Your Partnership and the Media – Media Conferences and Events

If your partnership has something to say, has had success in its work or wants to promote a future event or activity, it is often tempting to just issue a media release in response.

And while media releases can do the job most of the time, there may be occasions where your partnership wants to do something bigger to attract the media's attention. That's where the idea of a media conference or media event can be most effective.

These conferences or events, through their colour, vibrancy, special guests or a myriad of other reasons, can attract better media coverage and more effectively get your message across to the public and whoever your target audience may be.

But a successful media conference or event does not organise itself, so before you start planning such an occasion, there are a few things you and your partnership need to think about.

Do I need a conference or event?

The first thing to consider is whether you need to stage a media event, with the key here to be realistic.

Your partnership does not want to hold media events at the drop of a hat - and run the risk of becoming over-exposed. You should only consider holding an event when you really have something big to announce.

For smaller announcements or updates about your partnership and its work, a media release faxed or emailed to journalists – with a follow-up phone call – should be sufficient.

However, if you do have something to shout from the rooftops about - don't be shy, organise an event.

What should we think about if staging an event?

Once your partnership has decided to stage a media event, asking yourself a few quick questions can give you a good idea of how to organise, promote and structure your media event:
WHAT is the message or information you want the media event to convey?
  • This message should guide your event, the media information you prepare for it and shape any of the interviews you may give to the media on the day.

WHERE should we hold the event?
  • Think about the most appropriate location, but also about a location that provides good photo opportunities of your partnership members or the project or event you have been working on.
  • The location should also be relatively easy for those attending to get to.

WHEN should we hold it?
  • Think not only about the time of day you wish to stage the media event, but on which day.
  • Make sure key partnership members are available on the day and at the time you pick for the event. Also make sure your event is scheduled to encourage the media to attend – for example, not on deadline day, not too early or late in the day, and not clashing with another event or announcement.

WHO should be at the event?
  • Think about who you should invite – including partnership members, special guests, celebrities who support or are interested in your efforts, VIPs or influential people like politicians, business and community leaders.
  • Importantly, don't forget to invite the media! Make sure you target media outlets with alerts by phone or preferably fax, beforehand. This leads to the next point:

HOW do we get the message out about the media event, and how do we follow up afterwards?
  • Issuing media alerts before the event is the best way to tell the media about what is planned, while issuing invitations to guests and other people helps inform them of what is going on.
  • Following up with the media afterwards could involve sending outlets a post-event release or information pack.

HOW LONG should the event go for?
  • Limit the event to a shortish period of time, but allow time after the announcement for interviews, questions and "meeting and greeting" guests.
  • The media – who, in the end, this event is directed at – will appreciate it if you can get through your announcements and question time reasonably quickly so, if they need to, they can return to their offices and file their stories.

For more information and detail about organising a successful media event, refer to the Help Sheet Your Partnership and the Media - Elements of a Successful Media Event or Conference available at the Community and Business Partnerships Brokerage Service on the Our Community website.