What is a press conference?
When the pandemic was in full force, millions of Australians spent their mornings eagerly watching COVID-19 press conferences, nervously awaiting the number of daily cases and information about whether their state would be sent into lockdown.
For many, the daily watching of COVID-19 press conferences was a highly anticipated and nerve-wracking part of their morning routine (not to mention, what was said had the potential to change the trajectory of their day). These were some of the most watched press conferences in Australia’s TV history.
The use of press conferences to share important information, however, long predates the pandemic and isn’t exclusive to government and health leaders.
Press conferences are used when a business, charity, or public figure has something to say (that they believe is newsworthy) and they want journalists to attend their announcement so they can cover their story. Not all are live, like the ones we were used to seeing during the pandemic, and not every story warrants one. Below, we break down what you need to know.
When to hold a press conference
When a business wants its news covered by the media, there are a variety of public relations tactics they can use, one of which is a press conference. A press conference can be defined as a media event in which notable individuals or businesses invite the media to hear them speak and ask questions.
Press conferences are typically used for major announcements, events, or achievements.
As a leading public relations agency, Adoni Media helps our clients host successful press conferences that attract valuable media attention. For example, to launch a Government Relations campaign titled Disability Doesn’t Discriminate – against age discrimination under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – Spinal Life Australia hosted a highly anticipated press conference. Journalists were invited to hear from CEO Mark Townend, Advocate and Influencer, Lisa Cox, and Terry Cokeley, who lives with a disability, and ask questions. The press conference led to national coverage on A Current Affair, TV news, radio, and in print.
However, press conferences aren’t always used to announce good news. In times of crisis press conferences are often used to address the media and public. When a crisis arises, it is common for businesses to be inundated with media enquiries. A press conference is a time-effective way of responding to all interested journalists/media at one time. Before you host a press conference and respond to a crisis, it is important your company spokesperson is media trained, knows your key messages, and is prepared for tough questions.
How to organise a press conference
Hosting a successful press conference all comes down to planning, organisation, and notice. To maximise the results of your efforts, your event must be “media-smart”.
Location: where should a press conference be held?
There is a lot to consider when choosing an appropriate location for your press conference. It is important to choose a space that is easy for the media to get to and is big enough to hold your attendees. When planning your events, consider the visual components too – make sure you choose a location where the backdrop offers something interesting for TV and photos. Keep in mind the time of year and the weather forecast as this will dictate if an outdoor event is appropriate.
Timing: when should a press conference be held?
When selecting a time for your press conference, you must consider the deadlines of the media you are hoping to attract. For example, if you are hoping to earn television coverage, mid-morning is best – anything later and it’s unlikely television crews will be able to attend. When planning your press conference, make sure to look up other upcoming events in your area and try to make sure yours doesn’t clash with another event that will pull the media away.
Notice: how do you invite the media to a press conference?
Issuing a media alert the day before the event is the best way to inform journalists of your planned press conference. In your media alert, you should include all important details about your event, including what it relates to, what will be at the press conference (e.g., a truck walk-through) and a list of the people available for interview. For more advice on pitching your event to the media, read our blog: Why thousands of pr emails get ignored by journalists.
Hosting a press conference can be a highly effective way to earn media coverage for your business. By following the advice and insights outlined in this blog, you’ll be on your way to hosting your own successful press conference. For more tailored advice, reach out to the Adoni Media team today..