In an age of online posting and pushing — and competing with an innumerable amount of other online publishers — press conferences provide the value of a “physical post:” draw the newsmakers to your event or announcement, and let the variety of posts flow from there. If executed strategically and properly, a press conference can take advantage of both traditional and modern media qualities.
The Face Factor
When a press release or mass media message is sent out to media contacts (some of whom PR firm employees personally know or have met, some who have been located through a database) online, the impact of the message relies on the PR firm’s relationship with the media and the draw of their content…which, at the end of the day, is flat text. Press conferences offer the key and beneficial opportunity to meet the press in person and build relationships through face-to-face interactions and conversations.
Press conferences not only give a face to the PR firm running the conference or to the media personnel, but also the client for whom the conference is being held. Charismatic and well-trained spokespeople of the client company resonate well with the media. This provides an opportunity for the client company to present themselves, their mission, their brand, and their current story in a constructive and memorable fashion, which will benefit in future news stories and events. The “face factor” also helps build relationships with the media, for both the firm and the client.
A Larger Pool of Audiences
Today, PR professionals have a much wider net to cast when inviting media to press conferences; they have traditional media personnel (newspaper, radio, television) and modern media personnel (blogs, online news sources, social media) to contact and pitch. As a result, the story (that inspired the press conference) can be disseminated into more news channels and to more specific, tailored audiences.
The Online Option
If a member of the press is unable to attend the press conference in person, a benefit of today’s age is that he or she could view it online (streamed live or as a video posted later), or email the PR firm for a conference summary and Q&A.
The flexibility of the Internet also provides the opportunity for PR firms to post their own photos, videos, or blog posts from/about the conference on the client’s website and social media. This guarantees coverage online, and allows the client to present immediate coverage of their event.
The Demand for More News
Press conferences serve as a benefit for both the PR firm/client and the media in the sense that the story and news from a highlighted event can help fill the dockets of sleepless, 24/7 news outlets. News stations both on air and online are running constantly and have a higher demand for more news as a result.