This checklist was compiled with
the help of Ben Zeitlin, senior account director at West Glen
Communications, a blended-media distribution house with offices in
Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. (www.westglen.com).
Determine how your message would be
important to the press. (Examples of newsworthy announcements
include medical findings unveiled at a conference, product launches
or major personalities delivering keynote addresses.)
In what ways will your message impact
national and local audiences, as well as people in your
Put on your news director’s hat and
ask, “Why would my audience care about this message?”
Is your message timely? Can it be
tied in to another topic that is already in the news?
Do you have good visuals?
Are you delivering something
newscasters can’t get by themselves?
If your organization doesn’t have an
in-house PR department, hire an experienced publicist. Get this pro
involved early in your planning process.
Discuss to whom your message will be
directed, such as industry media, beat reporters, technology
reporters, health reporters, general interest writers, etc.
Determine which publications,
channels and websites your audience regularly consumes.
Examine traditional ways to reach the
Discuss creative, out-of-the-box ways
to reach the target audience.
Setting Up Press
Determine which executives and
speakers to make available to the press. Contact them and make sure
they are willing to be interviewed.
Schedule a room for press
Don’t assume your organization’s
spokespeople are adept at working with the media. Sit down with
them to discuss your organization’s key messages.
Do some role-playing and throw your
spokespeople a few curveballs in advance to see how they’ll react
if under fire.
Establish firm appointment times and
confirm them with those who will be interviewed.
The Press Room
Set aside a breakout room with
phones, electrical outlets, land lines, computers and high-speed
Provide at least coffee and soft
drinks, if not food, as well.
Create clearly differentiated badges
for the press.
Create media kits -- in both print
and digital formats -- with news releases, speaker bios and
succinct background materials on your organization, including
Delineate where members of the media
are and are not welcome within the venue. For example, is it OK for
them to interview whomever they encounter? May they attend all
sessions, or are some off-limits to the press?
Virtual Press Room
For members of the press who can’t
attend in person, create a microsite within your event website and
Background video (also known as a
Downloadable press releases
Video press releases
Archived articles, video and audio
featuring your organization, with pertinent sections
Links to sponsor websites and other