A press conference is an opportunity for your business to shine in the media.
But reporters attend a lot of press conferences and they can spot the difference between an effective press conference and a press event flop a mile away.
If you're going to make an impression with this crowd, you'll have to make sure you have all your bases covered:
- Purpose. Press conference preparation begins by asking yourself whether or not you need to hold a press conference at all. Press conferences should be reserved for major announcements that lend themselves to reporter Q&A sessions. If you can achieve your messaging goal in a press release or media pitch, a press conference probably isn't the right media vehicle.
- Timing & Location. It's also important to think about when and where you will hold your press conference. You will have to work around the media's schedule for timing the event (10 AM to 3 PM, Tuesday through Thursday are the best times reporters). Most press conferences are held at your business location, but seek a different venue if you lack the proper facilities.
- Invitations. The way you invite media professionals to attend your press conference is through a press release that contains a short description of the reason why you are calling a press conference and other important details like time, date, and location. It's not uncommon for businesses to also include a press kit with the press release.
- Agenda. The agenda for your press conference should be carefully organized. Designate a single spokesperson to make a brief statement and answer questions from reporters, but make sure it is a person who is capable of keeping the press conference moving and thinking on her feet.
- Materials. Additional press kits, promotional materials, and refreshments are standard fare for press conferences. If your company is launching a new product, you might want to offer samples for media contacts and other attendees.
- Follow-Up. Spokespeople often make promises to follow up with more information after the press conference has ended. When "I'll get back to you," is the right answer, you will need to make sure you have contact information for everyone at the event. Plan for timely follow-up with a sign-in table that collects updated contact information for each reporter and media outlet.