Press conferences, news conferences or pressers – whatever you want to call it, we’re talking about the same thing. These used to be a pretty standard, go-to practice for PR pros. Or at least so I’m told.
When I started working in PR, press conferences were synonymous with POTUS (duh) or reserved for big brands such as Apple. Many of the professionals I worked alongside shied away from news conferences, instead opting for releases distributed via the wire, stories crafted for a few targeted reporters or FAM tours to get big announcements and news out.
The reasoning? Pressers can be a hard sell. They also take a ton of work, if you want to do it right of course.
While all of the tactics mentioned above can be super effective depending on your news or your client, news conferences still reign supreme in some cases. This has never been more true at Off Madison Ave – 2015 has most certainly been the year of the press conference for us.
Based on what I’ve learned and the best practices I’ve fine-tuned in the past year, there are countless tips I could share (and possibly bore you with) to prepare for and host a successful press conference. But instead, I’ve summed it up into three key areas that I feel are most important.
#1 Make it Worthwhile. While you could host a presser, the real question is if you should. The time, location, spokespersons, visuals and one-on-one interview opportunities are all just as important as the actual news you’re planning to announce for the media. If all you’re offering up is ho-hum news and a Marshawn-esque spokesperson, you should probably just skip it all together.
#2 Preparation is Crucial. Like any other event, what you put in is what you’ll get out. Investing time in a well thought out set up, run of show, talking points and a couple of dry runs in advance can make make a huge difference. Make sure to test out AV components and run through PPTs. I’d also suggest practicing the handoffs between multiple speakers, and details that are often overlooked such as cues for when visuals should be unveiled to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
#3 Don’t Forget the Follow Up. This one should be a no-brainer but post-press conference brain is real, people. As many PR pros know, newsrooms are changing and it can be hard for our media friends to dedicate a couple of hours to attend a press conference. If they couldn’t make it (and even if they were in attendance) send the press release, visual assets and anything else they might need to cover your story. You might also consider sending a brief initial recap to your client and/or internal team as soon as you can. Recap the outlets in attendees, estimated publication dates if you have them and notable social media interactions while it’s still fresh – I’ve found this is super helpful when compiling reports or case studies later.
Anything to add to the mix? Share your insights and tips for successful press conferences in the comments below.