Making press releases reflect your company’s truth

Every business will need to issue a press release at some time. Speaking with one, clear voice, will allow your company to avoid public confusion.

Media culture today reflects a sound-bite world. The archaic term, “yesterday’s news”, has been replaced with “spontaneous response”. Being prepared for any possible contingency can help to maintain a good reputation for your company. Your message should be quick, visual and shareable on social media.

It’s important to understand that what you say about your business is open to interpretation and will help the public form opinions about your company. How your business responds to the media’s conception can be sullied by how you characterize the media and their position on the relevant issue at hand.

When issuing a release, make sure you have a designated media spokesperson to answer any questions, when the situation calls for it. It’s media protocol to know who a reporter represents, their deadlines for publication (though not as necessary with social, immediate media) and a follow-up contact when issuing a press release. Always include the key facts in the talking points and stay on message. Sticking to the facts, keeping cool and reminding employees that social media is “on the record” will go a long way to keeping the issue under your control.

Creating an immediate response that includes actions to be taken will show honesty and empathy with the consumer. Keep the message positive to allay fears and offer a solution to the problem. Consider the “pause before you post” method to help eliminate misunderstandings and have someone review your release before distribution.

Once a post is live, follow comments and retweets. Actively update social media about any accomplishments your company has contributed to the better good to create a sense of balance with regards to the problem at hand.

The following article from the University of Wisconsin offers a good overview of press release content.

Crisis preparation can prevent the loss of a reputation, which may have taken your company years of careful public relations to build.

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