Media Conference Minutiae – The Art of Delivering an Effective Media Conference
You have a spectacular event organized that everybody in the world will want to attend as soon as they hear about it. The media are clambering to get an exclusive interview with you. Your event rockets you to unimaginable levels of fame and fortune. It could happen!… maybe… well probably not… but it is possible to work with the media and have a successful media conference.
Media conferences are an excellent Money Shot way to get the word out about your event or cause, perhaps to boost ticket sales. Probably the best advice to meeting planner types who like to control every little detail… you can’t control the media. You can only work with them and hope for the best!
Gone are the days that local media are actively looking for human interest stories in and around their communities. Or so it would seem. All too often we see syndicated articles of drivel, originating from elsewhere in the continent, taking up valuable space in our local newspapers. Local journalists struggle to eke out a living within the confines of their employing editor’s supervision.
News isn’t something that is new anymore. It can be entertaining, tragic, pseudo educating and attempt to manipulate you in a direction that you hadn’t considered moving before. It can be blatantly self-promoting or oppositional to something they don’t believe in and don’t want you to believe in either. They being the editorial department of a media outlet who follow their directions from the owners and they in turn from… who, us the viewer/reader? Not likely! More likely their sponsors who pay big bucks to get their message spread via their favorite form of media.
So if any of this rant is true, why would we possibly want to rely on a news conference to spread our word? We don’t necessarily want to rely on them but we do want to take advantage of what they can offer, if they do what they are good at.
As in any event planning scenario, the bulk of the activity takes place before in preparation for the media conference. Here are some practical tips to consider as part of your planning process.
- Be honest with yourself, is your event truly news worthy? When we put a lot of hours and the proverbial blood, sweat and tears into organizing an event, it’s easy to lose site of what is truly important and what isn’t. Journalists are looking for something different. The better your cause, the better the chance they can create a memorable and effective piece on your behalf.
- Media relations… is not advertising! You are not paying the journalist to create publicity for you.
- You need to decide in advance what the “take away” is for the journalist and what do you hope will be done with it?
Before the media conference:
- If you are a frequent event organizer or at least see a few more in your future, it is worthwhile developing a “Media List.” Start off by developing a list with the headings of local newspapers, radio, television, local on-line news websites and locally produced magazines and circulations.
- Next step is to flesh out your list. Which of the above media have featured similar publications to yours? Using a newspaper as an example and your event relates to seniors or business, does it have a regular Senior’s section or a Business one? Targeting a media outlet that doesn’t cater to your topic is a waste of both your time and theirs.
- If they do have a particular person assigned to the “beat” that you are trying to market to, who are they and how can you contact them?
- Create and distribute a media advisory bulletin outlining the details that you want the media to be aware of about your event. This is their invite to the birthday party. It gives them enough information to foster a curiosity about the event but not enough that they could pass on your conference and write about it by proxy i.e. without having to show up.
- Create a media kit to be distributed to each media contact on the day of the event. The media kit should contain the details of your announcement i.e. your media release. Providing additional background information such as who they can contact for further info, your website address and your organization’s purpose for existing. Basically, spoon feed them with any details that they would likely go searching for in order to complete their article. Make it easy for them!
- Cross promote! Take advantage of your social media venues. Local Facebook and LinkedIn groups are excellent places to promote your upcoming media conference and your cause in general. You can post in your own groups as well as others.