What if you threw a party and no one came? It would be hurtful and embarrassing, to say the least. Well, if, during your career as a public relations professional, you hold a press conference that bombs, it’s not just embarrassing, it could ruin your PR consulting career. But if you follow a few common sense guidelines, you can hold a powerhouse public relations press conference that will send your career soaring.
Make it Relevant
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have known of some, especially politicians, who try to hold a press conference, when no one really cares. A subject might seem important to you or your client, but you have to step back and ask yourself two questions:
- Is it timely? While the topic might still be alive and well in your client’s mind, if the public has already put it to bed, it will be seen as “old news.”
- Do you have an audience that cares? You care, and your client cares, but does anyone else? A press conference does not necessarily have to be geared toward the general public as a whole, but you must have enough of an audience to make it newsworthy.
A Convenient and Appropriate Location
The idea behind a press conference is to get people to come. If you try to hold it at your client’s location that is 80 miles out of town, it had better be a burning hot topic or no one will bother. Your location should be easy access, with consideration for the weather, and preferably with an effective backdrop for the television cameras, if applicable.
The Right Timing
Although your topic might be a timely one with wide interest, be on the lookout for any “breaking news” that will compete with yours, causing your press conference to pale by comparison.
Inviting the Right Audience
A sizable audience goes a long way in portraying your press conference as one of importance. There are three categories of people that you want to include:
- The Media, Of Course – this goes without saying, but make sure you invite the appropriate media. Your big-city metropolitan newspaper might be interested in a factory closing in one of its suburbs, putting 150 people out of work, but it’s not likely that CNN is going to show.
- Policymakers – If the topic of your press conference could possibly influence the policies of businesses or government, then by all means, make sure you invite the policymakers, briefly explaining in the invitation why they want to be there.
- Interested Parties – Depending on your subject, there could be any number of interested parties – employees, associations, legislators, etc. Make sure you get the word out and use your networking connections to spread the word.
Following these basic common sense guidelines for using the public relations press conference as a tool in your arsenal will ensure successful exposure. Stay tuned for more details on making a memorable presentation.