Press Conference

  • Press Conference

Press Conference

A press conference is organized to distribute information and officially answer questions from the media. Press conferences are also announced in response to specific public relations issues. Executive management, a press liaison, or a communications officer typically conduct corporate press conferences. Given limited resources, particularly during quarterly or annual earnings, attracting significant media attention may be difficult unless a company has a unique or newsworthy announcement to share.

A press conference or news conference is a media event in which notable individuals or organizations invite journalists to hear them speak and ask questions. Politicians, other government officials, and businesses all hold press conferences. In a press conference, one or more speakers may make a statement, and questions from reporters may follow. Sometimes only questioning occurs; sometimes, a statement with no questions is permitted. Typically, assignment editors receive an advisory or news release well in advance announcing a press conference. Sometimes they are held spontaneously when several reporters gather around a newsmaker.

Key Takeaways

Press conferences are events where information is distributed and the media can ask questions.

These events are held to respond to positive and negative news, for product launches, or to inform the media and public about any other information about a company.

Most press conferences are announced through a press release, a well-crafted written statement outlining the nature of the conference.

Press conferences are usually conducted by a company's executive management, press liaison, or communications officer.

Lesser-known companies can hold press conferences to increase brand awareness, while established companies can share news in the most favorable light and increase their stature.

Understanding a Press Conference

Companies or individuals hold press conferences, and the media is present. During the event, one or more speakers may address those attending. Reporters may then be able to ask questions. Before a press conference, a company may issue a press release outlining the nature of the event.

At times, these are published well in advance of the conference. A company can present a news story in its most favorable light by inviting the press to special events. In other cases, lesser-known companies may want to increase their stature in the media by making it easier for news agencies to cover company events. By gaining favorable media exposure, companies can achieve greater brand recognition and authority in the market, usually at a much lower cost than is required for a widespread advertising campaign. Press conferences are also called news conferences. When no official statement or questions are allowed, the event is called a photo op.

Why Hold a Press Conference?

There are many reasons why companies choose to hold press conferences. They may be called to do any of the following:

Respond to earnings, other news, or controversies

Announce the departure or addition of a new executive

Unveil a new production facility

Announce the release of a new product or a merger or acquisition

Of course, these are just some instances when a company may call a conference. Sometimes, companies may time their press conferences before any news breaks. This can be beneficial to get ahead of any negative news and portray the company honestly and truthfully, as opposed to a company trying to hide the negative news.

Things to Consider Before
the Press Conference

Before holding the press conference—or presser, as they’re known to journalists—there are a few key points a company will consider. First is the press release. In addition to announcing the conference, the release should be well crafted. It should be clear, concise, and to the point. But it should also address the issue, whether it is a positive announcement like a product launch or a response to negative news or controversy. The follow-up after the press conference is just as necessary, so any questions answered will carry the same weight. The location of the press conference is also important.

It should be able to accommodate the number of attendees and have a link to what’s being announced. A company may decide to hold the conference at the production facility or in a retail store if it’s about a new product launch. Another consideration is who to invite. Companies generally have a list of media contacts apprised of the conference and receive a press release copy. Like the release, the invitation should be well crafted to get the maximum number of people interested.

Benefits of the press conference

Allows you to provide journalists with much more information than via press releases

Allows journalists to ask questions and set up interviews.


Organizing a press conference may involve considerable costs (renting a venue, etc.).

Planning your press conference

Plan and consider the following

Think in advance about practical issues such as location and resources (desk, podium, speakers, microphones, etc.)

Know what you want to announce

Know who you want to involve, adding weight and credibility to your message. Someone from your organization should be among the speakers, possibly a senior, high-ranking spokesperson.

Prepare a list of questions and answers for your speakers

Prepare all handouts in advance: press kits, gifts, etc. Don't leave this to the last minute!


Allocate one hour and allow two or three key speakers

Press conferences in the morning or early afternoon are most effective. Journalists tend to file their stories in the evening and need more time to attend a press conference.

Avoid having a press conference on a Friday, as some newspapers will have a different news cycle over the weekend.

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