If you have an important message to send to your target audience and the market, a press conference is a good idea, since it can be organized on an accessible budget and the results can be pretty amazing, if you follow some easy rules that you can find below.
Choose the right topic
Plan press conferences for important subjects. A successful brain surgery is something worth announcing, while a weekly concert happening in bar is not. Good press conference topics include new product launches, store grand openings, significant achievements or note worthy events in any area. Don’t waste your guests’ time or your own by planning an event with a poor topic: not only will your reputation have to suffer, but you may get a low media coverage, since journalists that might show up won’t find a noteworthy subject.
Choose the right people to invite
Some event planners’ aim is getting lots of journalists at the press conference, but this is not necessarily the best idea. Instead, try to invite relevant journalists and bloggers to your conference. For example, if you plan a press conference about a famous band releasing a new album, don’t invite journalists that are focused on politics. It’s just not their focus. Therefore – plan your invitations taking into account the journalist’s topics of interest.
Food and drinks
If the conference takes longer than 3 hours, cater to your guests needs with snacks and drinks. Try sandwiches, finger food and other options that are not too messy and that can be eaten standing or even writing, during the conference. Try avoiding potato chips, apples or other treats that might be overheard. On the other hand, if the conference takes less than 3 hours, plan for light catering: water, coffee or tea and some biscuits and cakes selection.
Find the right venue
Besides the fact that the venue has to match the event (no fancy hall for a rather usual event), you have to make sure that the place you choose is easy to find and get to. Imagine that, on the day of your event, it rains or snows really bad. No one will want to wander on the streets, all wet and freezing, looking for the location of your conference. Try venues that are close to metro or public transportation stations and that also have enough parking options, for those who come by car.
Plan to start on time
This tip is actually very important. Journalists have very tight schedules. Make sure you stick to the planning. Start at the announced time. Failing to do that looks rather unprofessional. Maybe it won’t be a huge hit to your credibility but you may lose media coverage, since your guests might actually leave if you are way behind the schedule.
Plan to be ready before the start
Before you set the date to your event, make sure that it does not conflict with other significant or newsworthy events that might draw attention away from your press conference. On the day of the event, make sure you have everything ready at least an hour before anyone is expected to arrive. This way, you will stay in control and not forget essential details. Take your time to check everything – schedule, catering, merchandise or other promotion materials, guests’ order – in order to have a great event.
Free take-aways that carry your message
Everybody loves a fun take away bag and it’s a good idea to use them at your event. But remember, you try to send a message to your target audience, so just make sure the gifts are useful and related to the subject of the conference. You should include a copy of the press release – better an electronic copy, but the hard copy works as well, some extra information – a book, a yearly report, some statistics – and personalized gifts. For example, if your topic is the collection launch of a famous designer, you can include a sample from that collection.
Thank your guests
After the event, send some personal thank you notes to thank the journalists covering your conference. This will strengthen your media relations and it is also a way to make sure they have all the information they need in order to write a comprehensive coverage of your event.