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What is Public Relations?

  1. Press Conference
  2. Media Kit
  3. Public Relations

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Press Conference: Definition & Overview

Updated: November 25, 2022

When an entity, individual, or organization wants to relay key information to the public they can call what’s known as a press conference.

This is an event that media professionals such as news outlets and journalists attend. 

Read on as we take a closer look at press conferences and lay out the advantages and disadvantages. As well as note what considerations are important when preparing for a conference.

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    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • A press conference is a media event where key information is distributed.
    • It is common for journalists and news outlets to ask questions at the end of the press release. 
    • A press conference will usually be conducted by a company’s executive management, communications officer, or press liaison.

    What Is a Press Conference?

    A press conference is a media event. It is generally organized with the aim of officially distributing information and answers to the media. They are also commonly announced in response to specific public relations issues. 

    A corporate press conference is generally led by the executive management, press liaison, or communications officer of the organization. 

    Press conferences are held by corporations and other organizations, government officials, and politicians. 

    Press conferences are also known as news conferences. When there is no official statement or if questions are not allowed to be asked, then the event is known as a photo op. 

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    Why Is a Press Conference Necessary?

    There are a wide number of reasons as to why a company may choose to hold a press conference. The media may be called to a conference for any of the following reasons:

    • To respond to controversies
    • To respond to other news stories
    • To respond to earnings
    • To unveil a new product
    • To announce a new production facility
    • To announce a merger or an acquisition

    Considerations to Make Before a Press Conference

    Before holding a press conference, there are a few vital points that a company may want to consider. 

    The Press Release

    The first thing is the press release. When announcing a conference, a company should make sure that the release is well crafted. It should be concise, clear, and not open to interpretation. 

    However, it should also address the issue head-on, whether it’s a positive thing or a negative thing. 

    The Location

    It’s important to consider the location of the press conference. It should be able to accommodate a number of media outlets and should have some form of a link to whatever is being announced. For example, if a company is making an announcement about a new line of products, they can hold the conference in their flagship store. 

    Invitations

    Companies will commonly have a list of media that have been approved beforehand. These people who are apprised of the conference will receive a copy of the press release. The invitation should be just as well crafted as the release. This is in order to get the maximum number of people interested in the press release as possible. 

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    Advantages and Disadvantages of a Press Conference

    Advantages

    When a company holds a press conference, they have the opportunity to present a news story in the most favorable light possible. This is by taking advantage of the chance to make a public announcement before other aspects of the story leak and the story becomes out of their control. 

    This helps companies to get ahead of negative news and portray the company as honest and truthful. This is opposed to being seen as a company that is trying to suppress or hide negative news from the public or media. 

    They can also be used by lesser-known companies to increase their standing in the media. This is because it makes it easier for news agencies to cover company events. 

    By gaining this favorable media coverage, a company can gain greater brand recognition and authority within the market. This usually comes at a much lower cost than it would take for a widespread advertising campaign. 

    Disadvantages

    There are also disadvantages to holding a press conference. 

    The press will often have a level of control over the situation. That’s because they control the story that comes out of the conference. Remember that it is the company that has invited the press members. So they are looking for the media to do them a favor and positively report what they have to say. 

    Another disadvantage is that no matter how well the release has been scripted and curated, journalists can always find a way to twist words. This can lead to them misrepresenting what you’ve had to say. That makes it very easy for a press conference to go wrong and end up having the opposite of the desired effect. 

    This is especially true if questions are allowed at a conference. Often, journalists will ask questions with the intention of hoping the recipient will slip up and say something contentious. 

    So for example, let’s say that a politician who has had some recent controversy holds a press conference to talk about their policies. If a journalist asks them about their controversy, they could say something that wasn’t pre-scripted and can land them in more trouble.

    Summary

    Press conferences are a useful way for people to relay key messages to the public via the media. 

    For businesses, it can be a great way to interact with the media and build relationships. This means that you can get benefits such as increased brand recognition and cheaper publicity.

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    Press Conference FAQS

    How Long Does a Press Conference Last?

    The length of a press conference will depend on the entity as well as the topic. A general rule of thumb is that a presser should last no longer than 45 minutes, including the time it takes to ask and answer questions.

    What Is the Difference Between a Press Release and a Press Conference?

    A press release is a written statement that is sent out to news organizations or journalists. This is opposed to a press conference which is a live event that people attend in person.

    How Do You Answer a Press Conference Question?

    It’s crucial that you prepare a core message before holding a press conference with questions. This means that you can tailor your answers to questions around this core message, even reframing the question when necessary.

    How Do You Invite Media to a Press Conference?

    In order to invite the media to a press conference, you should contact local journalists or news channels. This can be done through a written invitation. The more research you do the better. This is because you can specifically target media outlets that have an interest in what you have to say or have reported on similar topics.

    What is Public Relations?

    1. Press Conference
    2. Media Kit
    3. Public Relations

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