The Power of Press Conferences
Whether you are a large-scale company, startup, well-known organization, or nonprofit, press conferences are a proper strategic communication method for many reasons. When crafting your organization’s yearly strategic plan or three-year approach, press conferences should be part of your public relations and media relations strategy.
But why? Here’s a breakdown of the who, what, when, where, and why of press conferences:
The Role of Press Conferences
Simply put, holding a press conference effectively communicates your message to the media, your community, and stakeholders. It is a forum for newsworthy events, including new product announcements, campaign launches, event kickoffs, staff changes, etc. It is a method for your organization to generate buzz and awareness around its cause and purpose transparently and openly.
Why Hold a Press Conference?
As mentioned before, there are many benefits to holding a press conference. That’s why they exist, right? Right. From gaining exposure to informing your community about important news, there are plenty of reasons. According to the University of Kansas, you should use press conferences because:
- You can give more information than in a press release.
- A press conference is interactive; you can answer questions from the press and emphasize points you might not otherwise have a chance to make.
- You can announce an important development and explain its significant local and wider implications.
- You can set the record straight if your group received negative publicity.
- You can often generate the kind of notice or publicity – a spot on the 6:00 TV news, for instance – that you’d otherwise have to pay a large amount for.
- When many media representatives are present, it makes your conference seem newsworthy — the media presence itself adds to the importance.
- A successful media conference can not only generate news but also boost your group’s morale — that is, your group can take pride in knowing that the press will turn out to hear what you have to say.
Along with the list of benefits that comes with conducting a press conference, communication is vital, and being able to control the narrative surrounding your organization’s tone and presence will pose an advantage for a newsworthy event.
When and Where to Hold a Press Conference?
While press conferences are excellent for generating buzz and awareness, it is crucial to be strategic when mapping out when and where to hold a press conference. If your organization puts together a press conference for every announcement, organizational shift, or update, the media will quickly become bland and disinterested as the ‘newsworthy’ title will fade. It is different for every industry and is case-by-case for each organization. Sit down with your team and set priorities for what is genuinely newsworthy to your company or nonprofit. There can be multiple in a year, but ensure it is an event that is timely, important to the community and media, and peaks interest to drive exposure and generate news.
Again, it depends on the organization and event regarding where to hold your press conference. Suppose it is a national or international brand—or even a nonprofit partnering with another brand—where media members might be interested from around the country or even the world. In that case, a virtual press conference is a solid option to ensure accessibility. On the other hand, if it is a local matter or announcement, in-person press conferences or even a hybrid format are proper. For in-person, prepare the space in which the press conference is being held. Make sure it is a large enough space, there are enough chairs, and even go as far as to check the amount and location of electrical outlets.
For example, Denver Startup Week just concluded its 11th annual event from September 19-23. To kick off the week, they held a press conference with the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, the founders of Denver Startup Week, and Denver-based unicorn founders. The press conference was an overall kickoff for the event while providing a space for entrepreneurs to speak on the thriving startup ecosystem in Denver. For Denver Startup Week, this was a perfect placement and set up for its press conference to be newsworthy and garner interest.
All in all, press conferences are a prominent strategic communication process that can improve, shift, and contribute to the overall image of your organization while being at the forefront of your media relations efforts. At Strat Labs, we work with organizations to develop a strategy for their next press conference and execute it by following the above mentioned process. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you want to speak with our team to help brainstorm your next press conference.