Take Your Next Press Conference Online – Part Two

Previously, we shared our thoughts about the value of about hosting an online press conference in Part One. Now, let’s explore some tips on how to plan and execute a successful one.

Here’s a short checklist to set you up for success:

    • Identify the news.
      Make sure you have something new and noteworthy to share with reporters at the online briefing. Ideally, this should be something that taps into hot topics in the news cycle. Online briefings are certainly more convenient for reporters to attend, but they’ll still only attend if the topic is newsworthy.


    • Identify your moderator and your speakers.
      Your panel typically needs to feature your clients who, along with other experts, have considerable expertise in the topic area. Whenever possible, try to have speakers who tend to attract media attention in their field. Make sure each speaker has a distinct subset of expertise in the topic so the briefing doesn’t become repetitive. Equally important is having a skilled moderator who understands the topic, has a strong rapport with the speakers and can set a good pace for the briefing.


    • Save time for prep calls and a dry run.
      Factor in time for at least two prep calls and one dry run. You will not regret this. The first prep call should be used to sketch out each speaker’s portion of the briefing. The second one will further sharpen the topic areas and time allotted to each speaker, as well as give the moderator a chance to get comfortable managing the flow of the briefing and prepare for tough questions. And a dry run is critical. This gives speakers a chance to participate in a “dress rehearsal” of sorts, logging on as they would on the day of the briefing and practicing their part from start to finish. This is where you’ll identify any timing issues as well as repetitive or hard-to-follow content. Don’t have the dry run too early. A few days or even the day prior to the briefing is ideal, so that the speakers don’t forget what they’re supposed to say or any of the technical aspects of the software.


    • Think through the visuals.
      Have a slideshow of key points and infographics to accompany each speaker’s section during the online press conference. This will help reporters follow along and present the main points of the briefing in a visually appealing format. You may even go back to some visuals to reinforce key points.


    • Have a social media plan.
      Don’t ignore the digital media aspect of your briefing as you go about the planning process. One thing you can do beforehand is conduct a quick social media audit to identify key influencers on the topic, appropriate hashtags to use and a response strategy for potential tough questions that could come via your social platforms. Promote the briefing via your social platforms and encourage all your speakers to do the same. Have someone live-tweet the findings of the briefings, respond to comments and continue tracking the conversation a few days after the press conference has ended, in case any online follow-ups are necessary.


    • Get a recording.
      One of the most beneficial elements of an online briefing is the ease with which it can be recorded. Post the recording to your website and use it for follow-up with reporters.


With these tips in hand, you’re ready to pull off your first online press conference. Good luck and let us know how it goes!