How to Organize a Press Conference
Press conferences are a great way to get media exposure. But until you have several of them under your belt, it can be difficult to know how to organize them in a way that benefits both reporters and your company's message.
A press conference can be an effective vehicle for communicating your message to multiple media outlets.
But unfortunately, press conferences aren't intuitive and they don't come with instruction manuals. Unless you hire a public relations firm to plan your press conference for you, you'll have to rely on your own resources to organize your press conferences.
With your corporate image and messaging on the line, you have to get it right. Here's how to get started:
- Send a press release. A press release is the proper vehicle for announcing your press conference to the media. It should include a brief description of the press conference's purpose as well as important details like date, time, and location (including directions). Plan on distributing the press release two or three days before the press conference.
- Be smart about timing. Your press conference really isn't about you or your company - it's about the media. When you schedule your press conference, your first consideration should be choosing a time that accommodates news cycles and is a good fit for most reporters' schedules. Generally, the best times for press conferences are between 10 AM and 3 PM, and the best days for press conferences are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
- Organize, don't direct. Reporters appreciate organized press conferences. However, they don't like to be managed or told how to do their jobs. It's your responsibility to provide the space for print and broadcast media coverage. Camera angles, story leads, and other details are best left to the professionals.
- Consider visual elements. It's important to create an attractive and visually compelling set for your press conferences. Appealing visuals play well with television viewers, but it's just as important to present a professional image to the reporters themselves.
- Be prepared. Go into the press conference with a prepared agenda that includes an event timeline, then stick to the plan. If the press conference starts late, is disorganized, or wanders off course, you'll send the wrong message to reporters.
- Distribute press kits. When reporters attend an event, they expect to receive a press kit full of background information about your company. Make sure you have plenty of press kits on hand, even if you already sent press kits when you announced the event. If a media outlet sends a videographer without a reporter, ask him to take the press kit back to the station.
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