The Secrets of a Successful Press Conference

Let’s hold a press conference! Why not? Lots of companies do and, let’s face it, we have the most exciting news since… well, our last exciting news.

First, choose a date that doesn’t clash with the inauguration of the US President, the UK Queen’s Speech or the Second Coming. And let your invited press know early. They do have a life outside your reason for living!

Second, find a venue that all the journalists you want present can get to quickly and easily.

Third, if you have samples of your product, make them available for inspection, evaluation and, hopefully, a bit of fun. It’s very boring for press people to be told about something they can’t handle or test. And can you blame them? Why should they take your word for anything? They are not in the business of ‘puff’ promotion. Their argument would be if you want that, book some media space/time and pay for it!

Fourth, make sure that venue has all the communication facilities a media professional would need to file copy (very quickly, if necessary).

Fifth, treat all journalists equally. Don’t fawn over the ‘big boys/girls’ and ignore local or specialist hacks. They could very easily contribute much more effectively to your success than over pressured national and international journalists who might never turn up, or care!

Sixth, if you are going to have an all singing all dancing audio visual orgy, make sure someone puts the plugs in the right sockets!

Many a well intentioned press presentation has left journalists deeply unimpressed when a screen fails to display any information. Or when a microphone makes more noise than the person speaking into it. Or when a sexy piece of music never makes its way past the foreplay!


Seventh, make sure you’ve covered all the bases. The last thing you want is for a journalist to home in on the one weakness your product/service has – and it will have and they will do, believe me – leaving you wrong footed.

Make sure all your PR staff on the day are on the ball, totally informed, prepared for the worst and ready to ‘sell’ your product, warts and all, confidently and with no apologies.

Which brings me to the eighth point – make sure it’s the guests who get the goodies and not your PR staff.

Many a well intentioned event has fallen at the last post because the hosts have consumed more bubbly than the guests and, in the worst case scenario, forgotten the name of the product they are promoting!

If your press conference works well, journalists should go away enthused and root for you in their columns or TV/radio slots.

If you get it wrong, just expect a big bill for your ill fated efforts.

Over to you…

This article was written by Gwynne Chipperfield, founder of bcc+gem. It originally appeared in

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