Is a Press Conference Right for You?

By Becca Butler

Hosting a press conference can be a great way to communicate your message to a large number of media, however, there are alternatives that may yield better results for your company.
Nearly 3,000 editors, reporters and photographers attend the SEMA Show each year looking to fill the pages of their publications with the hottest products and news in the industry. With busy schedules and tight deadlines, catching the attention of the media can be a challenge.

Hosting a press conference can be a great way to communicate your message to a large number of media. However, press conferences do require a great deal of time to prepare for, and they limit the media to a single, specific date and time for getting your news. Here are some guidelines to help you determine if a press conference is right for you:
  • Your announcement will be of interest to a large number of journalists. Press conferences are great for sharing timely news to a large audience, but if your announcement is niche specific and is more likely to interest a few select reporters, consider reaching out to media individually and offering exclusive interviews with your company’s executives. Your target reporters will appreciate the exclusivity of the one-on-one meetings, and you will have much more success by being flexible with the schedule.
  • Your announcement provides journalists with timely photo opportunities or interviews. If journalists can obtain your news without having to attend a press conference, consider sending a press release that includes a photo and quote instead of limiting the journalists to a specific date/time. Chances are that many reporters will want to hear what you have to say, but they may not be available when you hold your press conference. As long as you supply them with everything they need, there is a good chance that they will run your story anyway. If you’re worried about the information being published too early, then ask journalists to embargo the news. Many are great about honoring the request.
  • Your product is completely new to the industry. While your new product is likely to be industry changing, the reality is that there are 2,400-plus exhibitors debuting new products at the SEMA Show. The media is likely to cover your new product, but unlikely to go out of their way to block out a specific 20-minute press conference to obtain details for a new product. Consider providing the information to the media via one of the other outlets available to exhibitors, such as entering the New Products Showcase, posting a release in the Online Media Center or offering your product to project vehicle builders.
If, however, you decide that a press conference is the best option for your team, be sure to submit an application before the deadline on Friday, July 31. Applications are available online.

Learn more about PR opportunities for SEMA Show exhibitors.