By Joe Marchelewski, 2020 PRSA-LA President, AIJ Communications
I did something completely new, which is a unique experience
after 20 years in PR, I held my first virtual press conference. Maybe you’ve
done this as well so it’s old hat for you, but for me it was a strange new
I’ve held dozens of “pressers” in my career, but this one
involved me sitting in my home office unable to pace nervously through a hotel
ballroom, building lobby or along courtroom steps. Handling legal publicity
gives me the opportunity to work with everyday people as well as my attorney
clients, and I had to coach all of us on how video conferencing works.
It took some research and practice on my part and, as always
with press conferences, prayer that people would log in and be a part of the
show. I tell my clients that once the second camera shows up it’s officially a
press conference and I can relax, and that at least was no different.
We had broadcast media attend, Spanish-language outlets and
several large print publications. I actually saw an increase in usual
attendance, in part I think because the digital nature of this event provided
easier access without the obstacles of LA commutes and parking – trading out
the traffic on the 405 for maybe a few toys your child left in the hallway, and
the hope your Wifi isn’t overloaded from the entire neighborhood being on at
Moving forward, once we find a vaccine and can hold
in-person events without fear of infection I think these digital aspects will
continue to be a permanent aspect of every presser I do. Here’s what that means
- Purchasing a good camera for video broadcast
- Having a recorded version of every press
conference I hold moving forward
- Ensuring a strong internet connection at any
location for future events
- Learning more about sound for my own recordings
and for those watching via Zoom, Facebook Live, WebX, etc.
- Having someone on my team watching virtually
from home or the office to make sure the quality is good
This is a strange universe, but it’s giving us all in the PR
biz new tools to help get our clients’ announcements to the media.