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8 Questions to Craft an Effective Public Relations Message

March 9, 2020 Julia Motis

sticky notes messageSo your company has a piece of news that it needs to share, but you’re not sure how to put it into writing. Whether you’re creating a press release, social media campaign or any other content, you know your public relations message needs to be formulated perfectly before it goes out to the public. 

How do you make sure your message accomplishes exactly what it needs to? Ask yourself these eight questions before writing, and you’ll be on your way to a well-crafted PR message:

1. What’s the message about?

First things first, you need to know what you’re writing about. Is there a crisis that needs fixing? Are you launching a new product? Did you just hire someone new or promote an important team member? If the answer to this question isn’t 100% clear, then maybe it’s not worth doing a media campaign.

2. Who is the audience?

This is an important one for crafting your message because a message is only effective if it’s going to the right people. You know what they say about “falling on deaf ears,” so you definitely want to avoid that phenomenon using strategic targeting.

Think about who is affected by the piece of news you’re sharing. This can include demographics such as age, race, socioeconomic status, location, industry and more. Based on this information, you may use different words or phrases to best catch that audience’s attention. Pinpoint your audience as specifically as possible to maximize reach and response.

3. Why should your audience care?

Another way to ask this question is: How does it affect them? For example, will the crisis have logistical or economic impacts? Will the new product greatly improve a system or process that they have in place? Will the leadership change affect how your clients work with your company?

Any news worth telling carries implications that your audience needs to know about – because otherwise, why does it matter to them at all?

4. What’s the call-to-action?

Every good message needs to present what we in the business have termed a “call-to-action” or a “CTA” for short. This is the line that evokes a response from your audience and quite literally persuades them to take action, whether plainly stated or cleverly implied. For example, maybe you want people to buy your new product or service, or you want them to come to an upcoming event. Let the audience know what you want them to do with the information you’re releasing. 

5. What’s your brand strategy?

Focusing more on internal processes, every message coming from your company needs to be in line with your brand strategy. That means it must reflect your core values, talk about your company in the same way (and using the same words) as other PR content and present ideas that you stand behind. Otherwise, your message could appear as if it’s coming out of left field and may not translate well with your audience, especially if it’s one you share information with regularly.

Whether you’re creating a press release, social media campaign or any other content, you know your public relations message needs to be formulated perfectly before it goes out to the public.

6. What’s the end goal?

Think about what you want to accomplish for your company through this message. Do you want to clear up a crisis and maintain your reputation? Do you want to make the public more aware of a product or service that you offer? Make sure you understand how your communication will come back around to your company and that it’s written in a way that will enhance your business. 

7. What are your competitors saying/doing?

While your competitors shouldn’t directly affect how you craft your PR message, be aware of the information they are presenting. If they’re selling a similar product or service, how are they talking about it? What strategies are they using? It’s helpful to keep in mind, so that your message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

8. What’s the message?

Last, but certainly not least, put all these answers together and craft your message. Then you can start planning your PR campaign, including what channels, tactics and strategies will best serve this message to your audience. Another thing to think about is when is the best time to release the information. For instance, time it with the product’s launch or as soon after the crisis as possible to make the most impact and evoke top-of-mind recognition. 

From there, go ahead and get your message out there! Pay attention to how your message is received and take notes to apply changes to your next campaign. You’ll be a pro at crafting PR messages in no time!

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