How to Plan & Hold a Notable Press Conference


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Maximizing Your Exposure

Trade shows and conventions can be very hectic, and lots of companies will be competing for attention. This chapter discusses press conferences and panel sessions, two more ways to get exposure at a show.

Plan and Hold a Notable Press Conference

Press conferences for small companies at trade shows are distinctly out of favor for these reasons:
• Competition from bigger companies steals reporters.
• Excitement on the show floor steals reporters.
• Reporters aren’t interested in small companies.

Most publicity consultants advise against holding press conferences because only a few people will show up. That’s exactly why you should schedule a press conference.

Consider these points:
• Your company and its message will be listed in the press conference roster. All reporters read this roster, so you’ll have another opportunity for them to see your company name. Some trade shows list all the press conferences on a large billboard, which can be as much as 20 feet high with names printed in letters a foot high. This is good exposure and it doesn’t cost a cent.

• The press may attend. You’ll have their undivided attention and a chance to tell them about your product and your company. Even if only one reporter attends, you can have a private talk and conduct a demo.

• When only one or a few reporters show up, they may consider themselves privy to a great story that takes on the earmarks of an exclusive. If your product is good and your press conference effective, a great article or review may result.

Never, never, never count the number of reporters when judging the effectiveness of a press conference. The quality and quantity of reporters affected by the message can transcend the number of people sitting in chairs.

Follow these guidelines for developing a 15-minute press conference:

Press Conference Guidelines

• Call to order, introduce yourself and your company (1 minute).

• Provide an overview of your product (2 minutes).

• Review your company positioning statement and background (2 minutes).

• Describe the product you are holding the press conference to announce (3 minutes).

• Demonstrate the new product (5 minutes).

• Ask for and respond to any questions (2 minutes to completion).

• Thank everyone for attending (ten seconds).

Be sure you bring press kits, promotional items and several layers of company executives to the press conference. Collect reporters’ business cards when they arrive so you can follow up after the show.