It wasn’t easy, but I’m in the last stretch of my year of travelling the trade show circuit on the west coast.
From outdoor adventures to gadgets, expensive tech, drugs, food, and music, I’ve seen the back end of a lot of professional industries. I also learned a few tips about the shows themselves, along with the PR industry.
1. Apply Early
To get into major trade shows like E3, Comic-Con, Infocomm, Marijuana Business, Defcon, CES, and Outdoor Retailer, you need to apply early. Check out their websites today to see when tickets are available.
2. Get Credentials
For any trade show, you can gain free attendance as a media analyst. To do this, you’ll need an active online presence and knowledge of the industry. Without this, you may still be able to gain attendance, but you will have to pay.
3. Show Up Early
Familiarize yourself with the lay of the land early. Coming a few hours prior will give you the opportunity to network your way in if you don’t already have a badge. If you do, you’ll get a free shot with at least one booth before the crowds barge in.
4. Find Media, Vendor, and Worker Areas
These are the break areas that will have the food, Wi-Fi, charging stations, etc. Try to walk in until you’re stopped, regardless of what credentials you have. You’d be surprised where this can get you in life.
5. Move Around
6. Bring Business Cards
Business cards are the best investment I ever made. I’ve traded them for clothes, food, hotel stays, VIP entry, and more. Everyone will ask you for a card, and people hate hearing excuses. Always have business cards.
Brian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, writer, and troll. Penny has been featured on Huffington Post, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and more.