Dave Scelba - 02/17/2014
Journalists are overworked and under paid. So, holding a frivolous non-newsworthy press event will be viewed as a total waste of their valuable time and damage, rather than bolster, your company’s reputation. That’s why it’s important to respect a reporter’s schedule and choose the proper media venue or event to make your announcement or tell your story. Good public relations firms have the experience and relationships to help make the best decision for their clients.
Selecting the Best Event
Basically, there are five different media events: the press briefing; a photo-call; individual press meetings; the online virtual press conference; and the formal full-blown press conference. Many PR agencies will have the talent and resources to help in each scenario.
Press briefings are commonly used by government agencies, most notably the daily briefings given to the press by the White House Press Secretary. Press briefings keep the media well informed during an emergency, crisis or natural disaster, such as a hurricane or super storm. These are short updates and since the nature of the event is usually time restrictive, should also have a limited open question and answer period.
A photo-call is usually used when politicians or celebrities as part of cause marketing or to promote an upcoming event. Production companies and studios use photo-calls as a marketing strategy. Since the primary focus is to provide the press an opportunity to take staged photos of the celebrities, a question and answer period isn’t normally scheduled.
Individual press meetings give reporters an opportunity to interview key representatives or spokespeople on a one-to-one basis. Many companies use this strategy or tactic prior to an important trade show although it can be used for distributing any newsworthy information. If the communication goal is to secure media coverage prior to a trade show, a press tour could be set-up either at the company’s facility or at the reporter’s offices. It is more affordable and effective to have individual press meeting at an event or trade show, as most media are assembled in the same place at the same time.
There is nothing as effective as the one-on-one individual press meetings. Reporters ask questions they never would ask in front of their competitors and they create personal connections and relationships that will prove invaluable for years.
There are two variations of a press conference. The online virtual press conference and the formal staged press conference.
An online virtual press conference is a simple cost-efficient way to notify all media outlets of your announcement or news without asking them to drive to a special location and take valuable time out of their already frantic deadline-driven lives. Today’s technologies allow us to gather many people to an online conference or meeting, and present news in real time using slides, photos, images and streaming video, just as if everyone was in the same room. Virtual press conferences allow us to simultaneously distribute information to multiple media outlets, provide a unique interactive opportunity to conduct a question and answer period just as you would for a traditional press conference. But just like a traditional press conference it is critical to be well prepared and completely buttoned up to run an online virtual press conference.
Formal well-staged press conferences are used by public and private corporations, government agencies and the sports and entertainment industries alike in an effort to manage and distribute information universally to the media. A professional skillfully coordinated and timed press conference can produce excellent results, satisfy your communication goals and enhance your company’s overall reputation. However, a poorly run press conference can be a double-edged sword. It can discredit you and your company, and will make it very difficult to attract journalists and reporters to future press conferences.
Regardless of the media type venue you finally select, remember to keep your audience’s attention. Make sure your presentations are entertaining, you educate your audiences and develop engaging media relationships.
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