A news conference (or press conference) is a formal event to which you invite the press to learn more about an important, newsworthy announcement. For the most part, unless you have something truly momentous to announce, news conferences should not be used by small businesses. You probably won't have the drawing power to justify putting together this kind of event, and other PR methods will be more effective.
The operative word in news conference is "news." You will attract the press to a news conference by promising to deliver a real news story to them. It is important to keep that promise. If you don't, you will be like the boy who cried "wolf." Waste a journalist's time once, and you will not get that time again. And you won't be doing any good to your company's reputation.
A news briefing is a less formal get together – you might bring together four or five reporters to give them an update on your company or fill them in on some new product information. You can also use the time to answer questions and let the press learn more about what you and your company do. You can hold a briefing in your company's conference room, over lunch at a restaurant, or another comfortable location.
Here are some situations where a news conference or briefing might be appropriate:
- Your company is announcing the launch of a new product or service
- Your company is acquiring a strong competitor (or is being acquired)
- Your company strikes a major joint venture deal with a large corporation
- To announce the findings of an important poll or survey
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