Press Releases & Conferences
A press conference is simply a meeting or opportunity for press to come witness an event, hear a specific person speak, and ask questions. People often hold a press conference when they are releasing a report, initiating a lawsuit, or staging a protest. All you need is a place to hold it, a 20-30 minute presentation, and a commitment from some of the key actors or “poster people” for your campaign. If your invitation is compelling, reporters will attend, but you might want to put some feelers out before you launch into event planning mode.
The press release is just like a one-pager, with a few key differences.
A press release needs to have a news hook, which is an event or specific story you’re asking the press to cover.
- For example, you don’t want to send a press release on your belief that police brutality is a problem. There’s no news hook there. What you could do is invite reporters to a protest happening this Saturday, or to ask them to do a story on a bill that will be voted on next week.
- Maybe there’s a new report that just came out showing that a private prison in your community wastes tax dollars and undermines public safety.
- Perhaps you’re upset about the use of Tasers in your local police force, and a wrongful death lawsuit involving Tasers will be decided next week.
A great press release often includes the story of a person affected by the issue.
This strategy is perfect for feature, lifestyle, or metro reporters who are more apt to cover human interest angles. These stories must be compelling and current, however. Not just anyone who cares about your issue will do.
Your press release should explain how this will impact their audience.
Like a one-pager, it should have a few quick stats and facts with citations on where the information comes from.
Do not forget to include a contact information.
Include a name, number, and email address so the reporter can follow up.
More on How to Send Press Releases
Today, press releases are often sent by email though faxing newsrooms remains quite effective. Pieces of paper are harder to misplace or ignore than a line in someone’s cluttered inbox.
You also want to take the time to follow up with a phone call: “Hi, this is __ calling from ___. I want to make sure you received our press release. We’d love it if someone from the __ could come out to the event Saturday. If you’re not able to make it, we can also arrange interviews with some of the key participants.”
Personal touches work. As with decision makers, if you are able to build relationships with reporters over time, it becomes ever easier to pick up the phone and enlist not only their support but also their feedback on how to make your message and campaign more effective.