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The need to host a press conference will never go away – but now we have switched to hosting virtual press conferences. Online press conferences can still make it more difficult to hold the attention of reporters and other guests, as attendees are more susceptible to other distractions.
Online press releases can draw more attendees since guests do not need to waste time in travel and can attend from long distances. They also provide public relations people with more control. Organizers can ask reporters to enter questions in the video platform’s “chat box,” allowing the moderator to pick and choose questions and paraphrase questions. Some agencies actually report better results with virtual conferences with more attendees and coverage.
Schedule and Invitations
Except for news breaking events such as Nobel Awards, most news conferences can be planned in advance. Develop the invitee list long before the planned event, using a media database or your own custom media list. Notices/invitations should be sent a week or more in advance of the event so that reporters can put it on their schedule. Send invitations to all beat reporters via multiple emails. Include social media influencers on the invite list. Follow up with phone calls to key reporters and influencers. Ask for responses so that their email addresses can be included on the attend list.
Test your Technology
Before holding the virtual press conference, hold a dry run to spot faulty equipment and other issues – and to prep speakers. Test equipment in the room where the conference will be held. Testing audio is critical since attendees will leave if they can’t hear presenters.
Ensure the speakers have a good internet connection – is crucial. For that reason, opt for a direct wired connection rather than Wi-Fi and urge guests to avoid public Wi-Fi, Sethi advises. For professional presentations, consider hiring technical specialists.
Gather Supporting Documents
Make supporting documents, such as a press release, available online to reporters. Prepare a press kit that includes fact sheets, executive bios and other background information to distribute to journalists. In addition, make sure presentation resources, including a digital recording and summary of the press conference, are available for reference within hours or minutes of the conference conclusion.
Find a Good Moderator
A skilled moderator, also known as a master of ceremonies, MC or emcee, is more important for online events, such as virtual press conferences. Someone who can grab attendees attention and hold it the during the entire event.