A press conference is a very important tool of Public Relations for communication with journalists and creation of the media image of the company. Today we can relatively easily discover the needs and interests of journalists thanks to social networks, chat with them directly on these networks and increase the reach of the published content. How to use all these aspects for the benefit of your press conference? All you need is a sensible and proactive approach and the ability to listen. On the other hand, if you do not handle social media with enough skill, they may turn out to be your enemy. 

Your company has decided to organize a press conference. Arranging catering, sounding, presskits and other common organizational matters is easy enough. But every PR manager, regardless of the extent of their experience, has to focus on the media. Who to invite? How can we get their contact? What if they don’t come? A press conference without journalists is like a wedding without the broom and bride. It can still take place but it loses its purpose.

Who to invite to a press conference and how?

Let’s assume that you don’t have contacts to individual journalists who you would like to invite yet. This is where social networks can be of a great help.

1. Selected interested editors

Forget the strategy “I’ll open the web of Deník, Právo, Lidové Noviny… I’ll find the contact for editors and chief editor and I’ll send them an invitation.” This will condemn the conference to failure before it can even start. Look up articles on similar topic as your conference. Once you find these articles, find out who wrote them. This is the right person to contact. Another problem may be that you will not be able to find their contact information. This is where Twitter comes into play.

2. Create a Twitter profile for your company

Let me explain. Twitter does not have company and personal profiles, like you may know from Facebook. Twitter offers a unified platform for everybody. To create a company profile, simply name it after the company and not a person. That’s all there is to it. Of course, you need to fill in information about the company, select the layout and post your fist tweets. This will be your business card.

3. Search names and #hashtags on Twitter

You have already found some journalists who you think may be interested in your topic. Look up their names on Twitter. Twitter is a social network with a high number of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Many of them have tens of thousands percent more fans (called followers on Twitter) than on Facebook. Read what they share, as they publish on their own behalf as a person. In this way you can learn about their interests. Many also have their greatest hobby as their profile or opening picture. The same can be true for journalists on Twitter.

You can search not only for names but also for keywords and hashtags. I prepared a media service for a press conference of the European Jockey’s Cup. The first hashtag I searched for was #dostihy (horserace). You would be surprised how many profiles and related posts you can find.

4. Follow, mention, reply, retweet

These are the basic functions that you can use to make your favorites notice you. Only creating a Twitter profile does not change anything. You absolutely have to be active.

Follow – if you follow a user, it means you become his/her fan, so to speak. This relationship may be one-sided, nobody has to follow you back. By becoming a fan of that person, you will make yourself known. It is probable that the other person will be curious and check out your profile – we all want to know who is following us. If you took your time to fill in your profile properly and you found a really involved journalist or a blogger, the chances are that they will follow you back.

At this point you are on a path to success. The journalist follows your posts and you can even write them a private message and invite them to you press conference. Isn’t it great?

Mention – you may know this function from Facebook. You can simply tag another person/company by writing “@” followed by the nickname of the mentioned person. This function will again notify the given person that you mentioned them and the same effect as with Follow may occur :-)

Replay - sometimes it is good to join the discussion. Add your opinion and capture attention. The Retweet function is used to simply share a post on your profile.

Create a fanbase

The aim of this whole process is to make yourself visible and known to the public. It is important to use hashtags in your posts so that other people who are interested in this topic can find you. If you are actively searching, you can establish contact with journalists in a much more pleasant way than by sending an e-mail.

Conference starts – do you have your own hashtags?

Twitter is an excellent social network for intensive informing about a certain event. You can post a short post about the progress every couple of minutes. One of the participants said something interesting, a shot from the event, pictures of the team, as well as operational information – all of this can be posted. Some of these posts are provided with one shared hashtag. For the conference of the European Jockey’s Cup we chose the hashtag #EJC2015 as an abbreviation of the official name.

It is very probable that some of the journalists who are your friends on Twitter will attend your press conference. In this way you can make sure that information will be posted on Twitter since the start of the event and these journalists will spread these posts among their own fans and followers.

Lasting effect

Your work is not over with the lunch after the press conference, quite on the contrary. You have spent a substantial amount of time finding journalists, creating contacts and spreading awareness about the company, new product or another topic that was crucial for the press conference. Keep your new fans posted and informed regularly. Give them the content they expect.