Dear Event Doctor:

We’re proud of a new championship event we’ve landed after a long bid campaign. Now we want to announce it to the world. But we’re not sure if we should hold a press conference with key members of the bidding process or simply send out a press release with the pertinent details. What are the advantages of each approach?

—Start Spreading the News

Dear Start:

Putting out a press release is easy. You compose the message you want to convey, and media outlets edit it to fit their needs. Sometimes their needs are to fill space or otherwise provide content to their readers and listeners.

Press releases themselves rarely engage readers or listeners unless news of your event is inherently relevant. They must be followed with phone, online or in-person interviews with spokespeople who can add personality, color and context to the announcement. These interviews can also provide more customized and salient details depending on the media outlet—competitive details for sports outlets, economic details for business reporters, entertainment and community impact details for reporters and outlets that focus on those types of stories. So, don’t just put out a press release—have a strategy for follow-up contact and interviews that will make resulting stories more interesting and engaging.

Press conferences can generate publicity if the announcement is important enough to draw reporters and camera crews. Nothing conveys a sense of unimportance like a press conference where only a small handful of reporters show up. Build media appeal by including a major government official such as the mayor, the governor or a senator. (There is also a potential danger in this, because if those officials are involved in newsworthy political issues at the time, those issues may also become part of the story.)

Involve respected business leaders, celebrities or athletes in the press conference to further enhance attendance, and be sure they are available for individual interviews immediately after the press conference. They will often generate more publicity than the members of the bid committee, who may be relatively unknown to the media and public. Have a press release and supporting materials like artist renderings, photos and fun facts available on-site and to distribute to those who could not attend the press conference.

Whichever course you choose, make sure your announcement is made quickly after the award with as many details as you can possible muster. And congratulations on winning the bid!

This first appeared in Sports Travel Magazine and appears here courtesy of SCHNEIDER PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC.