PR Tactic in Focus: The Press Conference

10.12.19

What is it?

It is when you invite all of the media to come to an event where you are going to share a newsworthy story. 

Why should you use it?

If you are certain that the news that you have to share is going to be big, and that there will be significant interest – this is the best way to share the news. It allows you to control the story and to give a uniform version of it to the gathered media. 

How should you use it?

There is a set format to a press conference. It is important to have somebody to MC or chair the event. Usually they will organise the media before the event starts and talk about the rules of engagement. 

It is customary to start with a statement from the key player or players at the press conference and then open it out to questions to the floor. Once it goes to questions the person acting as MC should call the questioners from the audience. If there is a very large media presence this can be agreed in advance. In really large press conferences like those with Presidents the questioners and questions are sometimes agreed in advance.

What small details do you need to consider to make it right?

Here are some of the key considerations:

  • The Room: Try and pick a room that’s larger than you think with good natural light. If the top table can be raised from the rest of the room, it makes it easier for cameras.
  • Sound: Do you have a sound desk so that the top table is not littered with microphones. It’s worth spending a little bit more so that you can provide a single sound feed that reporters can camera operators can plug into. In the absence of that, make sure that the top table is solid – there is likely to be a good deal of heavy equipment placed on it.
  • Images: If it is a big news event, the photographers and camera operators are likely to want good vantage points. You have to agree this in advance. You don’t want a big TV camera operator standing in the front row blocking everyone’s view. This can happen. The solution is to agree a favourable vantage point with them in advance.
  • Statement and media training: You will prepare a statement for the start of the event. Make sure that the protagonist practices this in advance. Often times this never appears in the coverage. It is essential to practice the questioning afterwards to ensure that you get the key messages across. 
  • Clothes, hair and mask up: if it’s going to be a big media event you need to prepare.  It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are facing the cameras then you will be under greater scrutiny. Make sure you are comfortable and confident in what you wear. TV makeup is important if you are going to be lit by TV lights. Also taking care of your appearnce is a necessity in these cases. 

When should you use it?

This should be a constant activity that becomes an essential part of how your brands communicate. Powerful communications is as much about listening as it is about speaking.

At MediaHQ, we have the contact details of every journalist, media outlet, producer and editor. If you’d like a demo on how to use the platform, email Gaye Gleeson on [email protected] or request your demo here.