, you can help with signage, brochures or other marketing material. Go in hand with solutions that you can deliver.

Shows can generate all kinds of writing, not just PR. They can include case studies, white papers, blog posts, brochures, advertising, signage—all kinds of collateral.

Any parting advice?

Just give it a try. But don’t target the mom and pop shop and think you’re going to work your way up to the sponsor. It doesn’t work that way.

Pick out great people you’d like to work with and send them an email. If that doesn’t work, go to the trade show and walk around. Take a look and see where you could help in future trade shows. But don’t solicit exhibitors at the trade show; they don’t like that.

Is it easy to find names of show managers?

You can usually find contract information for show managers under the exhibitor list on the show’s website.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Amy’s website: http://contentsiren.com

Amy on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amydunnmoscosolinkedin

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