Why & How to Hold Press Conferences
Press releases, interviews, and informal media contacts are great ways to get keep your firm's name in the news. Press conferences are the most formal of press contacts. A successful press conference can generate news about your firm.
Why should you hold a press conference?
A press conference is for special occasions, for those times when you want to make an impression. Hold a press conference to draw attention to:
- Notable verdicts or settlements
- Future workshops for the public
- Law firm mergers
- The opening of a branch office
- Filing law suits with public policy implications
- A new development in the law to explain its significance
A successful media conference will also boost the morale of the firm. The staff and lawyers can take pride in knowing that the press turns out to hear what you have to say.
How do you hold a press conference?
1. Decide on the date and time. Weekdays are better than weekends, and morning is preferable since there will be time to prepare for the mid-day or evening news.
2. Select the location. If your conference room is small, look for a local hotel with good parking, catering, and close to the highway.
3. Get the press to attend. Send out a media alert to both print and television with date, time, location, and topic. If you have advertising contacts, reach out to them to get the names of the reporters who would be interested in the topic. Send out personal invitations. As the day approaches, follow up with phone calls. You can also arrange for interested reporters to interview the lead attorney before or after the conference assuring their attendance.
4. Use social media to spread the word to your followers on Facebook and Twitter.
5. Arrive early, set up the space with a podium with your firm's logo, set out chairs for attendees, and test microphones, sound systems, and lights. Remember to have a videographer present to record the event for later use on your social media accounts.
6. Prepare a media kit for those attending. Include a thumb drive with all the information and photos for ease of use. Assign someone at the door to greet the reporters and pass out the media kits.
7. Start on time. Speakers should be brief, highlighting the key elements of the topic, and then open the floor for questions. End the conference by having a firm representative step up to signal the close of the conference and thank everyone for coming.
8. Finally, on the day after the conference, send personal messages to the reporters who attended. This will strengthen your media relations. And don't forget to post video of the conference on your website and your social media accounts.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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