After you have sent off the press release it is now time to go to the next steps to further ensure that you or your client has a successful press conference...with the media present!
1. Follow-Up With The Press: You should already have the phone numbers to all of the news outlets that you invited to attend your press conference. When you call the news station ask for the "News Room" and if you know who the news director is for that particular shift ask for them directly. There are sometimes different news directors during the week and the weekends.
Ask them two questions: Did you receive the press release we sent to you all in regards to.....? Do you all have us on the press board for possible coverage?
2. Get People There On Time: Now, this is a task for any organizer. Being on time for a press conference is very important especially if you are establishing new relationships with your local media. If it starts at 7:00pm, request that all persons to be present 45min-to-a hour in advance. Why? Step 3 will also tell you why.
3. Get Everyone on the Same Page--Texas Congressman Al Green is one of the most phenomenal leaders I have witnessed that knows how to make sure his press conferences are in order way before the media arrives. Even so that he is called "The Maestro" by some of his colleagues.
Congressman Green calls for a pre-press conference meeting that everyone who is to be apart of it must be present at. He goes over the statement he will make and ensures that it is clear to everyone, also to see if anyone is opposed to it. Then he delegates who will speak following him and their exact order. Then he asks those persons to share with him and others their prepared statement to make sure they are all on the same page. Everyone is also informed where they will stand relative to the cameras. Brilliant tactics!
4. Make sure the Press Area is secure: Don't wait until the media shows up to decide where they will be positioned. Lock that down in advance. Once they show up they should have a smooth transition to their spot without any confusion. It is always good to have someone whose sole job is to escort the media. Make sure it is someone who has proper handling of people who will treat the press like dignitaries.
5. Have a sign in table for the media: It is important to collect business cards, phone numbers and email addresses for all media that attends your press conference. You need to store them in your database for future use. Don't let one get by without signing in.
6. Execute the Press Conference: Now it's time to get started! Everyone should be in place and the key spokesperson should handle it from there. Be sure to have someone taking notes of all mistakes that may have been made during the press conference such as misinformation which needs to be corrected to the media off camera, etc.
7. Thank the press: Be sure to thank the media for showing up and ask them specifically when the press conference will air on their news station. Later that day send them a two-line thank you email....trust me it works.
(Did you miss Part 1? Click here: http://jessemuhammad.blogs.finalcall.com/2009/04/part-1-how-to-conduct-successful-press.html)