The best press conference is the one that results in the best press coverage, in terms of both number and tone of stories.
What many people overlook are the details that it takes to get those results. Follow these eight steps and you'll improve your odds tremendously.
1. Select a newsworthy topic. The Media aren't there to promote you. They want news.
2. Choose a good backdrop. Holding a press conference on location (in front of the school, in a classroom) is almost always more effective than a conference room.
3. Have good visuals. Give the Media something to show besides the talking heads. It could be a map, a graph or an artist's rendering.
4. Have additional staff and supporters on hand to fill the room. A crowd of friendly faces not only creates positive energy for the speaker, but photos or video of the crowd might wind up in some of the coverage.
5. Invite local dignitaries. Anyone from elected officials to community leaders can help to add credibility to your event.
6. Create a compelling message. Think broadly. For example, you're not just announcing an expansion. You're helping to fuel the local economy.
7. Send out advisories, alerting the Media of the event. Make sure the news hook is clear. Send out the first advisory three to five days in advance, a second advisory the day before, and a third the morning of the press conference.
8. Craft an effective press release that includes key sound bites from the prepared remarks. Write it the way you want to see the story appear in print. Many reporters will at least consult the release when it comes to writing their own story.
With these eight steps, you will be well on your way to a successful press conference, one that results in favorable coverage for you or your organization.
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