Have you ever found yourself wondering why reporters didn’t attend your press event?
Maybe you didn’t get the attendance you were expecting and now you’re taking the heat from your CEO for it.
There are many reasons why reporters don’t show up to a press event.
Sometimes, they try to nicely break the news beforehand due things out of their control, such as other “breaking news,” they’re sick or are dealing with a family emergency, etc. And those situations happen.
But many other times, that’s just not the case. Here are the top underlying reasons reporters gave us for not attending a press event:
You didn’t have real news to share. While background and perspective is great, and food and drinks are nice, if you don’t have real news, I have other things to cover.
You didn’t explain why your news was pertinent to me … and my viewers/readers/listeners. It’s unclear whether you know what my beat is or if you read our publication or watch/listen to our show.
You didn’t give me enough notice before the event date. My week is already planned out and a few days’ notice isn’t enough time to change my schedule.
You planned it without considering other competing events … that I need to cover. For example, while I’m interested in attending your one-hour event in Detroit, I will be traveling to Los Angeles for the auto show to cover major automaker press conferences the same day.
You selected a location that is inconvenient or unfeasible possible for me. I work across the country from the location and while it sounds like an interesting event, I can’t justify a flight there for one-hour on site.
I’m not familiar with your company… I’ve never heard your CEO speak or I’ve never heard of your company before, so why should your story be of interest to me now?
Due to budget cuts, we’re short-staffed … and I don’t have the bandwidth to spend the time traveling to attend your event, even if your news is worthwhile.
You scheduled it too early or too late in the day. It is important to me to balance work with my family and personal life, and I’ve already missed too much time away from my kids this week.
You haven’t been available to help me in the past … by providing other information that I need to develop my story, such as answering follow-up questions, providing images and B-roll video, and turned down multiple interview requests or failed to return my phone calls.
You didn’t connect your news to …trends, industry issues, local economic impact, etc., and your innovation isn’t newsworthy by itself.
The bottom line is: It’s not as simple as “plan it and they will come” when it comes to a press event.
A press event isn’t always the right answer, but if you decide it’s the best approach for your company, remember when it comes to press events, reporters and editors – and their readers — are your real customers.
And by focusing on the needs of the media in your planning, you can maximize your media attendance.
Author: Jaclyn Bussert
Jaclyn is a senior account executive at Bianchi PR with 12 years of B2B PR experience assisting and supporting our account teams in a variety of public relations activities.