You have a big news story – a major acquisition, a massive investment, a new development; it’s an important PR opportunity. Should you hold a press conference or PR event? If yes, how can you make the most of the opportunity?
The Clareville team has been organising press conferences and events for 30 years for major news, consumer brands such as Baby Bjorn and Diono, sports events, crisis management and especially destinations, venues and organisations, for clients in the meetings and conferences sector such as the Thailand Conference & Exhibition Bureau and the Saudi Exhibition & Convention Bureau.
Here are just a few tips from what we have learn over the years.
1. Should you hold a press conference?
Press conferences are not a journalist’s ideal way to acquire a story. They would really like a one to one interview with the main spokesperson. If there are not too many press who want the story, or the news angle is not very striking, then a series of personal interviews is best for everyone.
But if many journalists are likely to be interested, if time is too limited for one to ones or there are several different interviewees together, then a press conference is the most efficient option.
2. Timing and location are everything
Before confirming the date and time of the press conference, it is vital to check what other events the press might be attending at that time. It’s good PR to research carefully to find a time when most key journalists can be there, avoiding clashes with competitive attractions – and chose a location that is quick and easy for them to reach.
3. Invitations and ring arounds to the press conference
The media should be invited as early as reasonably feasible – about a month before if possible, then re-invited two weeks before, one week before, three days, two days and the day before.
If the event is set for the best possible time and day and the story is strong, then the key is maximising numbers is ringing around all potential and confirmed attendees during the week before. It can be time consuming hard work but it will make all the difference.
4. Setting up the room
• If space allows, the ideal layout is theatre style with desk space for laptops and notepads. If space is more restricted then just chairs set out theatre style.
• The ‘top table’ of speakers should be on a raised plinth at the front. A ‘step and repeat’ branding board should be behind them with branding visible at all times.
• Allow space for broadcasters’ microphones on the top table and for photographers’ and cameramen with their equipment. This should be at the back or side so that they don’t obstruct the view of the audience.
• Create a space at the back or outside the room with a ‘step and repeat’ board for filmed one-to-one interviews
• If there are more than 20 people present, a sound system should be used, the speakers should wear microphones, and roving microphones should be available to hand to anyone in the audience asking questions.
5. The press conference – keeping it under control
• There should be a signing in book, or staff to collect business cards and names so that what is written or broadcast can be read or viewed later.
• A master of ceremonies is vital, to explain what will happen, to introduce speakers and select questioners from the audience.
• Each speaker should not talk for more than 15 minutes without inviting questions from the audience.
• The main event should be no longer than 30 minutes ideally including questions and answers.
6. After the event
• Thank everyone for coming.
• Have hard and electronic copies of a press release, notes, charts or pictures ready to hand out or to send to anyone who couldn’t attend. Remember to have their email addresses ready.
• Be ready for filmed or record one to one interviews. And finally….look out for the results and collect them!
This is just a quick guide. To be successful requires a great deal of hard work, time and expertise. If you would welcome our work, time and expertise, please call us on +44 20 7736 4022 or email [email protected] . We’ll be happy to advise you.