While press conferences were once the go-to, those days are dwindling. Journalists now crave more inventive concepts from public relations experts – a blend of information, education, and entertainment. To assist you in capturing the interest of your target journalists, here are four strategies to invigorate your press event, making it more engaging for both the media and your company's senior executives.
1. Choose a visually appealing venue
Hosting a press event in a mundane room or office lobby lacks inspiration. Instead, seek out a venue that aligns with your brand and reflects its core values. For instance, if your company specializes in beer production, consider organizing the event at a brewery to offer the press an immersive experience and visual content that complements the information presented. Another noteworthy example is the Danish jewelry brand Pandora, which strategically chose a chic location on rue Saint-Honoré in the Opéra neighborhood to unveil and showcase its fall-winter collection. According to Laurence Defaux, Pandora’s Communication Manager, "We were looking for a place in which our jewels could be magnified, like in a precious box." The venue's proximity to the French press offices of the company further contributed to the success of the press event.
2. Host a media roundtable
A media roundtable entails extending invitations to select media representatives for an informal interview session with the company's senior executives. This approach aims to educate participants from the media through brief and informative discussions with key spokespersons, ensuring alignment of experiences and expectations. In the process of selecting interviewees, assess their backgrounds by reviewing their written or spoken contributions in blogs, industry-press articles, conference presentations, white papers, Tweets, LinkedIn or Facebook posts. Additionally, inquire about their preferences in coverage to gain a comprehensive understanding of their offerings. It's also advisable to conduct a practice session with the senior executives to help them prepare for potential questions from the moderator.
3. Arrange a media tour
An alternative to a traditional press event is organizing a media tour, offering exceptional opportunities to cultivate relationships with target media members. A typical media tour is designed to bring your company's senior executives into direct contact with relevant members of the press for face-to-face discussions. Once the decision to organize a media tour is made, compile a list of press professionals in the chosen location. Initiate contact by calling and introducing yourself, and, recognizing journalists' busy schedules, propose informal interviews at their offices or nearby locations. Additionally, it is crucial to always address the "why" question – asking yourself, "Why should I meet with your company?" – as a clear answer to this question is essential for media engagement.
4. Offer an exclusive
When offering an exclusive, it's important to note that securing coverage is not guaranteed. Initially, ensure that your press release is compelling and newsworthy for journalists. This could involve showcasing a new product launch, introducing a novel feature, or highlighting a significant partnership your company has established. Once you've identified a suitable media outlet and specific journalist, tailor your approach accordingly. Consider the preferences of your target audience, as reaching a broad audience may not always be the most effective strategy. Approach the chosen publication, negotiate the terms of the exclusive, and provide as much detail as possible. Keep in mind that the primary objective behind offering an exclusive is to disseminate your information in the most impactful manner.
In this article, I've presented four strategies to infuse creativity and vitality into your press event, making it more dynamic and captivating for both the press and senior executives of your company.
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Primack, D. 2010. How and when to give a media 'exclusive' [online]. Available from: http://fortune.com/2010/10/18/how-and-when-to-give-a-media-exclusive/ [Accessed 3 December 2023].
Rudawsky, G. 2011. 6 Ways to Enliven—Or Replace—A Boring Press Conference [online]. Available from: https://www.prdaily.com/mediarelations/Articles/6_ways_to_enlivenor_replacea_boring_press_conferen_8435.aspx [Accessed 3 December 2023].