The press conference is one of the most widely known and utilized public relations activities. Although it can be a very successful strategy, it can also become a double-edged sword for those of us in this profession. Yes, press conferences brings together a large amount of media outlets in one place; they allow direct contact between journalists and our clients, and ensure the rapid spread of news; they can also be very nerve-racking .
There is that ever-present fear that at the last moment the media will decide not to attend, becoming our biggest nightmare: an empty room, without reporters or photographers!
For that reason it is important to make sure the following points are thoroughly analyzed before you decide to have a press conference:
- The first point to consider and the most important is: how truly relevant are the news that you plan to announce at the press conference? You have to be absolutely certain that it is something that deserves to take a group of journalists away from their workplace to attend and hear news that merit to be announced live beyond than just learning from a press release.
- We must take into account the industry and target audience for the promotional campaign. For example: a press conference with breaking news that involves a public figure surely will have more media attendance than a corporate announcement with company executives as the speakers. True, not all announcements have the benefit of having a public figure, but you can think of adding items that are visually newsworthy or interesting to the media. For example: If the announcement is about a charitable campaign, make sure to include visual aids, or a human interest angle that can catch attention and thus get more coverage.
- Creating expectation from the start is always beneficial for a press conference to be successful. Send “Save the Date” announcements about three weeks in advance, then send the formal invitation, and then send a reminder the week prior to the event. This will help to produce great attendance results.
- Provide the attending media easy to find parking. Offer photographers a strategic location to take the best pictures and have internet connection such as Wi-Fi access codes, so that reporters can do their job more efficiently.
- Finally, try to secure attendance of news agencies since they help to spread the word widely and instantly. It is important to also be prepared to send the press release and photos as soon as the conference ends in case some outlets, for one reason or another, were unable to attend but can also publish the news from the comfort of their desks.