A reader wrote this week and asked:
“We are looking for some advice on when to send a media notice to our contacts announcing a press conference. A week prior to the press conference? Two days? Or is it best to hit them a couple of times?”
The Publicity Hound says:
Why do you think it’s so difficult to lure the media to news conferences? Here are five reasons:
—They’re almost always boring. Sometimes, they don’t even result in news.
—If there’s a nugget of news to be found, all media walk away with the same story. They hate that. Each media outlet wants its own story, or a different angle on the same story.
—Reporters and photographers often have to battle rush-hour traffic getting there.
—Photographers would much rather photograph events with people, color and motion instead of a bunch of talking heads behind microphones.
—Much of the same information the media can get at a news conference can be emailed to them just as easily.
The short answer: Skip the news conference and instead think of several different angles to pitch to different media outlets.
Or, instead of a news conference, sponsor a clever event. Or think of a way to get the media involved in your event. Several weeks ago, I was part of a teleseminar panel sponsored by Bulldog Reporter. One participant wanted ideas on how to pitch a news conference announcing workshops in which students would learn about nature and the environment. I suggested that instead, they invite reporters to join in one of the activities–building bat houses.
Sandra Eggers, APR, who was my guest on a teleseminar titled “Creative Alternatives to Boring News Conferences” says you should steer clear of these cliche events and, instead, create an exciting event that will pull the media like a magnet. The one time when you SHOULD call a news conference is when the news is bad and you want to be the first one to release it. It might save your butt and it might even save your job.