Media Management: The Press release, Press Conference, Media Interviews, Seminars
The Press release
A press release is a written communication that reports specific but brief information about an event, circumstance, or other happening. It’s typically tied to a business or organization and provided to media through a variety of means.
Don’t expect the media will grab the press release and run it. It may depend on whether the event or circumstance is something that might interest their readers or listeners, or if it benefits the community in some way. If you’re lucky, your press release may be picked up by bloggers, Tweeters and others who read it and find it worthy of promoting within their social networks.
Two Basic Types of Press Releases
Some press releases are available for “immediate release.” This means anyone can share the information as soon as the release is made public. Other press releases may have time limits that allow only certain media sources to report them immediately. They’re offered to other news services, websites, or blog owners for publication at a later time.
The Main Purpose of a Press Release
There’s a difference between “news” and “press releases.” The main purpose of all press releases is to promote something significant and specific. A press release is a document that adheres to a strict format and serves three marketing and promotional purposes:
- To let the media know about an event, hoping it will pass the information along
- To let the media know about your business, hoping a reporter will see a story in your press release and write an actual news article about it
- To help promote your business’ appearance on the Internet via blogs, websites, and social networks. It is direct readership publicity
Tips for Writing a Press Release
Press releases always begin with the name of the city where it originates from and the current date. They should always be written in the third person. Write it as though you’re sharing riveting information. If your information isn’t riveting, take a step back. Maybe there’s something you can add to your event or announcement that will make it more interesting. Of course, that “something” has to happen. You can’t mention that an A-list celebrity will show up at your event when you know full well he won’t.
Linking your press release to a current trend or occurrence in the news can also help grab attention.
The bottom line is that if your event is boring, your press release may be yawn-worthy too, and no one is going to want to run with it. Avoid dry, rigid wording for this reason. You don’t want to lose your reader with the first sentence.
A press release is not just a rendition of facts. Press releases always employ quotes taken from someone significant to the event, like a corporate executive, for example. But quotes in press releases are seldom a verbatim quote of what a personage actually said. They embody more of an enhanced idea of what the person should have said – an idealized version of a statement that pushes the press release’s agenda. It’s a rhetorical device.
What a Press Release Is Not
A press release is not a guaranteed marketing tool. Temper your expectations. Don’t anticipate every press release you write will always be picked up and passed along by mainstream media sources.
But don’t give up. Keep trying. Successful publicity depends on sustained effort.
A press conference is an event organized to officially distribute information and answer questions from the media. Press conferences are also announced in response to specific public relations issues.
Corporate press conferences are generally led by the company’s executive management or a press liaison or communications officer. Given limited resources, particularly during a time of quarterly or annual earnings, it may be difficult to attract major media attention unless a company has a truly unique or newsworthy announcement to share.
Press conferences are held by corporations and other businesses, politicians, and other government officials.
A media interview is a discussion involving questions and answers for the purpose of broadcast. It is distinct from an informational interview,McLean, S. (2005). The basics of interpersonal communication. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. where you might be asked questions to learn background on a story, but you will still need to observe the three hallmark rules of interviews:
- Anything you say can and often will be used against you.
- Never say anything you would not feel comfortable hearing quoted out of context on the evening news.
- Be prepared for the unexpected as well as the expected.
- Interview Preparation Factors
|Topic||What will be the range or scope of the interview? How can you prepare yourself so you are better able to address specific questions? Ask for the list of questions in advance, and anticipate that you will be asked questions that are not listed. Prepare for the unexpected and you won’t be caught off guard.|
|Time||What’s the time frame or limit? A 15-minute interview may not require as much depth as one that lasts an hour or more.|
|Format||How will you be interviewed? Will it be through audio or video, over the Internet, over the telephone, or in person?|
|Background||What’s the backstory on the interview? Is there a specific issue or incident? Is there a known agenda? Why is the interview now and not earlier or not at all? Why is it important?|
A seminar may be defined as a gathering of people for the purpose of discussing a stated topic. Such gatherings are usually interactive sessions where the participants engage in discussions about the delineated topic. The sessions are usually headed or led by one or two presenters who serve to steer the discussion along the desired path.
A seminar may have several purposes or just one purpose. For instance, a seminar may be for the purpose of education, such as a lecture, where the participants engage in the discussion of an academic subject for the aim of gaining a better insight into the subject. Other forms of educational seminars might be held to impart some skills or knowledge to the participants. Examples of such seminars include personal finance, web marketing, real estate, investing or other types of seminars where the participants gain knowledge or tips about the topic of discussion.
Of course, a seminar can be motivational, in which case the purpose is usually to inspire the attendees to become better people, or to work towards implementing the skills they might have learned from the seminar. For instance, a business seminar with a financial theme could be for the purpose of teaching small business owners how to pitch to investors or to write a solid business plan, and to motivate them to get started right away.
Sometimes, seminars are simply a way for businessmen and women, or other like-minded people, to network and meet other attendees with similar interests. Such seminars provide opportunities for the attendees to make some potentially valuable contacts that can help them move to the next level in their careers or endeavors.