With the summer winding down, many of our clients are preparing for the influx of conferences they will attend, organize, and participate in this fall and winter. From the Raymond James Women’s Symposium, a major networking event for women in finance, to Bett, the world’s largest EdTech conference, organizations across industries will be taking part in some of the most exciting gatherings of the year.

From a PR perspective, conferences are a great way gain visibility and build a brand, while of networking and strengthening relationships. Here are a few tips to make the most of your conference appearance or participation:

  • Engage the media

For the PR mavens, as soon as you know a client will be attending a major conference, the first step is securing the media list of reporters who are going. To secure this media list, reach out to the event coordinator. It’s always a good idea to check back a day or two before the conference to see the most updated list.

Once you have the names of reporters who will be attending, reach out to them to introduce your client and suggest a sit-down while they’re both at the same venue. Simply chatting with a reporter at a conference is a great way for CEOs to build a positive reputation and introduce their companies, which will help with pitching down the line.

Another option to engage media is simply reach out to local reporters (local to wherever the conference is occurring) and offer them a sit-down conversation with your company’s CEO or other representative.  Even if these local reporters are not planning to go to the conference, it’s a great opportunity to build a relationship over a cup of coffee or lunch.

  • Make a splash with social media

It’s no surprise that social media plays a major role in most conferences.

Begin by identifying the conference’s hashtag, which is usually found on the conference website. Start using it in your tweets the days, or even weeks, leading up to the big event. One idea is to tweet out some information about who will be attending from your company or if your company will have a table, booth, or other display. This helps other attendees know who or what to look for to find you on the big day. If you have someone speaking, make sure to communicate the time and location via your social media platforms to encourage other attendees to come check it out.

After tweeting and posting on Facebook/LinkedIn the days leading up to the conference, put a plan to in place to live tweet during the event. At major conferences, there will be people tweeting every minute about what session they are attending, who they are chatting with, what new information they just learned, and more. Getting involved in this conversation is a way to represent your company as proactive, involved, and engaged.

  • Keep the momentum going

Last, when the big event is over don’t let the momentum die down immediately. Instead, keep it going with a few post-event efforts that allow you to share some of the conference’s highlights with your company’s key constituents.

One option is to pitch a photo and caption to some media outlets local to your company. If someone was able to capture a good photograph of your CEO or other attendees at the conference, whether they are networking or leading a discussion, this can be a great resource for local publications. From a PR perspective, it is positive publicity for your company.

Also, continue to take advantage of social media and other online outlets. If you had a speaker from your company at the event, turn his/her remarks into a Facebook/LinkedIn, or blog post. This is a great way to refresh the memories of folks who attended the conference, but it also allows followers who didn’t attend to still soak up some of the knowledge you shared.