Several factors should help you determine what media event is most appropriate. Press breakfasts or luncheons are more appropriate for non-breaking news, whereas a press conference may be more suitable for breaking and urgent news. You should also consider your financial resources when deciding the details of a press event. Timing and the number of people available to help with your event are other important factors to consider. It is important to work with reporter deadlines when deciding the details of a press event.
- Identify Your Expectations
It is important to ask yourself what you expect to get out of the media event. Set goals. How many reporters do you want at your event? How many stories would you like to have written? Clear goals will help you appropriately design your media event.
- Press Conference
Press conferences should only be used for breaking news. Breaking news may include the release of a report, an event, a reaction to another story or event, or other issues of immediate interest to the public.
- Press Briefing
The press breakfast and luncheon are types of press briefings. Press briefings are designed to provide more background information and question-answer sessions for reporters.
- Press Breakfast/Luncheon
Press breakfasts allow for candid presentations as well as question and answer periods. The purpose of the press breakfast is not to break news, but instead to build a relationship with reporters and reach out to reporters in large media market areas.
- Conference Call/Webcasts
Webcasts and conference calls are much less resource-intensive press events. They can be used for breaking news when reporters are outside the local area.
A phone interview or in-person interview may be an alternative to conference calls if you wish to work with an individual reporter who is locally accessible.
Whichever press event you select, you should be prepared with in-depth knowledge on the event and the issues. It’s important to have a message. Without a clear, concise message, it's hard for a news story to be remembered. Make sure to state your message quickly and memorably. Employing the use of a quick, easy to remember slogan or a catchy visual is a good way to have a hook. For example, "New study shows that condom availability doesn't promote sex, does protect students!" Then describe the problem. The goal of a press event is not just to complain about a situation but also to present the problem to the appropriate audience and to identify a possible solution. Describe the problem; identify the obstacles; and then provide a solution or a call to action. For example, the problem is an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections among local high school age youth; one obstacle is that the local school board disapproves of condom availability; the solution is for the school board to change its position on school condom availability.
- Press Packets
Press packets are useful for providing background information such as the history of your organization, staff biographies, and any other background information that a reporter may need for a story. Include:
- Press release
- Fact sheet and clippings about the issues
- Proposed solution
- Copies of the most important charts and other visuals used in the event
- Contact information on the person for the media to call.
Planning your press event will help you determine which event to choose, who your spokesperson should be, timing, and what information you need to firmly backup your position and story. Follow Up
Keep track of who attended your media event. Use sign-in sheets. Follow your coverage and identify what worked and what did not.