Let me get one thing out of the way – I hate press conferences. Unless you have earth shattering news, a head of government, or whatever – you get the drift – press conferences are boring. Not just for PR people but also for editors (at least so they say). Its the same story shared with everyone. Most journalists/reporters prefer (at least in B2B space) to have a one on one or an informal briefing so that they can glean whatever story they need to suit their publications.
However, if you are going to insist on a press conference, then here are a few things to watch out for.
- Make a set of key messages and ensure that you share them with all the key spokespersons to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Please run these by your PR people to ensure that these warrant a press conference.
- Make sure that there are not too many people in the company with a say in the matter – let everything be channeled through one person while keeping others in the loop
- Its important not to send it to everyone and the kitchen sink. We (as Market Buzz) try not to do that but sometimes a few people slip through the crack and we apologise to those journalists/reporters
- Follow up in person with the editors you think would most be interested in the story. The phone call should only include any information that you did not put in the invitation that you think might tip the journalist into attending. I mostly subscribe to the policy that if the key message in the invitation is interesting enough, the journalists/reporters will come. Harrassing them will just do more harm than good.
- Start on time. 10-15 mins delay is acceptable though not fair to the ones that arrive on time.
- Ensure that the spokespersons are on time as well. It has been my experience that very senior people prefer to stay with schedules too – makes life easier all around – especially in the B2B market.
- Follow up to ensure that all the material promised to the editors are sent to them