Win the Press Conference

logo_hmaBy Scott Hanson, President of HMA Public Relations, our PRGN partner in Arizona.

While listening to sports talk radio, I was intrigued when ESPN Radio’s Freddy Coleman said, “All they have to do is win the press conference.” He was referring to a team making a splash in the media with a big announcement. But “winning” the press conference takes some pr planning. Here are some tips:

To begin with, make sure your news is “press conference” worthy. It’s embarrassing to have a news conference and have nobody show up for it.

The spokesperson must be trained. He or she must know, practice and stick to his or her talking points. Saying the wrong things can turn a winning press conference into a total loser. The spokesperson must also look the part – being dressed appropriately is the first-step in making a good impression.

Know the media. A rambling statement will have the electronic media rolling their eyes while the print reporters will be getting writer’s cramp.

Time it right. Understanding the availability of the media throughout the day is essential. If you expect TV news coverage, make sure there’s enough time before their newscasts to get the story written.

The venue must be carefully chosen. Outdoors on a windy day doesn’t work very well for the media. A dark conference room doesn’t work well, either. Even though it’s become an electronic world, have hard copies of your statement or news available to the media.

It might not end when it ends. Be prepared to provide follow-up information that the spokesperson did not have to the media in a timely fashion. Following the event, review the media coverage and provide honest feedback to your spokesperson.

What are your tips for a successful press conference? Leave a comment below or tweet @LandisComm.

This blog was originally posted by HMAPR.

3 thoughts on “Win the Press Conference

  1. Scott, thanks for your post. I’m in agreement about making sure your news is press conference-worthy. Just because the news may be important to your client, doesn’t mean the media will care. A news conference should be set aside for a truly big announcement or when the phone won’t stop ringing about a particular issue that your client needs to address.

  2. Hi Scott, thanks for this good reminder about the multiple facets of a successful press conference. Just as the nuances of reporters’ jobs continue to evolve, so does the art of the presser. As with many things in our profession, preparation and managed expectations are the two biggest keys to success.


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