Everyone knows what a press conference is, but determining when and why to organize one (or how) can be a little less clear. From a PR perspective, press conferences can be beneficial in acquiring an influx of media coverage all at once, allowing all attending media to simultaneously learn about and share an announcement and cause a big splash of coverage.

A press conference serves to communicate important news (e.g., campaign launch, large company announcement, etc.) initiated by an organization and involves the participation of journalists and representatives of the company. The event offers journalists an interactive forum to learn more about an organization and its announcement.

Below, we’ll highlight some of the key tools necessary for executing a successful press conference.

First, why and when is a press conference necessary? 

For starters, press conferences should be reserved only for significant news and announcements. If every news-worthy announcement was turned into a press conference, they would lose their value and the media would stop attending. The news needs to be huge, and it needs to be kept confidential to warrant a conference – if journalists learn of the news being announced ahead of time, they’ll have no reason to attend the press conference. 

Consider the media’s reaction to your client’s news and/or announcements. Will journalists be calling to ask questions and learn more? If so, it’s probably wise to consider the option of scheduling a press conference. 

The press conference process

Once your team has determined to move forward with a press conference, you will need to first establish clear objectives. What are you wanting the press conference to accomplish? What is being announced and why is it important to journalists? Next, you must determine the messages you wish to convey. What are the main topics and how can they be delivered concisely and clearly? Also, where and when will the event take place? It’s important to identify these logistics ahead of further planning.

After you’ve established some of these key details, it’s time to get started on executing the event. 

  • Create a comprehensive guest list

Organize an extensive list of invitees, including media members (typically several from each publication or outlet), local dignitaries and key public figures. Guest lists can also include key stakeholders and company partners. 

  • Send invites for the event

Now it’s time to alert the media of the press conference. Depending on the scale of the event, you may choose to create a media advisory or press release announcing the event to share with the media. A media advisory can help journalists quickly digest all event information, including why, where, when, who and how. Keeping an organized guest list can help effectively track all RSVPs. 

  • Prepare speakers

While the media are RSVPing for the event, it’s time to prep your spokespeople thoroughly and accordingly. It’s important to keep the key messaging points clear and concise, laying out the details for easy consumption. Keep in mind that the shorter the speaking portions, the better – addressing media for over half an hour isn’t the most exciting way to present the news. 

It’s also crucial to ensure spokespeople, ideally several, are available to speak after the remarks. This is the chance for media members to record quotes and comments directly from the source. This also allows them to capture some original content and b-roll.

As media continue to RSVP, begin outlining confirmed attendees so your client can easily take in all attending journalists. A media briefing sheet can outline all attendees, including quick backgrounds on each, in addition to housing all messaging points and key event details. 

  • Include interactive components 

If you can strengthen your event by including interactive components, such as videos or demonstrations, definitely do so. Presenting a never-before-seen video or interactive component along with the remarks can be appealing and enticing to journalists. Not to mention, it will make the event more memorable.

  • Wrap up the event

After the event concludes, follow up with the attendees to share the new information along with any necessary materials, including digital press kits, press releases, etc. After the attendees have received the full package, the news will break shortly after. Following the big splash of coverage, PR professionals can further leverage the news to new journalists in broader markets.

Looking for a team to help you share your company’s news with a press conference? Reach out to Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to see how Dittoe PR can help.