A Big Production For Big News

A press conference is not an easy event or a casual one. It's a big production and should only be saved for big issues. If you schedule press conferences every week, or every day, the press will stop showing up. If you schedule a press conference for news that is not worthy of the media to travel to, you will burn your relationship and they won't come the next time (newsworthy or not).

So when should you do a press conference?

  • When it's truly big news

A  press conference is typically set only to announce huge news, something you'd want to give TV reporters advance notice and time to drive down and set up their cameras.

In politics, you'd do a press conference to announce a run for office -- or to drop out of a major race.

Same thing for other public figures. A business would hold a press conference for earth-shaking news like mergers and bankruptcies. An NFL quarterback might hold one to announce he's asking for a trade to a different team.

  • When the news breaks

The news has to be fresh. If you schedule a press conference for Friday, but leak the news to your favorite reporter on Tuesday, there's no reason for any reporters to show up to your press conference. They already got scooped.

If you're going to have a press conference, you've got to have it when the news breaks. No leaks. No favors. No hints to friendly reporters, because good reporters will sniff around and figure it out.

  • When the phone won't stop ringing

If reporters are calling you all day about an issue, wondering when you'll make the announcement, that's a good time to have a press conference.

If not a single reporter has asked about this issue, that's a sign. Don't schedule a press conference about it. Save press conferences for big news. If you have them too often, the press will stop showing up.