Elements of a Good Press Conference: Beyond the Basics

Star elements of a good press conferenceWhat are the elements of a good press conference? Beyond basic planning and logistics, a good press conference captures a certain essence appropriate to the announcement. It reinforces your brand and connects to your audience. While the nature of a press conference can vary widely, here’s a few insights to consider.

A Good Press Conference Remains True to Your Brand’s Character

A good press conference will effectively represent your brand. A recent example is the Allen Americans ECHL hockey team press conference to announce a new owner. Ownership changes happen frequently in minor league sports. But this press conference stands out as being true to the team brand and the sport of hockey. Hockey is fast, fierce and fun.

With few exceptions, there were no suits or formalities. Instead, sport polo shirts, team jerseys, and light-hearted banter filled the stage. The “Go Red” spirit carried through the event and messaging. The space was intimate and overflowing. The lounge area at Allen Event Center looked over the arena ice. Plenty of food and drinks. Branded backdrops, season schedules, and star players completed the setting. The entire experience reflected the Allen Americans’ brand and the love of hockey.

A Good Press Conference Includes the Target Audience

Major crisis events and scandals aside, organizational news is subjective. Major media outlets may not consider your announcement to be newsworthy. Embrace this knowledge. If you don’t, your press conference will be the next big disaster. Instead, invite specialty news outlets, local media, and subject reporters. And, include your target audience of fans, followers, customers, staff, and volunteers. To be newsworthy, you must identify the right press coverage and include your target audience.

The target audience for the Allen Americans is the loyal fan base. By inviting fans and niche media, the team reached the intended audience. The fan base attending the press conference generated excitement by asking questions and applauding responses. The overflow of fans and excitement prompted positive news coverage.

A Good Press Conference Needs Substance

Spend the time to consider your speakers. What will each speaker present? And, prepare speakers for possible questions and responses. Each speaker’s message should offer something different. There is nothing worse than speakers that all say the same thing. Have a specific focus for each speaker.  Relevant information might include history or background, highlights, financial details, or action steps. Social service agencies and fundraising campaigns usually need an inspirational story. Make sure to include a call to action when it’s relevant. Prepare speakers to answer tough questions, share more details, and be transparent.

When new Allen Americans owner Jack Gulati, a resident of Pennsylvania, was asked how often he would be in Allen to support operations and attend games, he responded with details of how his time would be spent. When asked if he would consider a partnership opportunity for a few local business owners, he said no. He explained why and referenced sponsorship and group sales as the appropriate way for local businesses to affiliate with the franchise. He fielded several tough questions head on. His often humorous but straightforward responses created an instant connection to his audience. Real answers – this is substance and transparency at its best.

For more information on planning a press conference, read Lisa McQuerrey’s article on Chron.com.

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