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How to hold a super successful virtual media conference

Great or mediocre. There should be no in-between. 

Are you ready to hold a virtual media conference in Nigeria that will thrill your audience? Companies and the media are used to the regular press conference with the media paparazzi jostling for space to capture the moments of magic. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing face of technology, more media conferences are going virtual.

If you are planning a virtual media conference soon, these recommendations will help you produce stellar results and win the hearts of the media.

Tease the media

First things first. The virtual media conference is all about the media. So, your starting point is to decide on the type and number of media you want to invite

Do not assume, they will automatically attend because it is virtual. You have to demonstrate to them that the event will be worth their time. Here are a few tips to get the media excited about your virtual media conference:

  • Create a bit of a teaser effect and promise that a special surprise awaits them. But if you make this promise, make sure you deliver. It could be in the form of a huge announcement or a surprise raffle draw or a surprise special guest.
  • Send a professionally scripted and personalized invitation. That conveys the importance of the virtual press conference. Don’t rely only on text invitations.
  • Offer a door prize.
  • Send a reminder 24 hours in advance and a final text reminder 1-2 hours in advance.
  • Choose the right time for your event

You want to take into account how many people will be able to attend, whether or not they’re in different time zones and how much time you need for Q&A.

The media generally prefers morning mid-morning hours for virtual media conferences. But there are no hard and fast rules. Some entertainment media might prefer late evenings. Understand the media.

Choose the presentation platform

Determining the best tools to deliver your message is of utmost importance. For most, that might be as easy as sharing a Zoom link with reporters. But for others, especially concerning security and interactivity, a more robust or custom platform may be the way to go.

You may also want to opt for the webinar mode, since this feature only allows the host and panelists to share their video, audio and screen while participants are in view-only mode.

Prepare to troubleshoot

successful virtual media conference

You might want to consider using more than one platform. Just in case there are any technical difficulties with your video or audio, you can switch over to a different service and continue the event as planned.

Get a good facilitator

A skilled moderator is critical to the success of online events, such as virtual media conferences. It’s not live events that require an MC.

Your facilitation should be business-like and ensue a proper event flow of the virtual press conference. He should also manage the questions and comments smoothly.

Develop a clear agenda that includes speakers and timeframes

You don’t want your attendees to be waiting around for long periods of time. Provide a clear agenda with the timings clearly marked and include any relevant links, so that participants can plan ahead.

Prepare the news release

Have a media release ready that you can distribute to the media covering the event. If you have the ability, create a separate video file from your video conference and embed it in the news release you distribute after the event. It will help reporters have a record of the press conference and allow reporters who could not attend to use the video to help create their own story.

Collate all supporting documents

Make other supporting documents, available online to reporters. Prepare a press kit that includes fact sheets, executive bios, photographs and other background information to distribute to journalists.

In addition, make sure presentation resources, including a digital recording and summary of the press conference, are available for reference within hours or minutes of the conference conclusion.

Engage attendees

successful virtual media conference

No one wants to sit through a 90-minute virtual conference, listening to one person speak. You should see your virtual media conference as a creative opportunity to bring your attendees to life.

You can increase audience participation with live Q&A, polls, product demonstrations and creating a special event highlight.

Because people have shorter attention spans, it’s important to keep your virtual media conference informative, yet concise enough to capture and retain reporters’ attention.

Practice and practice again.

You know what they say, practice makes perfect. If you’re hosting a press conference or speaking as a panelist, the best way to ensure a successful conference is to run through your talking points as many times as you can—even better, practice as a group to perfect transitions, timing and get familiar with the technology.

A touch of social media

successful virtual media conference

Spice up the event with an extra touch of social media. Consider using Facebook Live to broadcast your event to your Facebook audience.

You can also synchronize it on YouTube.  Such social media engagement will further amplify your virtual media conference.

Debrief

Once the event is over, take some time to connect with your team and go over what worked and what didn’t. That way, you will be better prepared for your next virtual event![1]

Virtual media conference success checklist.

Here’s a handy checklist to help you run an efficient virtual conference and keep you on track:[2]

  1. What is your main news? Is it interesting enough?
  2. Have you followed up on the key journalists and incentivized them to be punctual and stay till the end?
  3. Have you adequately prepared the spokespersons?
  4. Which video platform will you use? (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, or other).
  5. Are the background, lighting, camera angles and overall look absolutely professional?
  6. Did you have a full-dress rehearsal?
  7. What is the highlight and magic moment of the virtual media conference?
  8. Have you prepared a good press release and digital media kit?
  9. What other supporting items will help the reporter cover your story?
  10. What is your follow-up plan?
  11. Can you create a video of the virtual event that you can share afterward with the press?
  12. How will you track and report on your coverage of the virtual media conference?

By Kayode Akinyemi

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