Over-Crowded Press Conferences at CES

In my December 5th post “Top 9 PR Tips for Conventions”, I commented that you shouldn’t do a press conference unless you’re announcing the proverbial “cure for cancer”. For the most part, reporters don’t want to leave their offices to deal with traffic, the weather, etc.

Holding a press conference at a convention is particularly challenging. On the one hand, most of the reporters you want to reach will be there, and it is easier for busy senior executives to talk to many writers at once. Many CEOs like taking the stage and enjoy the prestige they think an official “Press Conference” confers on them.

On the other hand, a convention is full of companies competing for reporters’ time. A press conference requires writers not only to come to you but to do so on your schedule. What is more, the reporter has to compete with other reporters for the news. This doesn’t do much for your long-term relationship with the reporter.

Blogging from CES today, well-known tech writer Rob Pegoraro writes “End the CES Press Conference as We Know It”. His main problem is that he has to wait in a horrendous line to get into a press conference. Now, from the perspective of a “PR Type”, as he calls we PR professionals, over crowding is a “good news” problem. 

Pegoraro’s piece is funny: http://ow.ly/gDLp3.

What do you think of press conferences? How do you talk clients or executives out of having one when it is not the best communications tool or into having one when appropriate?

Vicki Stearn, principal of Think Out Media, is an adept generalist with an expertise in strategic planning, new product launches, and end-to-end communications implementation.  She is successful in a variety of industries and is currently expanding her practice to include the mHealth and eHealth sectors. Follow her at www.thinkoutloudmedia.com or @vickistearn.

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