The Blogsmith

Trade Show Blogs

October 11, 2010

Given the fact that our industry's largest trade show, Labelexpo, just wrapped up its Americas show in Chicago, I thought it would be appropriate to focus on trade shows with this column. Many converters will be including trade shows in their marketing budget for 2011, as they have done every year. But how do you know you are getting the best bang for your buck for your trade show investment? Most converters will not have a dedicated trade show specialist on staff, so it will likely fall to a marketing person to ensure a successful show. If this is you then I highly recommend you spend some time checking out the blogs below. Subscribe to these five blogs and you will be a trade show expert in no time.

Skyline Trade Show Tips (

Skyline is one of the leading trade show supplier companies in the world, with more than 1,500 employees in 38 countries around the world. Its blog is focused on educating customers and prospects with virtually no self promotion of their company. I really like that they have involved several employees as authors on the blog; the last eight posts as of this writing featured four different authors. Everything is covered on this blog. There are several articles on lead management, measuring trade show results, exhibit design, logistics, social media and much more. It is a blog worthy of an industry leader; there are new insightful articles several times a week, many of them prompting lively discussion in the comments section. If the blog isn't quite enough for you, Skyline also has a series of free white papers available.

The Smash Hit Blog (
The Smash Hit blog is the company blog of Smash Hit Displays, a trade show display supplier based in the Northwest US. It, too, has been careful not to engage in much self-promotion. The focus of every blog post is about educating the reader. When you go to the home page of the blog you are presented with a summary of the past 10 blog posts so you can easily scan to see if there are articles of interest. Recent blog posts have discussed how to cut costs at conferences, how to staff your booth at a trade show, and how to impress your audience at international conferences. You will not get overwhelmed if you subscribe to this blog; posts are short and usually once a week on average.

Let's Talk Trade Shows (

Let's Talk Trade Shows is targeted at the new or occasional exhibitor who has been given the task of ensuring a positive ROI on a trade show investment. The author, long time trade show consultant Joyce McKee, is focused on ROI. She has a free e-book on her site about maximizing trade show ROI, and many of the blog posts are focused on this topic. There is also a resources section with several videos, podcasts and white papers to help round out your trade show education. If you are an occasional exhibitor who wants a one-stop shop for all your trade show information, then Let's Talk Trade Shows may well fit the bill.

Trade Show Guy Blog (

The self-appointed "Trade Show Guy" is Tim Patterson, a former Oregon radio personality turned trade show expert. He is the VP of sales and marketing for Interpretive Exhibits in Salem, OR, USA, and his blog is quite different from the others reviewed here. He brings the world of social media to trade shows, and being a radio guy there are plenty of podcasts sprinkled regularly throughout the blog. He discusses how to use Twitter with your trade show as well as new media tools such as Yelp and Foursquare. If this feels out of reach for you, he also recently conducted a Social Media 101 webinar, which is on the blog. Like most blogs reviewed here, the Trade Show Guy also has some free extras, in this case an e-book, 101 Rules of Trade Show Marketing.

Trade Show Institute (
From the name you might think the Trade Show Institute is some kind of industry association or educational body. In reality it is the blog of Traci Browne, the president and founder of Red Cedar, a sales and marketing consulting company specializing in trade shows. The blog itself has excellent content. She discusses many of the traditional challenges regular trade show exhibitors face such as how to integrate your trade show into your other marketing activities, how to make the most our of sponsoring an event, and the importance of determining where your booth visitors are in the buying cycle.

Peter Renton is the founder and former co-owner of Lightning Labels, an all-digital label printer in Denver, CO, USA. He is currently doing some blog consulting while attempting to take a career sabbatical after the sale of Lightning Labels.

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